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Rethinking the Concept of “Minority”
Rethinking the Concept of “Minority”

Author(s): Maya Grekova
Subject(s): Social Sciences
Published by: Институтът по философия и социология при БАН
Keywords: Identity Processes and Minorities in Bulgarian Contexts; national and ethnic minority; historical formation of the minority; ethnic and national identity; modern state and minorities; sociological concept of national/ethnic minority

Summary/Abstract: This paper analyses the historical formation of the notion of minority and of the minority as a social reality. The early designatum of the term ‘minority’ appears as the result of bilateral or multilateral postwar treaties, when a group of citizens is awarded ‘special’ rights following the redrawing of borders. This ‘group’ becomes a minority on the strength of a political decision and through a particular territory which it populates. Eventually, the minority either emancipates itself from the territory on the basis of which it has been constituted as a minority (and as a group as a whole) and comes to identify/be identified as such on the basis of ethnic/national origin/self-identity, or the territory populated by the ethnic/national minority becomes the subject of ‘territorial claims.’ The ways in which the politics comes to construct social reality of minority groups are interpreted on the bases of political documents and international contracts. On the other hand, the ways in which the sociological thinking re-constructs the presence of certain individuals in social space as ‘minority group’ are analysed. The analysis reconstructs the possibility of the legalized and substantialized (ethnic) difference to turn into a constraint on social interactions and relations, and the possibilities of invalidating the significance of the distinctive (ethnic) feature, as well as the relation between modern state and (national – ethnic, etc.) minorities.

  • Issue Year: 34/2002
  • Issue No: Special
  • Page Range: 101-114
  • Page Count: 14
  • Language: English