A cry and an outcry: Oplakvane (complaining) as a term for communication practice

Nadezhda Sotirova

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    1 Scopus citations


    This study examined the term oplakvane in Bulgarian discourse. It refers to a communication practice–similar to complaining–and a range of associated cultural meanings for ways to construct a socio-economic and political reality. Data for this study included naturally occurring talk recorded during social events, interview responses from 50 participants, and a range of media postings from newspapers and online sources. These were examined through the lens of ethnography of communication and studies of terms for talk. By examining the term's context, potency, use, messages, meanings, and enactments, a larger cultural landscape is made available, illustrating how oplakvane not only describes negative talk, but references a communication ritual that serves to: (1) release the frustrations of everyday life, (2) celebrate and reinforce feelings of fate and despair, and (3) identify and locate a national Bulgarian character.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)304-323
    Number of pages20
    JournalJournal of International and Intercultural Communication
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - Oct 2 2018


    • Ethnography of communication
    • complaining
    • cultural communication
    • oplakvane
    • terms for talk

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