Cross-Country Differences in the Wealth-Income Ratio
The goal of my project is to understand the cross-country differences in the wealth-income ratio, a ratio of national wealth to GDP. Understanding the wealth-income ratio is important for three reasons: First, it is an indicator of the unequal distribution of wealth within a country and is highly relevant to the ongoing academic and policy discussion of inequality. Second, it is an indicator of the existence of a financial market bubble, an intensely debated topic in recent years given the rapidly rising asset prices in many advanced and developing economies. Third, it is closely related to the share of labor income, an important dimension of how national income is distributed across different actors. I aim to improve the existing analysis of the wealth-income ratio and to present a more satisfactory explanation of, among other things, the cross-country differences in the wealth-income ratio, the role of policies and institution, and the share of housing and other real-estate wealth. My analysis will be both theoretical and empirical. My empirical analysis will utilize data from international organizations and also from other individual researchers who have compiled and published related data online.
Political Outcomes of Housing Financialisation and Social Contention in Spain
In this project I aim at investigating the political impacts of two interrelated phenomena: housing financialization and grassroots contestation, by focusing on the special case of Spain. On the one hand, two different historical periods of housing financialisation are identified in this country (1997-2013 and 2013-2022). The participation of national and foreign financial capital has varied significantly in the production, transactions and assetisation of housing in each period. My first goal is to analyse the different characteristics, developments and impacts of housing financialisation at different scales (local, national and transnational) and dimensions (political economy and society). On the other hand, grassroots social movements in Spain have been remarkable reactions to the above processes and other inherited shortcomings of the Spanish housing system. The movement initially led by the anti-evictions organisation PAH (Platform for People Affected by Mortgages), targeted the effects of housing speculation in impoverished homeowners and achieved substantial policy changes at local, regional and national levels. The second period of housing financialisation engendered the response of newly established tenants’ unions and local housing groups since 2017. Hence, my second goal is to investigate the claims, strategies, protest repertoires and policy impacts of these different expressions of the housing movement.
Translating the Polis: Intellectuals in Republican China and the Reception of Ancient Greek Political Concepts, 1911-1929
he present project intends to investigate the reception and perception of the “Western Classical” in the “Chinese Modern”, by looking at how Chinese intellectuals of the early Republican period understood and translated (both linguistically and conceptually) the political thought of Ancient Greece. I will use sources from the 1910s and 1920s - ranging from the essays of translator and poet Zhou Zuoren to history textbooks and popular magazines - in order to survey the different ways in which Greek conceptual “experiments” (especially the polis and the league or symmachia) became part of the Chinese debate on how to build a “modern” post-imperial order and interacted with other historical references/models (either retrieved from the Chinese past or from Western experiences) in the vibrant confrontation between federalism and centralism, nationalism and cosmopolitanism, progressivism and conservatism. A look at how Mediterranean classical theories justifying socio-political models different from the statist/centralized paradigm circulated in the Republican era, will hopefully contribute to shedding more light on how concepts of “self-government”, “autonomy”, “confederation”, “shared governance” – seen in their historical development – became part of the debate on how to build a “modern nation” – and on the nature of “political modernity” itself.
Rethinking Meritocracy: Freedom, Wellbeing and the Common Good
The ideal of meritocracy and equality of opportunity remains the dominant strain of political thought in liberal democracies. However, this ideal needs rethinking in response to the global rise of populism, which has revealed serious social and political alienation among those who are not part of the ‘meritorious’ liberal elite. Political theorists like Michael Sandel have criticised meritocracy on the basis that it stigmatises and discriminates against those who are seen as lacking ‘merit’, such as people without university degrees. I propose to conduct fundamental research that responds to this critique by developing a more inclusive meritocratic ideal based on two interacting concepts of ‘subjective’ and ‘objective’ merit. The conventional concept of ‘objective’ merit is based on achievements recognised and rewarded by existing institutions. My new dual concept of merit will also include ‘subjective’ merit based on personal development and wellbeing. My project will work through this idea, including its practical ramifications. The Bulgarian Centre of Advanced Studies is an ideal location for undertaking this work, due to its depth and breadth of expertise in humanities and social sciences and because Bulgaria’s geo-political location makes it a crucible for the clash of ideals between meritocracy and populism.
The Fight against the kulaks in Bulgaria – the Fate of the Large Landowners in Dobrudja after 1944
Although small in percentage, until September 9, 1944 in Bulgaria there was an influential layer of large landowners. The so-called chiflikchii owned large farms mainly in Dobrudja, which was returned to the borders of the country with the Craiova Agreement of 1940. In addition to adapting to the change of state borders, this stratum would soon experience a change of regime. If initially the new communist government was relatively tolerant of the big landowners, then at the end of 1947 the regime began a serious attack on them as "kulaks". In my research I will follow the liquidation of large land holdings in the region of Dobrudja, which in terms of historiography has so far remained in the shadow of the general processes of collectivization in Bulgaria.
Care Work, Migration and (Im)Possible Solidarities: The cases of Bulgarian female care workers in Greece and Spain
The present project proposes an analysis of the struggles for rights and against discrimination of migrant female care workers based on the case study of Bulgarian migrants in Spain and Greece. Informed by the literature on migration and decoloniality on the one hand, and the literature on social movements on the other, the project seeks to contribute to a dialogue between theoretical perspectives and geographical contexts, as well as to make a novel empirical contribution. It raises the issue of the unequal geographical distribution of mobilizations and organization of women workers in the care sector under similar problems and conditions, and the need for a more nuanced understanding of the factors that contribute to an organization that targets labour, women and migrant´s rights and those that inhibit it. Through the use of qualitative methodologies, the project aims to collect data that will help to build a comparative overview between Bulgarian migrants in different countries, between mobilised and unorganised women workers and between different generations of Bulgarian migrants in terms of struggles for their rights.
Population Politics and Nation Building: Migrations of Turkish and Muslim Populations from Bulgaria to Turkey (1925–1939)
The project aims to analyse the migrations of Turkish and Muslim communities from Bulgaria to Turkey during the interwar period interpreted through the prism of population politics and state- and nation-building processes. Employing the approaches of entangled histories and transnational history, the study will investigate comparatively how Bulgaria and Turkey developed specific strategies to homogenise the previously demographically heterogeneous territories along ethnic, religious, and cultural lines. The project will trace how migration flows and border crossings were affected by the redefinition of citizenship boundaries, identity categories, acceptance frameworks, and social hierarchies. By examining the historical dynamics of the Turkish and Muslim resettlements, the research will situate population movements and displacements within the larger framework of the two nation states’ policies and practices of ethnic and demographic engineering. The focus is on the construction, negotiation, and transformation of nationhood and the different government strategies towards “desired” and “undesired” nationals, categorised within the frameworks of majority and minorities. The study will further trace the ways in which these categories were instrumentalised in different visions of national integrity.
Pre-structuralist semiology: Materiality of language in Ferdinand de Saussure
The object of study is Ferdinand de Saussure’s implicit project for linguistic semiology. We propose a clear delimitation of a notion of semiology, distinguished from the notion of semiotics. The extent of this new notion of semiology would be explored by means of researching the early stages of structural linguistics as attested in Saussure’s writings, both published and manuscript. According to the initial presupposition, the revision of basic tenets of structuralism and semiotics with regards to Saussure’s original project of semiology would provide us with a new set of ideas about how to understand signification and human signifying activity as a whole. As an interpretative prism to this semiological framework, we propose to reconsider the problem of language materiality, since it is precisely the question of materiality that stands out in the latest research on Saussure’s legacy. As a subsequent step, this new semiological understanding, both of natural languages and of other signifying systems, could be applied to the research of literature – understood as an organised signification, – or even to other fields of human activities where signs are involved.
Transnationals: Consuls and the Making of the Modern Balkans (1787-1908)
Тransnationals: Consuls and the Making of the Modern Balkans (1787-1908) examines the role of consuls in the creation of new nation-states, the establishment of economic interdependencies, and the rise of new notions of citizenship in the nineteenth-century Balkans. The project aims to bring together insights from history, urban studies, migration studies, law and economics, and the digital humanities to map and analyze the way in which consular networks reconfigured urban spaces in the late Ottoman Empire and the various new nation-states that emerged in Southeastern Europe. It seeks to answer the question of what role consuls played in the making of the modern Balkans at the intersection of state formation, imperialism, and new notions of citizenship.
Beyond Totalitarianism: Mass Internment, Concentration Camps and Forced Labor in Bulgaria in the 20th Century
The project is designed as a longue durée study of extralegal detention in one country asking broader questions about the repressive potential of the modern state. It will provide, for the first time, a thorough account of civilian internment, concentration camps, and forced labor in Bulgaria during the 20th century. The research aims to challenge the basic assumptions of Bulgarian historiography about the nature of these repressive practices and institutions as unique to only totalitarian dictatorships by offering a different perspective on their origins, development, and history in Bulgarian context. Informed by the recent global turn in the study of concentration camps the project will integrate the Bulgarian case into the wider European and global perspective.