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Seminar_BG

Seminar_BG is a biennial online journal for cultural studies, situated on the borderline of disciplines such as cultural anthropology, aesthetics, sociology, and media analysis. The aspiration of the editorial team is to render visible the invisible, to shift the researcher’s gaze from the traditional objects and problems to the new social processes and groups, to try to understand before passing judgment.

The central objects of interest are the new media and communications, popular culture, youth communities, consumer practices, the new forms of political and civil mobilizations, the transformations in the urban environment, contemporary art forms – processes evolving far too quickly to be conceptualized through the classical research tools.

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NEW MEDIA, NEW CULTURES, OLD CITIES - Selected Papers from 2009/2010

This issue brings to the attention of our international readers a selection of papers from the first four thematic issues of the journal published in 2009 and 2010. The variety of topics, methods, and cases serves as a showcase of the journal’s interdisciplinary approach and innovative methodological framework. Instead of interpreting the culture of “still life” objects, navigating through the culture of flows.

  • 23 mai 2012

    The Age of the “Mediums”

    Julia Rone


    from Information from Link to Link, and from Mouth to Mouth

    I feel stupid and contagious,
    Here we are now: entertain us.

    The Bricoleurs

    Vbox7, YouTube, Facebook, and even blogs, rarely produce news. As Geert Lovink notes (Lovink, G. 2007), the chances of finding bloggers committed to carrying out independent journalistic research are slim. What online platforms do is emit a thick cloud of impressions around given news and let loose the public opinion. News are extracted from the closed circle of the traditional media and released in the open Internet space. Here, they grow thick with opinions, comments, and interpretations. It is rather telling which news arouses the interest of Internet users. The Facebook cause "Miss Bulgaria 2009 is a crocodile" might turn out to be a lot more exciting for them than the economic crisis. New media are cloc

  • 23 mai 2012

    Social Networks and Politics 2.0

    Orlin Spassov


    from Link to Link. The New Geometry of the Social

               

    The world of politics has rapidly changed in the recent years, becoming increasingly dependent on the new technologies. One of the key questions is to what extent the practices pertaining to the social internet could stimulate political and civic activities. In this context two driving forces have been clearly recognized: traditional political structures making their way into the Net, and activism taking place “from below”, encouraged by the revolution of the users. In the first case, the Net accommodates hierarchically organized institutions, whereas in the second, people take action by their free will and determine themselves the load and the nature of their involvement.

    In both cases the potential of Internet was immediately recognized. In Bulgaria, the Net was used for dissem

  • 23 mai 2012

    Poke Bulgaria!

    Milla Mineva


    from Link to Link. The New Geometry of the Social

    It is rather easy now to find out how many fans Bulgaria has: thanks to Facebook we’ll discover that “Bulgaria” – a group defined as a “state government” type – has 181 friends; its profile picture is the Bulgarian coat of arms, and the news posted on its Wall reads “Bulgaria has changed its website”.

    The state “Bulgaria” (as it was defined by its founders as a Facebook group – “Geography – State”) also has a profile, but far fewer members – only 12. Even so, there are several groups of the same kind and under the same name, initiated by different people, and with different number of participants. One of the group members has picked the name “Forward, Bulgaria!” for his or her personal profile, conveniently shortened by Facebook to “Bulgaria” which allows for surprising possibilities such a

  • 23 mai 2012

    The City Taking Place from Below

    Ivaylo Ditchev


    from Do-It-Yourself City

    The battle for the city is fought on at least three fronts. On the one hand, there is the strong-willed power of the city-builders imposing the norms. It is them we know most about – starting from Hippodamus who re-built Miletus and Octavian Augustus who bestowed glamour on Rome, continuing with the Cartesian rationalization of Manhattan with the master plan from 1811 and the grand renovation of Paris by Baron Hausmann, up to Stalin’s new town Magnitogorsk or the neoliberal Shanghai.

    The intellectual resistance against the power of space comes (or rather, becomes visible, becomes a cultural fact) with the industrial revolution. We see it, for instance, in Baudelaire’s aesthete-flaneur who appropriates the city in random walks, or some hundred years later, in the International of the situati

  • 23 mai 2012

    The Post-socialist Hundertwasser

    Lina Gergova and Yana Gergova


    from Do-It-Yourself City

    There are more than half a million large panel and reinforced concrete dwellings in Bulgaria, their exterior rehabilitation (known as sanirane in Bulgarian) being subject to public policies from above and business initiatives from below. These relations of interdependence could be either in conflict or in agreement. The conflict goes deeper than it seems because the state provides mostly for the normative regulation of the process, whereas the financial burden is carried by the flat owners sharing floor ownership of the building. This is all specified both in the European and in the national legislative framework, and will be further elaborated in a comprehensive set of sublegislative acts. The lack of agreement has produced visual effects in the urban space, particularly in its periphery.

  • 24 mai 2012

    Take the Market Out of Sight!

    Velislava Petrova


    from Do-It-Yourself City

    When I first visited Dimitrovgrad in 2005, the impression of a large town marketplace spreading out to all parts of the town seemed to hang all over the place. The interurban bus pulled up on the street leading to the marketplace, and the procession of cars heading that way did not end until the small hours of the day. The vendors opened their stands at two o’clock in the morning, and the dark alleys hustled and bustled with people. As if the marketplace, once forced out of the town, along the railway tracks, had slowly but steadily spread beyond the farm land where it stood; it had taken over the old sports hall and was making its way into the residential blocks of flats. As if the impression of invasion was dictated by the sentiments shared by the vendors themselves – the marketplace was

  • 24 mai 2012

    Resistance as a Luxury

    Todor Hristov


    Subcultures, identity, and practices of the self  -  from Youth Subcultures

    This article seeks to prove that describing contemporary subcultures as forms of identity, or of resistance, as researchers have been inclined to do in the last couple of decades, is somewhat problematical. I will try to show that subcultures can be thought of as specific forms of care of the self instead. With this aim in mind, I will analyze the practices pertaining to the vandalizing of a drinking fountain in the village of Tranak, as represented in a couple of video clips.

    1.

    The term “subculture” was born in the late 1920s out of the tendency to conceive of social relations that could not be recognized as a distinct culture, in terms of cultures (Folsom 1928: 101-102). Up until the 1960s, family, old age homes, and emigrant communities were described in this fashion.

    Already at the time

  • 24 mai 2012

    Subculture and Ethnicity

    Teodora Karamelska


    The Life Story of an Actor from Razgrad  -  from Youth Subcultures

    Local subcultures: the Razgrad Theater’s Youth Company

    So, our nights will wear away like this past us? Obliterated under the feet of eternity… The generations will leave us behind, recalling just a name, which will be written down in water, not in ink. So, this is life? It’s just a past that’s washed away, all traces vanished; a present chasing after the past; a future that may only pass, and thus become a present or a past?

    Sitting in the dark, I am listening to the chant-like monologue of the Stone Man based on poems by Gibran Kahlil, while following their translation in Bulgarian, provided in the program note. And I am thinking, will the “Nazhum Hikmet” Music and Drama Theater of Razgrad1 succeed in captivating the audience in Sofia with the drama “Devran (Fate)”2 and show something diff

  • 24 mai 2012

    Subcultures as Virtual Communities

    Valentina Gueorguieva


    from Youth Subcultures

    What happens to subcultural formations when they enter the cyberspace? And how does online communication alter connections and identification with the group? Are there new forms of community in the digital phase of youth cultures, and can they be related to the theoretical insights about postmodern fluid identities and ephemeral belongings? This text continues the reflections about the new forms of post-subcultural communities, bringing together some theoretical insights about virtual identity, existing studies of virtual communities, and the results of a research on the internet forums of subcultural groups in Bulgaria.

    Postmodern subcultural theory and virtual identity

    As David Muggleton and Rupert Weinzierl state in the introduction to their Post-subcultures Reader, “the era seems long go

  • 24 mai 2012

    Nationalism as a Subculture?

    Ivaylo Ditchev


    from Code Yellow. The Tabloid Culture in Action

    It sounds blasphemous to describe as a subculture the most precarious civic engagement of the Modern Times, going to extremes, such as the ethics of self-sacrifice – neither of the knight, nor of the warrior, but of the common citizen – nationalism. I am taking the liberty of putting such a hypothesis to the test here, in view of the tendency, observed in the Bulgarian youth in particular, to shift from the rationally political to the media-based emotional register. We understand less and less what they want to happen in the state; whereas they inculcate on us who they hate and love in ever more figurative ways. Needless to say that the most serious mobilizations around this symbolical obscurity, extending all the way from the extreme-right racism to the left protectionism of the labor mar

  • 4 juin 2012

    The Ideology of Idiocy

    Julia Rone


    from Code Yellow. The Tabloid Culture in Action

    Turtles mating; a man in a gorilla suit, banging his head against a fence; a baby dancing samba. These are only few of the most watched “contagious” video clips in Web 2.0 – the utopia of civic participation. In 1992 Karl Bernstein, one of the journalists who uncovered the Watergate affair, wrote a polemical piece on the culture of idiocy. Bernstein criticized the tabloidization of the media, the lack of investigative journalism, and the unprecedented success of “yellow” TV shows (Bernstein 1992). Eighteen years later, with the advent of the video social networks in our life, the idiot culture is coming of age. A coming of age that we ourselves are to be blamed for.

    To talk of tabloidization of the video websites seems problematical since they have been tabloid right from the start. The emp