- Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski
- Department of History and Theory of Culture
|Study history||- Sofia University St Kliment Ohridski, Anthropology of Media, PhD candidate
- Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski, Cultural Anthropology, MA (2010)
- Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski, Cultural Studies, BA (2008)
DIGITAL ETHNICITIES. HOW NEW MEDIA (RE)CREATE COLLECTIVE IDENTITIES TODAY?
The aim of the research is to analyze the role new media play on the construction of collective identities today. The study looks at the participation of the ‘ordinary people’ in the production ‘from below’ and the consumption of identity-related markers. Empowered by access to new media, people themselves are generating and sharing content which plays a significant role in their everyday life and leads to social transformations in the processes of construction of collective belongings. In this sense, I am questioning the idea for the primordial ethnic identity and showing the active role of the individuals in the process of its formation. My study is a comparative research between Turkish and Bulgarian contexts, focusing on the way Turkish identity exists in the two different locations. The social situation of the Turks in the two states suggests different public presence and online participation. In Turkey the majority’s ethnic identity overlaps with the national one to some extend and the ‘bottom-up’ content generation of symbols and narrations is related to the official public and political discourse. In Bulgaria the politics of the national state towards its Turkish minority are very complex and the Turkish identity is left at a marginal position to the national identity construction project, quite problematized by both the official and unofficial public discourse. In a context where the majority occupies the media space, the communication channels of ethnic difference exist at the periphery of the public space. Thus, the research looks into the differences and the similarities in the online activism and argues for the strong connection and interdependence between the production of online content and the social context of the location of the community. The public presence of “Turkishness” and what markers are being used for its declaration (such as aspects of the collective memory of the past, practices of the present or shared imagination for the future) depends on additional factors related to the social contexts where it occurs. The primordial idea of the essential pre-assigned identity is being problematized in these conditions, as every individual nowadays is allowed to generate content, create symbols, transfer markers and build the pieces of their own individual and/or collective identity puzzle. The “imagined communities” today are escaping from the media politics of the national state. These processes shall make us rethink the construction of identities in the mediated world.