Page 7 - MIGRATION

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MIGRATION, MEMORY, HERITAGE: SOCIO-CULTURAL
APPROACHES TO THE BULGARIAN-TURKISH BORDER
ABOUT THE PROJECT
Valentina Ganeva-Raycheva
The project entitled
Resettlers and Migrants on the Two Sides of the Bulgarian-Turkish Border:
Heritage, Identity, Cultural Interactions
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has been financed by the national academic research
fund (Bulgarian Science Fund) of the Bulgarian Ministry of Education, Youth and Science in the
category
Cultural and historical heritage and national identity
(DОО2-209/17.12.2008). The team of
researchers set for themselves the ambitious task to research and compare, diachronically as well as
synchronically, the refugee and migration processes fromTurkey to Bulgaria and vice versa in order
to trace theprocesses of community formation related tomigration andof using the symbolic capital
of these communities in constructing the cultural heritage at a local and at a national level. Two
communities formed as a result of imposed transborder migration have been of particular interest:
the Bulgarians, refugees and emigrants from Eastern andWestern Thrace in Bulgaria, and the Turks
fromBulgaria, emigrants and settlers inTurkey from themid-twentieth century up to nowadays. The
research goals, plans and focus were re-assessed while doing the research itself.
The team of researchers is inter-disciplinary and includes experts from the Institute of
Ethnology and Folklore Studies with Ethnographic Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Science,
the New Bulgarian University, the
Paisii Hilendarski
University of Plovdiv, and the Sabancı University
in Istanbul: Valentina Ganeva-Raycheva (team leader), Natalia Rashkova, Magdalena Elchinova,
Nikolay Vukov, Meglena Zlatkova, Stoyka Penkova, Lina Gergova, Ayse Parla, Behrin Shopova, and
Muzaffer Yilmaz (for the first half of the project). We have also had an external associate, Margarita
Dobreva, affiliated to the Institute for Balkan Studies and Centre of Thracology at the Bulgarian
Academy of Science.
Key words and methods
The project draws upon well-known and widely accepted theories: the boundaries between
groups and inter-ethnic interaction (Frederik Barth), governing culture as a national resource (A.
Smith, E. Hobsbawm, E. Gellner), the impact of globalisationprocesseson local culture (A. Appadurai),
social networks, the culture of mobility, etc. In view of the focus we place on the migrants’ part
in constructing cultural heritage, central to our methodology are Hobsbawm’s ideas about the
formation of cultural identity in dialogue, about cultural heritage as a construct, as well as about
inventing traditions; Halbwachs’s and Ricoeur’s discussions of the specificity of memory, as well as
Pierre Nora’s concept of memory sites as a mainstay of collective memory and his take on memory
as heritage.
The border
is an important methodological tool, which brought together various experts in
order to research the effects of political, social and cultural changes. The key concepts underlying
the project,
heritage
and
identity
, become instrumental by means of the
border
, which allows
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Translator’s note:
The project has gained popularity with the English title used here and it is kept in the current
publication for the sake of continuity.