This study examines the mythic form of the ‘Bulgarian situation’, which is evoked and managed in moments of social interaction, and during enactments of oplakvane (complaining) in Bulgarian discourse. Based on ethnographic examination of naturally occurring talk, interviews, and various media data, the article constructs the larger cultural narrative available in Bulgarian discourse, which explains the origins of a national identity, linked to a ‘national mentality’ developed over a historical period. This national identity is constituted communication, and highlights a deeply cultural notion of nationality and biology as intricately connected, and developed in the context of the Ottoman occupation, and the following period of socialism. Such a discursive conceptualization of nationality has implications for the local understandings of self and agency, also visible in a larger field of study across disciplines in Bulgaria under the name narodopsihologij (national psychology). The study bridges areas of research within post-socialism and communication and addresses the importance of the macro-processes in moments of transformation by examining how people responded to the uncertainty they faced in the long transitional period after communism, thus highlighting the complex consequences of the way the pastenters the present as novel adaptation.
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