Constituting the Image of Europe in the Post-Socialist Period in Bulgaria


The concept of “European identity” can be discussed in its geographical dimensions, as well as from a historical, cultural, economic or political point of view. In some instances, the geographical belonging to Europe does not fully coincide with the awareness of a cultural and/or political European identity. Like their predecessors from the late 19th century, the Bulgarians of today, after the end of socialist regime, live with the feeling of being “isolated” and “forgotten” by the rest of the European continent. While in the late 19th century the concept of Europe was used synonymously with “civilisation” and “modernisation”, today it is associated with the overcoming of the closedness and the social deformations of totalitarian rule. But the Bulgarians’ concept of Europe is still vague and abstract. This vagueness of the image of Europe turns “the European card” into a ready tool and argument in the political struggle between main political actors. The very possibility of using the concept of Europe as a strong political argument, however, indicates that the image of Europe is positive and has a high position in the value system of the Bulgarians of today.

How to Cite

Benovska-Sabkova, M., (2002) “Constituting the Image of Europe in the Post-Socialist Period in Bulgaria”, Ethnologia Europaea 32(1), 49-56. doi:

Publisher Notes

  • This article was previously published by Museum Tusculanum Press.


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Milena Benovska-Sabkova (New Bulgarian University)



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