In The cultural Communication of Emigration in Bulgaria, Nadezhda Sotirova weaves disparate threads of Balkanism, complaining practices, and the myth of the “Bulgarian Situation” in order to illuminate local discourses on emigration in Bulgaria. Utilizing ethnography of communication and cultural discourse analysis, the author examines and contextualizes the lived experiences of Bulgarian communities through ethnographic observations, interviews, and cultural discourse analysis. Based on assumptions of communication as infused with voices of the past, reflective, constitutive, and active, this case study of emigration discourses highlights the local social reality as navigated through interaction. Sotirova examines local discourses on emigration as cultural currency available to the members of the community, where discussion of issues in Bulgaria serve to communicatively enact larger cultural notions of being (Bulgarian-ness), social relations (oplakvane), dwelling (Bulgarian Situation), and action (emigration).
Nadezhda Sotirova is associate professor of communication, media, and rhetoric at the University of Minnesota Morris.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Theoretical Grounds and the Case for Studying Bulgaria
Chapter 2 Relevant Bulgarian Context
Chapter 3 The Data Collection
Chapter 4 Oplakvane (complaining, mourning) as a Communication Ritual
Chapter 5 The Myth of the “Bulgarian Situation” (dwelling)
Chapter 6 The Cultural Communication of National Identity
Chapter 7 “Blaming the State” in Discourses on Emigration
Chapter 8 The Cultural communication of Agency and Action
About the Author
“Every group, community, or nation has among its people, a noticeable character or ethos. Nadezhda Sotirova deftly unveils this national character of Bulgaria, demonstrating how it is woven into the fabric of contemporary cultural scenes. The analyses illustrate in outstanding detail and depth how this ethos is active when “whining,” “blaming the state” among other ritualized social interactions. Earlier studies have discussed a Bulgarian cultural psychology, but none do what Sotirova has done with such penetrating insight. Many will find the book invaluable including students of anthropology, communication and cultural studies as well as those interested in Eastern Europe and post-Soviet studies.”
“What does it mean to complain about one’s country? Sotirova’s personal experience (of oplakvane) was the catalyst for her research into the post-communist period where she explains that the common perception of Bulgarians as self-defeating people who distrust happiness is far from the whole story. Following in the tradition of thickly descriptive ethnographies, Sotirova’s work is ideal reading for students of culture who will appreciate the way she uses a communication lens to interpret historical events.”
“This book is a vivid anthropological account of how macro-level socio-political issues such as emigration, corruption, and international relations enter and shape everyday speakers’ communal lives through communication. As Bulgarians gather to practice oplakvane (complain, lament, whine) about the state of the country they set the stage for the enactment and affirmation of local conceptions of nationhood and national identity through carefully orchestrated, collaborative ritual communication. Sotirova helps us appreciate the continued grip of indigenous conceptions of nationhood on citizens’ political imagination and agency. This book’s accessible, personal style renders it accessible to audiences with limited knowledge of the author’s research approach, the ethnography of communication.”