Stereotypes of Poland and the Poles among the Bulgarians Living in Poland
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The number of Bulgarians living permanently in Poland today is approximately eight thousand. They are not a territorially compact ethnic group: the majority live in big cities and can be found virtually all over Poland. Most of them are 'love immigrants': Bulgarians who met their future spouses at the Bulgarian seaside, during their studies in Poland or in other circumstances, and who settled in Poland between the 1960s and 1990s. The article begins by reviewing the stereotypical notions of Poland and the Poles among different circles in Bulgaria. It traces the persistence of some stereotypes - such as those of the Polish urban space, landscape or climate - among Bulgarians visiting Poland for the first time. Since the stereotypes of the everyday culture of Poles are especially persistent, the paper dwells more extensively on Bulgarian stereotypes of Polish food, i.e. taste stereotypes, as well as on behavioural stereotypes of the Polish husband/wife, and of relationships in Polish families between spouses, mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law, and parents and children. It also looks at stereotypes of the festive culture of Poles and of the place of folklore in Polish festive culture. The article examines in greater detail the psychological stereotypes of essential characteristics of Poles, such as religiousness, hospitality, ability to communicate, solidarity, mutual help, independence of spirit, love of freedom. It also looks at stereotypical notions of the attitudes of Poles towards their homeland, towards power and government, towards foreigners, etc.
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