This article explores perspectives among Bulgarian immigrants in the United States in remembering everyday life during the socialist and post-socialist periods and compares their reflections upon these periods with the views expressed by those who remained in Bulgaria. Our research uses extensive ethnographic data, including interviews with Bulgarians who did not emigrate, and with those whose personalities were shaped under socialism and remained in Bulgaria long enough to experience the post-socialist transition before emigrating.
We analyze how and to what extent the experience of immigration renders more complex and nuanced migrants’ perspectives toward the socialist and post-socialist periods, and the role that nostalgia, alienation, broadened cultural experience and anxiety plays in evolving those perspectives. We compare how the alternative notions of nostalgia and rejection of the socialist past life are articulated in the memories of those who “remain” in Bulgaria, and in the memories of ones who “left”.
Keywords: Memory, Socialism, Post-socialism, Immigration, Nostalgia, Everyday Life