Rebordering Britain & Britons after Brexit
(New) Bulgarian Enlighteners and Ambassadors? The Reinvention of National Identity in Times of Crisis
Drawing on empirical data from 37 Bulgarian students and young professionals in the UK, this article explores the intersection of the discourses produced by the European crises and migrants' national identity. In Bulgaria, the crisis narrative is embedded in the arguably never-ending democratic transition, manifested in socio-economic instability and political volatility. Simultaneously, “Brexit Britain” is enveloped in strong Eurosceptic sentiments, propelled by a combination of austerity measures and intensified Eastern European migratory flows. Both contexts subject Bulgarian migrants to stigmatizing representations. Looking at migrants' everyday practices, the data reveals that young Bulgarians draw on the related ideas of the “new” Enlightener and Ambassador to counterbalance negative discourses. Thus, the article explores the meanings and significance attributed to the Enlighteners and the Ambassadors, arguing that the participants engage in “social creativity” and “individual mobility” strategies that lead to reinvention of national identity.
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