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Language and alphabet in the Armenian diaspora of Plovdiv, Bulgaria: symbolic cultivation and identitary memory
Giustina Selvelli, predavanje na tuji univerzi

Opis: In this presentation I will focus on the case of the Armenian diaspora of Plovdiv, Bulgaria, describing specific mechanisms of maintenance and reproduction of identitary memory connected to the symbolic use of the community’s language and alphabet made by both cultural elites and individuals. Armenian language and alphabet are functional to the promotion of a particular type of memory, which makes the experience of the diaspora 'transnational' and 'transtemporal' at one time, challenging conventional concepts of belonging based on territoriality. In particular, by virtue of its emotional content linked to a history of distinctiveness, the alphabet becomes part of a process of collective representation, as a key symbol nourishing the links with the spiritual and cultural heritage of the historical Armenian Motherland. The latter can be considered an 'Imaginary Homeland': not corresponding to the restricted borders of contemporary Republic of Armenia, it has acquired a 'mythical value' which constitutes integral part of an emotional geography of the diaspora. Although most members of the community do not have a command of the Armenian language, its alphabet appears to be an essential tool in a process of symbolic cultivation of collective imaginary by virtue of the specific “ethno-history” it contains, and expands its role beyond the technical one becoming an object, a decoration and a distinctive sign displaying identitary memory.
Ključne besede: Armenian Alphabet, Armenian Diaspora, Bulgarian Armenians, Imaginary Homeland, Symbolic Cultivation
Objavljeno v RUNG: 04.01.2021; Ogledov: 2323; Prenosov: 0
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Giustina Selvelli, 2015, izvirni znanstveni članek

Opis: This work investigates the relation between the maintenance of Armenian identity and language and the multifunctional employment of the Armenian writing system in the diasporic context of Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Departing from the assumption that a writing system’s cultural meaning goes far beyond its technical function, the aim is to demonstrate how the Armenian alphabet becomes a fundamental component of a process of symbolic cultivation of collective imagery, employed by the local intelligentsia in different writing settings in order to keep the link with the cultural and spiritual legacy of the historic Armenian motherland alive. In this vision, I integrate the analysis of ethnic identity with the study of the representational factors that allow a group to exist in the symbolic horizon of its members, with the purpose of underlining the symbolic aspect of ethnicity and identifying the mechanisms active in its persistence in time as a historic and cultural construction.
Ključne besede: Armenian Diaspora, Armenian Alphabet, Bulgarian Armenians, Plovdiv, Armenian Language
Objavljeno v RUNG: 24.08.2020; Ogledov: 2538; Prenosov: 0
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