The Use of Batak, or Questions not Meant to be Answered Cover Image
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Употребата Батак, или въпроси без право на отговор
The Use of Batak, or Questions not Meant to be Answered

Author(s): Bozhin Traykov
Subject(s): Politics / Political Sciences, Sociology, Sociology of Politics, Politics of History/Memory, Politics and Identity
Published by: Фондация за хуманитарни и социални изследвания - София
Keywords: nationalism; national myths; Bulgarian historiography; discourse; Batak massacre

Summary/Abstract: This article looks at the scandal around the so called Мyth of Batak as a case of political mobilization of „scientific“ and popular discourses in relation to a historical event. The polemic started in April, 2007, when the scholars Martina Baleva and Ulf Brunbauer were accused of questioning official historical accounts which led to public outcry, attempts to change legislation concerning freedom of speech and even threats for physical harm. The scandal involved a variety of actors - the media, nationalist political parties, public intellectuals and scholars, as well as key figures in the Bulgarian government. Since 1989 a number of projects in the humanities and social sciences explored the formation and construction of Bulgarian national myths and stereotypes, but none of them had led to such a violent public confrontation as in the case of Batak. Why then the Myth of Batak caused such a fierce outburst? Baleva and Brunbauer shook in uncertainty one of the most stable historical narratives surrounding the nation building in Bulgaria - the Batak massacre. I analyze the controversy in the context of emerging material and discursive practices of reactive nationalism and Bulgaria’s accession to the European Union. The article is a contribution to the understanding of larger political and cultural implications in the mobilizing of national myths and their relation to contiguous power in intellectual and political circles.

  • Issue Year: 2019
  • Issue No: 50/II
  • Page Range: 121-143
  • Page Count: 23
  • Language: Bulgarian