Critique & Humanism

Bulgaria

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13 November 2008

Made in Bulgaria

Advertising in Bulgaria has always been tied to the national. In the late nineteenth century, it capitalized on the concern about the rapid invasion of western goods; during socialism, advertising took on the role of educator of the new socialist citizen; and since the 1990s, economic patriotism has attached itself to national mythology. Nevertheless, writes Milla Mineva, in Bulgarian political discourse, to talk of the nation means to talk non-politically. Advertising makes visible this depoliticization of the national.

Even the staunchest advocates of Turkey’s EU accession must consider alternatives to full membership. Yet what does “Plan B” – or “privileged partnership” – entail? If the enticement of full Union membership is removed, can the EU achieve its goals in Turkey, namely democratization and human rights reforms? This question is made all the more pressing by a renewed perception in Arab countries of “Ottoman” Turkey’s belonging in the global Muslim community together with a surge of anti-western feeling, writes Claus Leggewie.

Approaches to migration often fall into one of two camps: anti-neoliberal hostility or euphoria at “flows”. Yet the “new mobility” implies new freedoms as well as new privations. Researching the biographies of Bulgarian migrants, Ivaylo Ditchev finds that the horizon of departure has become a basic dimension of the world. Mobility, he writes, will need to be taken more seriously in the anthropology of citizenship.

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Feminist critical theorist Nancy Fraser outlines in interview her concept of “parity of participation”, or the representation of women in institutional structures. The concept, she argues, bridged the traditional leftwing theoretical dichotomy between distribution and recognition and in turn raises the question: who determines who is to be represented? Here Fraser emphasizes the centrality of the politics of interpretation in any dialogue about justice, such as that between western feminism and Islam.

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