• Turkish Roma from Bulgaria and their Migration to Poland

    The Roma migrations also become part of the context of very debatable issues regarding the migration processes in European countries in the public, political and scientific space. Little is known about the specifics of Roma migrations; all Roma migrants are often perceived as the same community. The paper discusses the case of Roma migration from Bulgaria to Poland in the example of the so-called Turkish Roma or Muslim Roma. The paper considers their ethno-cultural characteristics as a community/group in the country of origin and the country of migration. The main issues addressed in historical and ethnographic context are: Who are the Turkish Roma in Bulgaria? Why and how did they migrate to Poland? How does migration affect their ethno-cultural development and identity? By answering these questions, conclusions are drawn on the future trends of Roma mobility and its consequences. The research is based on field material from Bulgaria and Poland collected by means of traditional ethnographic techniques (interlocutions, first-hand observations, ethnographic interview life-story approach).

  • Transnational Aging Carers: On Transformation of Kinship and Citizenship in the Context of Migration among Bulgarian Muslims in Spain

    This paper focuses on ‘transnational aging carers’, a group of elderly migrants who are in constant movement between social contexts, families, and states. Drawing mostly on ethnographic research with Bulgarian Muslim migrants in Spain and their extended kin in Bulgaria, the paper explores how care-triggered migration leads to two interrelated lines of transformations. First, the paper looks at the changes in gender and intergenerational kin relations. Second, the paper focuses on reconfigurations of social and economic citizenship.

    The paper argues that migration disrupts care arrangements, kin expectations and family relations. These ruptures lead to a reformulation of the fabric of the family by straining and modifying gender and intergenerational relations and codes of conduct. This involves people’s understanding of family composition and family roles, of authority and masculinity, and of duty and shame, all of which are affected in multiple ways for the different actors in the care network. By considering these questions, the paper tries to understand the new models of family relations that emerge and the way these new models affect kin solidarity and reciprocity. Based on four ethnographic cases, the paper argues that transnational, care-motivated mobility affects future security based on kin reciprocity and, in this way, creates new forms of intergenerational and gender inequalities and dependencies.

    These new inequalities are conditioned not only by transformed kin relations, but also by reconfigured citizenship of migrants. The transnational, aging carers experience serious disruptions in their social citizenship both in Bulgaria and in Spain. They are excluded from the state welfare support in Bulgaria by migrating to Spain in order support their children’s family reproduction. At the same time, in Spain, they are not included in any form of social security because of their auxiliary status as carers rather than regularised workers. In this way, they are twice stripped from social citizenship, both in Bulgaria and in Spain, and left at the mercy of a different kind of security, provided by kin reciprocity. The paper suggests this is a move from welfare to kinfare, from reliance on and interaction with the state, to a withdrawal from the state and dependency on the kin. Moreover, this move not only affects the present arrangements between the different generations, but also entails future insecurities.

  • The Mediterranean Journey of the Bulgarians and the Rudari

    This paper uses an ethnological perspective to explore the experiences of ethnic Bulgarian and Rudari workers at home and in Mediterranean countries, focusing on how they cope with the challenges of living and working in different socio-economic and cultural settings, and how this dynamic affects their social organization. Greece became a preferred destination for Bulgarian citizens immediately after 1989; while Spain became more attractive in the late 1990s. Some ethnic Bulgarians and Rudari are temporary migrants who eventually return to Bulgaria, while others turn from labour migrants into immigrants settling permanently in the host country and adjusting to the Spanish and Greek ‘way of life’. Both groups have developed similar migration strategies in Spain and Greece, but their patterns of social adaptation in these countries have ethnic specificities. These are mainly the various ways of connecting and interacting with the foreign populations, the forms of inter-communal social organisations, and their impact on migrant communities. Because of the communities’ development in both countries, ethnic Bulgarians and Rudari introduced various collective integration strategies to establish associations and schools by which they tried to position and shape their traditional relationships within the new society, while considering that this would be a way for successful integration.

    The paper also discusses the specific ways in which the relationships between the members of the Bulgarian citizens’ communities within the Spanish and Greek society have been shaped differently. The reasons for this difference in patterns of the Rudari social positioning among the Bulgarian community in Spain and Greece should be sought in the different migratory contexts and in the higher or lower degree of social integration achieved by Rudari within Bulgarian communities. The migration shifts lead in the end to a new picture of ethnic Bulgarian and Rudari presence in Spain and Greece. Insights from this study will help deal with issues related to the Gypsy and Bulgarian migrations in contemporary Europe.

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