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Accepted Paper:

The sound of populist celebrations: mobilizing cultural practices in constructing 'otherness' around gender in Bulgaria  

Author:

Vladislav Petkov (Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski)

Paper short abstract:

The paper looks at cultural practices appropriated by certain social groups, in their attempt to construct 'the people' against the Istanbul Convention in Bulgaria. These include traditional dances (horo) among others. It particularly explores how music and sounds are mobilized in the process.

Paper long abstract:

The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (more commonly known as the Istanbul Convention) sparked a collective production of emotions (Ditchev, 2009) and completely reshaped the political discourse on gender in Bulgaria. Fed by mainstream and social media, the Istanbul Convention has turned into a moral panic (Cohen, 1972; Hall, 1980). Media content in the country has been rarely dominated by a topic for so long with 'gender' becoming a trigger word, click-bait and an offense expression.

The discourse against the Istanbul Convention in Bulgaria has managed to construct enemies 'of the people', othering (Fielder and Catalano, 2017) at least three distinctive groups: 1) international elite lobbies pushing for 'gender ideology' and the 'gay agenda'; 2) local 'liberal vermin'; 3) anybody who bends 'traditional' gender roles, but especially the LGBTI community. What stands out in the analysis of these processes, is the cultural practices appropriated by certain social groups, in their attempt to further present the opposition against the Istanbul Convention, as people's will. These includes traditional dances (horo), celebrative marches and other ritual-like events inter-linking online and offline contexts. The paper will have a close anthropological look on these, exploring particularly how music and sounds are mobilized in the process.

Panel P169
Affection of Sounds and Politics in South-Eastern Europe: Challenges and Perspectives