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Title: On the way to the 'imaginary West' : Bulgarian migrations, imaginations and disillusionments
Author: Manolova, Polina Mihaylova
ISNI:       0000 0004 7432 4024
Awarding Body: University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis examines Bulgarian migration to the UK since the lifting of work restrictions in 2014. Contesting the economic reductionism of mainstream migration literature, my aim is to provide an in-depth understanding of the diverse motivations, experiences, and meanings that migration holds for those who engage in it. By following the journeys of two groups of Bulgarians who share two different perceptions of class identity, I juxtapose their pre-migratory imaginations of life in the UK with the lived realities of migration. The phenomenon of migration is approached through the native concept of the ‘West’ (Zapadat), which simultaneously denotes the geographical region of western Europe and a place offering possibilities for a more meaningful life and a better future. By deconstructing this notion through the conceptual prism of the ‘imaginary West’ I grasp the connection between individual imaginations and globally circulating discourses and ideologies of Western modernity and civilisation and corresponding ideas about social hierarchy and class. I show how this idealised and in fact utopian version of the West foregrounds individual decisions to migrate and to sustain migration projects despite unforeseen hardships and unrealised expectations. I thus conclude that the ‘imaginary West’ is a major force structuring and sustaining migration between Bulgaria and the UK, and between global centres and peripheries more generally.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: H Social Sciences (General) ; JA Political science (General)