Phantasmic Devices: Wedding Videos and the Creation of an Imagined Transnational Community by Bulgarian Muslims in Spain

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Abstract

For the Bulgarian Muslims in Spain wedding videos are a popular device for socializing, overcoming nostalgia and keeping pace with the news and events that take place back home in Bulgaria. The mediatization of the ritual allows an extension of the ritual across time and space. Watching the videos is a re-enactment of the celebration and has become part of the ritual itself. Subsequently, this extension of the ritual through a mediated device has led to its subtle transformations. At the same time, wedding videos and the particular mode of use produce a social effect beyond the structure of the ritual. They contribute to the extending and re-creating of a migrant community that spreads over space transnationally and temporally between the past of home and the present of life in migrancy. Drawing on ethnographic material and using the analytical tools of actor-network theory, the main aim of this paper is to trace the uses and effects of wedding videos for transforming the wedding ritual through postponing and re-enacting it on one hand, and for sustaining the phantasm of an imagined virtual community on the other. The broader problem that this paper seeks to address is the specific role that material devices play for producing social effects for migrant communities.

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