Variable narratives for Karlukovo village Cover Image
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Различните наративи за село Карлуково
Variable narratives for Karlukovo village

Author(s): Yoana Ivanova
Subject(s): History, Anthropology, Cultural history, Customs / Folklore, Geography, Regional studies, Human Geography, Regional Geography, Oral history, Social history, Modern Age, Recent History (1900 till today), Cultural Anthropology / Ethnology, Culture and social structure , 19th Century, Interwar Period (1920 - 1939)
Published by: Асоциация за антропология, етнология и фолклористика ОНГЬЛ

Summary/Abstract: The paper aims to show how a current place can be an embodiment of multiple collective perceptions of cultural reality. Karlukovo is a small village in northern Bulgaria and it is very good example for that hypothesis. On the one hand, it is a popular touristic place for its natural gifts – there is a cave nearby, which is a natural phenomenon for its two holes in the form of eyes on the roof of the cave. On the other hand, “Karlukovo” is a stereotype both for “madhause” and for gypsies. The reason for that is the local mental hospital, which is famous around Bulgarians and is known, that it hosts the most difficult psychological cases. Next to it, for several years the Bulgarian media spread information about crimes, where many houses have been robbed. As half of the local population is migrated gypsies, many people thought that gypsies are the offenders (even that this may not be the reality). On third place, the village is a site for the native’s collective memory, which saves myths, family stories, songs, collaborations, festivals, etc. The locals do not support the narrative of the mental house. For them the hospital is outside the village, it is part of the governmental health infrastructure, and it is just a coincidence that its location is close to the village. This makes them struggling with the common stereotype of the mad house. Yet, for the last 2 years Prohodna cave gains popularity and tourism is growing. The common perception of Karlukovo is changing and getting more and more pleasant. All of this shows how a single site can adopt multiple, inconstant and changeable narratives.