This essay offers a critical analysis of the changing images of women in Bulgarian advertising during socialism and in the process of the post-socialist transition. During socialism, images of women, dressed in white lab coats, wearing construction hats, and lacking any sense of sexuality were on prominent display, created the most visually recognizable and ubiquitous symbols of communism—the frumpy babushka. Today, the babushka is an image of the past as Eastern European women have adopted a new highly sexualized identity. Advertising, which boomed during the transition, has become the primary cultural arena for the social engineering of a new, highly sexualized identity, quickly becoming a “normalized” trend in Eastern Europe with potentially dangerous consequences.
Populism is frequently understood as democratic illiberalism. Concrete policies that have been implemented by governing populist parties in Bulgaria, however, have been surprisingly liberal, at least in economic terms. This poses the question whether it is possible to have the opposite of democratic illiberalism, namely, liberal populism. This article investigates the elective affinities between liberal and populist discourses during the Bulgarian Summer protests in 2013. This investigation is done with a strong focus on intellectuals' interpretations as their function is not merely reflective description, but is also formative and prescriptive of political identities. The main argument is that throughout the 2013 Summer protests there was visible tendency of articulation between populist and liberal discourses.
European citizenship is a new concept, which has evolved with the process of European integration. Starting from the younger generations, the EU seeks to establish a modern and innovative view of citizenship through three fundamental elements - rights, identity and participation - that could lead to new ways of conceiving the relationship of institutions-citizens and citizens-citizens. The idea of European citizenship tends to overcome the historical idea of national states and national identity. It does this by reinforcing its supranational nature and developing an attitude of tolerance towards diversity and human/minority rights. Thus, to verify the impact European citizenship has on the younger generation in Bulgaria, this research is based on an inter-ethnic sample of 30 interviews (16 Bulgarians, 14 Bulgarian Turks) and applies a qualitative comparative analysis method.