Souvenirs – Between the National and the Global (on Materials from Latvia and Bulgaria) Cover Image
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Сувенирите – между националното и глобалното (По материали от Латвия и България)
Souvenirs – Between the National and the Global (on Materials from Latvia and Bulgaria)

Author(s): Iva Stanoeva
Subject(s): Cultural Essay, Political Essay, Societal Essay
Published by: Институт за етнология и фолклористика с Етнографски музей при БАН

Summary/Abstract: Parallel to the current advancement of the globalization processes which expand their influence and incorporate new territories, opposite tendencies demonstrating the existence of regional and national specifics seem to have recently gained distinct shape. Having been used in the production of images connected to the national identity, some of the products of the traditional handicrafts easily acquire a new, additional function as souvenirs. The paper presents the author’s personal impressions of the wide popularity which the products of the traditional handicrafts in Latvia enjoy nowadays – a situation which she believes demonstrates substantial differences from the Bulgarian case. Together with the description of an event which bares special importance for the Latvians - the annual Festival of the Handicrafts where masters from all over the country show their produce, she also pays attention to the various places in the center of Riga where similar products are regularly on sale. Three types of such places are specially mentioned out: permanent and temporary open bazaars, specialized souvenir shops, as well as souvenir street-stalls. The author analyses their location in the urban space (in the center, in a close proximity to architectural and cultural sights), the souvenirs and the other goods in sale there (products of the traditional handicrafts; of contemporary applied art; antiquarian objects; common objects branded with national emblems; products of the global economy such as household goods, jewels etc.), as well as the local inhabitants and the tourists as customers at these places. Comparing the situation in Riga and in Sofia with respect to the presence of the products of the traditional crafts in the city life, the author shares her impression that the two cases – the Latvian and the Bulgarian one - reveal different attitudes to the handicraft tradition. While in Latvia it is more or less freely interpreted and re-invented, in Bulgaria it tends to be preserved. All these observations need further elaboration and investigation as they promise to clarify important similarities and differences.

  • Issue Year: XXXV/2009
  • Issue No: 3-4
  • Page Range: 044-050
  • Page Count: 7
  • Language: Bulgarian