A burgeoning field of research has been seeking to theorise the capacity of mixed communities in postcolonial cities of the Global North to negotiate a high degree of cultural diversity. At a time when multiculturalism is increasingly portrayed as a failed top-down political project, anthropologists and social geographers have turned their attention to the practice of everyday cohabitation in urban areas where tens or even hundreds of ethnicities and nationalities have been living together for decades now. The present paper introduces the debate around notions like everyday multiculturalism, everyday multiculture, and conviviality to the Bulgarian audience.
On the one hand, the paper aims to offer a ray of hope in a Bulgarian context where cultural diversity is ever more tightly coupled in the public sphere to fear and danger. On the other hand, it prepares the ground for including the East-European context into a hitherto predominantly Western academic debate. The concept social multiculture is proposed and it is grounded in the empirical example of the Women’s Market – possibly the urban area with most intense cultural diversity and social heterogeneity in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Keywords: everyday multiculture, conviviality, living together, Sofia, Women’s Market, urban studies
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