Colorado Research in Linguistics

Document Type

Working Paper


The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 marked the end of the communist era and the political and economic structures that supported it. Yet, for many Eastern Europeans communism was not a monolithic “Evil Empire” but their “normal” way of life. This paper focuses on the narratives of Bulgarian immigrants to the US about experiences that formed the fabric of everyday life in communist Bulgaria. The informants in this study are not political immigrants. They came to the US after 1989 in pursuit of educational and career goals and claim to have had “average” lives in Bulgaria. However, they belong to a generation that came of age in the last years of communist rule in Bulgaria and have a unique perspective on that period. The analysis approaches memory and identity as narrative constructions that are constantly renewed, struggled over, and adapted to the present context. In exploring this instability, the paper seeks to identify common patterns among the stories told by immigrants, which represent pieces of the collective memory of ordinary life under communism in Bulgaria.



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