Page 191 - MIGRATION

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MIGRATION, MEMORY, HERITAGE: SOCIO-CULTURAL
APPROACHES TO THE BULGARIAN-TURKISH BORDER
cultural capital
which is concentrated mostly in big cities. The participants in our study are
single
(100%) and they still live with their parents when they are in Turkey. All have completed
secondary
education
in their native towns.
The average family among the representatives of Bulgarian out-migrants to Turkey has
2.29 children. This indicates a preservation and reproduction of the nuclear idea of the family –
parents and two children,
18
while the informants’ age is either located at the time of leaving for
Turkey or shortly afterwards. Our respondents were born between 1985 and 1991. In cases with
three children, or four in one instance, we see that a higher level of economic stability is stated.
In those instances our respondents identify themselves socially as ‘middle class,’‘more or less rich’
and even ‘very rich’.
Overall, the scale of self-identification with regard to
social positions
gives us grounds to
conclude that it is the children of middle class and upper-middle class parents who can afford
education in Bulgaria. The spread of the social positions occupied by our respondents is as follows:
very rich (3%), rich (3%), more or less rich (12%), middle class (70%), more or less poor (15%). We
see that even if not insignificant the percentage of those who would identify themselves as ‘more
or less poor’ is not significant in relation to the distribution of other social statuses and positions
on the scale.
The households in which our respondents live migrated to Turkey between 1985 and 1989.
Some of them were born in the period but were too young to have real memories. Most of them
were born in Turkey. The period of their stay in Bulgaria is on average between 2005 and 2010. This
period in practice overlaps with the period in which Bulgaria started negotiations and eventually
joined the EU. This is why the results we mentioned above in relation to Bulgarian education and
Bulgarian universities should come as no surprise.
3. Educational strategies and ‘educational tourism’
The youngest generation – that of the children of out-migrants who come to Bulgaria in
order to study in institutions of HE, have no traumatic experience of leaving the country. In other
words, for them this step is more in the nature of ‘coming to’ than returning to. Cultural capital
connected with Bulgaria and inherited from their parents is the memory of somebody else, the
experience of somebody else or acquired during holiday visits with relatives and acquaintances.
This generation does not have the linguistic and cultural competence related to a context in
which one has lived. To ensure an easier and unproblematic adaptation in Bulgaria there exist a
number of firms and organizations which assist the newly admitted students in finding housing
and arranging the necessary for their stay and studies documents. They also aid them in creating
a network of social contacts.
The interest towards institutions of HE is prompted by the attractive range of majors on
offer, by the career possibilities after graduation (in medical or engineering professions), and also
by the 50% discount in university fees which Bulgarian institutions of HE offer to students with
18 Whether this is a result from the socialist image of the ‘normal family’, inherited as a life and biographical
strategy from the period in Bulgaria, or not, cannot be inferred from the scope of the present study. Further research
along such lines is necessary.