Youth Subcultures in Bulgaria in the 1970s and 1980s Cover Image
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Youth Subcultures in Bulgaria in the 1970s and 1980s
Youth Subcultures in Bulgaria in the 1970s and 1980s

Author(s): Michail Gruev
Subject(s): History, Anthropology, Social history, Ethnic Minorities Studies
Published by: Фондация за хуманитарни и социални изследвания - София
Keywords: youth subculture; counterculture; communist youth organization; Komsomol

Summary/Abstract: This text analyzes the emergence and development of youth subcultures in Bulgaria in the 1970s and 1980s. It tries to put the problem in a broader context, including various aspects of the attitude of the communist regime towards youth in general, the role of the Komsomol in the process, and the attempts to control the protest potency among Bulgarian youth. Along with this, it tries to trace the process on the other side of the Iron Curtain – the evolution of old and new countercultures which were copied, borrowed, but also enriched and domesticated by their followers in Bulgaria. In this sense, the social nature of youth subcultures in Bulgaria remained dualistically divided between imitation and authenticity. Despite this, however, these subcultures embodied the authentic rebellion of young people in Bulgaria against the conformism of their parents’ generation, against the oppressive system and the inertness of life. The article draws parallels with the emergence of major subcultural movements in the West – hippies, bikers, heavy metal fans, punks, and New Wave fans – and the subsequent birth of their counterparts in Bulgaria. The approach is historical-anthropological, based both on archival materials and the author’s fi eldwork in the form of interviews, surveys, external observations. The article ends by tracing the attempts of the regime in the years of Gorbachev’s perestroika to look for ways of peaceful coexistence with youth subcultures, but also of their domestication and re-education.

  • Issue Year: 2016
  • Issue No: 46
  • Page Range: 11-32
  • Page Count: 22
  • Language: English