Page 70 - MIGRATION

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MIGRATION, MEMORY, HERITAGE: SOCIO-CULTURAL
APPROACHES TO THE BULGARIAN-TURKISH BORDER
The methodology of research implies the application of several methods, which would
allow us to discern the different forms of liminality of mobile people. Ethnomethodological
observation and the observation of urban space in the different towns, along with the method
of mental maps, aim at highlighting the sites and spaces according to the perceptions of locals
and strangers. Another key method in our research are the so called in-depth (autobiographical)
interviews, with the help of which we analyse the strategies of border crossing and liminality in an
autobiographical sense of representatives of the target groups and the ways of converting capital.
Some 100 standardised and 15 semi-structured interviews with young people, the descendants
of settlers from Turkey, were carried out.
8
With reference to
“les contradictions de l’héritage”
the
method of discourse analysis (of media, political, ideological, etc.) is paramount as it allows the
researcher to trace the ideological constructs
9
of both types of organization of migrants.
This discussion draws upon the results of the observation and analysis carried out by the
entire team, which helped achieve a density of observation, contextualising of fieldwork, and
reflexivity of interpretations constructed through and across the border.
Strictly speaking, both groups represent situations of ‘migration towards the majority’ from
the point of view of the ethnic and/ or national identification of Bulgarians and Turks. Behind this
similarity, it would be interesting to outline the twomodels of towns that have welcomedmigrants
and function in two nation states with a permanently changing political context and close to the
state border; both towns define themselves as part of the Thrace region
10
and of Strandzha in
particular
11
.
1. Edirne – a town on the border
“Resettlers are the living memory of territories we have lost”
Kemal Atatürk
In the opinion of one of our inter-locutors, the situatedness of Edirne close to the border
and the variety of its urban heritage precipitated in the structure of an Ottoman town through
its residential areas comprise the idea of cosmopolitanism, cultural variety and the existence of
a ‘code of ethics’ addressing the cohabitation in town.
12
From a cosmopolitan town with various
ethnic and religious communities and a natural centre of the entity called Thracia, Edirne, the
8 The results of these, are available in this collection of essays.
9 This aspect of our research has been explored by means of the methodology developed by Stoyka Penkova:
historical sociology of discursive practices (Penkova 2009). The role of the ideological discourse in constructing
communities and collective memory with today’s descendants through the Union of Thracian Bulgarians has been
analysed by Valentina Ganeva-Raycheva (Ganeva-Raycheva 2012).
10 On the topic of constructing the Thrace region, see Bokova 2012a and 2012b.
11 It is not the historical aspect of constructing the space of Strandzha that is of interest in this research; the
perspective employed here is of how today’s descendants and residents appropriate and assess space by means of
the border (cf. Raychevski 2008).
12 Prof. Dr. Nevzat Ilhan, an architect and a lecturer of Art History at the Thracian University, is an expert involved
in a number of projects that aim to reconstruct and save historical monuments, town sites and historical layers. The
interview was taken in May 2009 in the presence of the entire research team.