Working Paper 102

A Bulgarian Example of Exchange and Reciprocity in the Family

Vihra Barova

Department ‘Resilience and Transformation in Eurasia’

Year of publication

Number of pages

Working Paper 102

The focus of this research is strongly connected to the intense periods of urbanisation, following the Second World War and the collapse of socialism in 1989, which did not appear to cause a break up of relations between urban and rural residents of the same kin. Although migrations between towns and villages created a physical separation, relatives have remained bound to each other through varying levels of commitment. The central research topic focuses on family networks that operate between countryside and city and the kinds of social and economic strategies that are employed. The research work looks at family networks and their differing degrees of personal embeddedness with respect to kinship and descent. I will focus on two levels of kinship, with regard to different groups of relatives and their unique needs. These groups differ in the sense of being actual or normative kin. The question is: what do family members exchange (in the sense of economic, social, and cultural capital) in times of transition and insecurity in order to maintain their social status? These individual and group strategies may provide an explanation for the peculiarities of the structure of Bulgarian society.

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