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Managing Invisibility

Dissimulation and Identity Maintenance among Alevi Bulgarian Turks

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Hande Sözer

In Managing Invisibility, Hande Sözer examines complicated invisibilities of Alevi Bulgarian Turks, a double-minority which faces structural discrimination in Bulgaria and Turkey. While the literature portrays minorities’ visibility as a requirement for their empowerment or a source of their surveillance, the book argues that for such minorities what matters is their control over their own visibility. To make this point, it focuses on the concept protective dissimulation, a strategy of self-imposed invisibility. It discusses cases indicating Alevi Bulgarian Turks’ strategies of dealing with historically changing majorities in their larger societies and argues that dissimulation actually reinforces the intergroup distinctions for the minority’s members. The data for the book was gathered during 18 months of ethnographic fieldwork in Bulgaria and Turkey.