Page 69 - MIGRATION

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MIGRATION, MEMORY, HERITAGE: SOCIO-CULTURAL
APPROACHES TO THE BULGARIAN-TURKISH BORDER
destruction (real as well as ritual) of those memory sites.
5
If, however, we consider the town in
terms of the border, i.e. from the point of view of the descendants of migrants, we shall recognize
that the town has forgotten “top-down” through politics of national homogenization (both in
Bulgaria and in Turkey) and is trying to remember “bottom-up” through rituals of recalling, or the
return of descendants.
Because of the interactionist position underlying the research, which presupposes the
subjective experience of time and space (Althabe 1983), this essay discusses several cases out
of our fieldwork in the two towns in the period 2009-2011. The study of the ways of negotiating
cultural heritage while constructing the network spaces (Bokova 2003) and circulating symbolic
capital (Tarrius 1988, 1989, 1992) in the Black Sea area of Strandzha, which is situated on the
territories of today’s Bulgaria and Turkey, and in the town of Edirne, entails instrumentalizing the
border.
6
On the one hand, this approach facilitates the articulation of differences, similarities,
comparisons, the use of such markers as ‘here’ and ‘there’ or ‘our’, the awareness of ‘otherness’, and
the migrants’ experience through the biographical inhabiting of the town. On the other hand,
what has been researched is the invisible (social) borders through people’s choice or lack of choice
of a place to live, make a home, appropriate urban sites and spaces, as well as bymeans of everyday
activities undertaken with different social roles and expressive of different identities.
In order to proceed into town, one has to get situated at the border first, for the research
hypothesis remains that it is the border that reinforces the identities of people who have resettled
or makes those who keep moving visible. From such a point of view, the target groups are those
that identify themselves throughmigration out of or into Edirne, or those for whom it ismeaningful
to be from the Balkans: these are the Turks, the Muslim Bulgarians and the Roma from Bulgaria,
7
who have settled in Turkey in several waves, and the Bulgarians who left Edirne before WW1 and
exhibit the effects of ‘migration towards the majority’ noticeable among the fourth and the fifth
generation of descendants of the ‘Thracian Bulgarians’ in the town of Tsarevo.
In the framework of the project, Stoyka Penkova and I researched the ways of
appropriating space, capital and border crossing of the ancestors of migrants through the
issue of
“les contradictions de l’héritage”
. Therefore, the presentation of the two cases here
does not aim at descriptive comprehensiveness of the two settlements; it rather pinpoints
the modes of their being inhabited and remembered through liminality and mobility:
Edirne and the community of Turks from Bulgaria, on the one hand, and Tsarevo with its
population of ‘Thracian Bulgarians’. The two towns are explored as spaces of migration.
5 For more details on the mechanisms of remembering and forgetting in nation state towns, see Zlatkova
2010. On the rituals performed by the two target groups in order to remember and reconstruct spaces and territories,
see Ganeva-Raycheva 2011, 2012, Vukov 2012.
6 The conclusions drawn here are the result of our collaboration with Stoyka Penkova and the fieldwork carried
out within the framework of the interdisciplinary research project
Resettlers and Migrants on the Two Sides of the
Bulgarian-Turkish Border: Heritage, Identity, Cultural Interactions
.
7 Due to the insufficient time for fieldwork and the framework of the project, the results related to the groups
of the Bulgarian Muslims and the Roma are not presented here.