Ethnicity in flux: Bulgarian Muslims between-and-betwixt Bulgaria and Spain
Neda Deneva (Babes-Bolyai University)
This paper discusses the ambivalent position of Bulgarian Muslim migrants in Spain and the subtle transformations of Muslimness and group self-identification which migration generates. While their self-identification has been defined as relational and situational, from the outside they are often most broadly categorized as Bulgarian speaking population which is Muslim by religion. As migrants in Spain they are offered better economic conditions, while at the same time are placed in yet another marginal and ambivalent position - of immigrants and Muslims at the same time. Yet not Muslims in Europe, but Muslims of Europe, who have to cope with the process of both migration and EU integration, of difference and (pseudo) equality. This ambivalence opens up various possible positionings vis-à-vis other social groups, but also vis-à-vis institutions in both Bulgaria and Spain. I look at the way migrants manipulate their Muslimness and emphasize their Europeanness in order to position themselves as "better citizens" in Spain and the further reverberations of this tendency back at home.
At the margins of Islam in Europe