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MIGRATION, MEMORY, HERITAGE: SOCIO-CULTURAL
APPROACHES TO THE BULGARIAN-TURKISH BORDER
of processes aimed at defining and positioning this whole in the social space on both sides of
the border. Categories articulated at different levels (individual, local, national, supranational),
in everyday or formal discourses which interact in different ways are being superimposed. They
sometimes overlap, at others complement one other, and often contradict or negate each other.
The present discussion offered a focus on the categories as well as the significance attributed to
them, as generated on the everyday level, taking into account the influence the official categories
and national narratives in the “old” and the “new” country of the re-settlers exercise on them. The
wide timeframe and the variety of sites which fed into the observations I analyzed here allowed
me to consider social categories as a process, to trace their internal dynamics and variability, and
to signpost the factors determining them.
These superimposing, and often contradictory categories and assessments, coming from
different social actors and emerging in different situations of interaction, construct a fragmented
and ambivalent image of the re-settlers as a whole. These characteristics acquire even sharper
outlines in the context of trans-border space (Jackson, Crang and Dwyer 2004) which the re-
settlers create and inhabit after the exodus. The passing through different regimes (ideological,
religious, gender, etc.) and the switching between codes, cognitive and behavioral models when
crossing the border constantly put them in a position of cultural hybridity and social ambivalence
(one of us/other, accepted/non-accepted) in both societies. Eventually ambivalence and fluidity
become stable characteristics of theirs, which they successfully develop in different strategies for
social realization. Irrespective of whether they accept or reject the categories they are described
in “from the outside,” the re-settlers are motivated by a fundamental strategy for constructing a
positive self-evaluation (individual and/or group) and for re-negotiating their place in the social
space, in the historical process, and in the national narratives in Bulgaria andTurkey. Even if limited
in its scope, the discussion above touched upon aspects which shed light on the role of the border
and its changing interpretations in relation to the life strategies and social participation of people
with a trans-border way of life.
Translated from Bulgarian by Milena Katsarska
References
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Religiyaikonstruiranenaobshtnostnaidentichnost:antropologichesko