Page 184 - MIGRATION

Basic HTML Version

182
MIGRATION, MEMORY, HERITAGE: SOCIO-CULTURAL
APPROACHES TO THE BULGARIAN-TURKISH BORDER
now an accountant in a bank with a degree, the fieldworker with pre-high school education is now
an owner of a hotel and his son describes him as a very rich man, etc; or evidence of preservation
of the social status in relation to the educational and professional such. The specialist in recipes for
sweets worked in the same capacity in Bulgaria, the accountant was an accountant in Bulgaria, the
building engineer and the general practitioner doctor who now has an impressive private practice
also carry their cultural capital from Bulgaria. Obviously they have succeeded in transferring their
cultural capital in the foreign social environment and they have managed to reproduce it in the
process of establishing their own social (but also economic, educational and cultural) position in
society in Turkey.
In other words, the testimony with regard to
‘who-I-used-to-be-before’
is a meaningful
biographical marker for
‘who-I-am-now’
and
‘who-I-will-be’
through which parents construct their
own biographical trajectory and which – since it is important and significant – is ‘shared’ with
their children as part of that life story and history. In cases when
‘before’
does not contribute to a
meaningful resource for recognition (collective or individual), it is repressed and ‘forgotten’ as a
fact which is not worthy of attention from the point of view of life
‘now’
.
Interesting observations emerge if we compare the responses from the members of this
group to the responses from the ‘20’s generation’ – the children of out-migrants who study at the
University of Thrace in Edirne. In this group too, not all students know what their parents’ jobs
used to be in Bulgaria. Among the professions they identified are: wrestler, builder, freelancer,
worker, and driver. Here, there is a significant difference though in terms of where the students
position their mothers according to their social status indicated through occupation. The children
of out-migrants share that in Bulgaria their mothers were either workers or housewives. Bearing
in mind the fact that most of the respondents were yet to be born then, we can stipulate that the
role of the father as a key economic source is especially important (even if not quite the same as
in the dominant Turkish family). The children know the professions of their fathers ‘before’ but do
not necessarily know those of their mothers.
This is one of the differences in the perspectives of different generations. The parents
of these students maintain that they have changed the established norms in Turkey – because
they came from socialist Bulgaria where women were employed and had professions. In the new
society, both parents alongside with the oldest children and younger grandparents immediately
started working which is a factor in their economic advancement. Whether the responses in this
section were prompted by the fact that in the family they pay more attention to the occupation
of the father in Bulgaria rather than to that of the mother, or that the children have already been
socialized in theTurkish society and its respective values like everybody else is yet to be established
by further interviews. That which differentiates the responses of the children in their 20’s from the
responses of the informants in their 30’s is the knowledge they possess with regard to facts from
the life of the family while they were in Bulgaria and the continuous comparison – “my mom and
dad used to work in Bulgaria…we had a house and some land…, when we came here they started
out as… Later, we bought an apartment, etc.”