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from the ‘trademark’ of dancing on fire and the symbolic capital constructed by the descendants,
they also posses the Strandzha folk festival.
Networks, heritage, converting capital, and locality
Not unlike the local communities in different areas of Bulgaria, which in 1989 were sent on
a never-ending quest for identity, merit, and significance, Tsarevo lost its name once again, lost
the image it had constructed, and had to measure against and compete with the neighbouring
towns and villages that developed their economy through tourism, while it was meant to preserve
its local community. Situated on the seaside, it had the income for the municipality and its people
but what it lacked was a satisfactory legitimising resource, especially in terms of Bulgarian
national space. After the image of Tsarevo as Michurin was discredited, the
was constructed
through the
, combining, on the one hand, ancient history, folklore, and clean nature when
constructing their image for the others, “we are ancient and unique,”but also reaffirming the local
community by bringing up the symbolic capital of Thracian heritage that would legitimise once
again the social networks, keep the capital with the locals and, thus, as much as possible, keep
them from the interference of the non-locals. At the same time, the local communities are open
for the non-locals but these are the non-locals as tourists, who are only temporarily there enjoying
the hospitality of the people from Strandzha. A display of Thracian heritage has not found its place
in the physical town space but will have its spot in the town museum.
The current young descendants of Tsarevo are reconstructing the recollection of the
resettlement but it has to be mediated, it is a heritage they have to discover and keep. The middle
generation, economically active, is ‘taking advantage’ of the symbolic capital of the Thracian
heritage by selling properties their parents received as compensation from the Bulgarian state,
and is very much interested in having their properties in Turkey restored to them. For a while,
this campaign was a tool for maintaining the social network and establishing a link between the
generations; the descendants were in the role of researchers, who had to find their relatives, to
work with archives, to take part in ‘expeditions to their native lands’, etc.
While this research is a network strategy for acquiring symbolic capital on the basis of the
Thracian roots, rather than anorganisationally hierarchical strategy, the institutional functionof the
Thracian associations in the region and in the district has never ceased. The situation of migration
towards the majority and the considerable period of time in the second half of the twentieth
century of a relatively low level of migration to the researched region has resulted in shaping up
of a local community that develops a specific type of urban culture in a small-size town, which
is, nevertheless, central to the farthest south-eastern end of Bulgaria and functions in a network
with the surrounding villages. In the first decade of the 21
century the mountain has descended
to the sea as a result of the migration from the villages to the towns and the basic principles for
the urban community to keep functioning is the exchange of capitals in the fellow villagers and
familial networks in the villages, still recognisable as communities in town. The Strandzha heritage
as a shared space seems to be constructed only in Bulgaria and in this sense the mountain is still
divided by people’s memories and their crossing or not crossing the border.