Page 197 - MIGRATION

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MIGRATION, MEMORY, HERITAGE: SOCIO-CULTURAL
APPROACHES TO THE BULGARIAN-TURKISH BORDER
how can you buy a car, well, hemight have got one already. They were paying themortgage of
their flat… so, with 600 BGN the husband and wife, even if they both work, you can’t…
With regard to his brother who decided to ‘return’, he says:
He couldn’t adapt and went back. Was it good? In my view he made a mistake. Why?
Because he was a machine engineer, and now I know machine engineers who are employed
and are doing very well
(Interview with T. O., male, teacher).
A stable motif in the ‘justification’ of the choice appears to be the financial consideration –
“we are doing very well here”; “we have big flats and are already buying a second or a third one”;
“we can afford a lot of things”; “we live very well”; “our son got married and we bought him a
flat”; “my parents have retired and already have big pensions” – these are some of the responses
which we recorded during the interviews in Edirne. It appears that the economic level displaces
the symbolic – childhood memories, the graves of parents, a brother/sister ‘there’ is ‘repressed’ and
replaced by the desire to fit into Turkish society – to“pay the housing loan, I got from the state”and
to move to a new and bigger co-owned property ‘here’.
Naturally, this comes across when one ‘visits’ the relatives ‘there’, which from their point of
view is considered ‘showing off’ financial means and economic affluence. ‘Shared experience’ and
mutual understanding are impossible, because that which is different is the ‘unconscious’ of social
experience of those who
‘returned’
and of those who
‘stayed’
. This is why, more often than not,
when they meet they engage in ‘small talk’ – that layer which appears on the surface, without
provoking social sanctions as a result of being outside the norm. This is the layer of “normalized
phenomenality” formed in different social spaces which allows fewer manifestations the lesser the
extent of shared social knowledge is (like the tip of the iceberg showing above ocean level).
***
In conclusion, the study of various types of migration across the Bulgarian-Turkish border
calls for an emphasis on the forms of
crossing at the beginning of the 21 century
, which forms
entail different ways of cross-border returns for the children of Bulgarian out-migrants; returns
which are fostered by the particular ways of inhabiting the border – simultaneously ‘on both sides
of the Bulgarian-Turkish border’. Resulting from the particularities of this form of liminality, there
appears a wide range of life and biographical strategies (educational, social, and economic) of the
children of out-migrants whereby the ‘new young’, i.e. the ‘inheritors’ of Bulgarian out-migrants to
Turkey, exercise their everyday social interactions ‘across’ the border.
Translated from Bulgarian by Milena Katsarska
References:
Augé, M. 1994.
Pour une anthropologie des mondes contemporains
. Champs: Flamarion.
Barth, Fr. 1969.
Ethnic Groups and Boundaries
.
The Social Organization of Cultural Difference
.
Oslo: Universitetsforlaget.
Berger, P. L. and T. Luckmann. 1966.
The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the