Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Borders and Go-Betweens

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

Bulgarian International Truck Drivers during the Cold War

image of East Central Europe

This chapter aims at discussing the socialist international truck drivers during the Cold War as a liminal group, stemming from two basic considerations: The first one is that roads and borders, which constitute the essence of the international truck drivers’ identity, practices and status, should be considered as classical liminal spaces; and the second is that the notion of liminality should be used as an independent analytical concept, not directly related to the ritual context. Drawing on state archival documents and interviews with former Bulgarian international truck drivers, the chapter conceptualizes the road system as a liminal space, then outlines the Bulgarian policies and practices governing border activity during the Cold War, within which Bulgarian international truck drivers emerged as a group. Further, the truckers are presented as crossing state and ideological borders, as oscillating between different official and non-official practices related to the ambivalent characteristics of Cold War relations, as possessing boundary and thus contradicting identities, and as existing in between different social statuses. This analysis of the liminal status and activities of the truck drivers allows for the grasping of the ambivalence of the Cold War as simultaneously a global conflict and an everyday experience, as a time of seclusion and intensive contacts, and allows us to look at the Cold War processes not just from below, from the standpoint of people of a lower-class position, such as the truckers, but from inside—from the interstitial space of the transnational road network, which both epitomized the ambivalence of the Cold War, but also was shaped by it.

Affiliations: 1: Eindhoven Technological University, Plovdiv University,


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

1. Central State Archive ( csa)
2. Fond 136
3. Record 86, file 523, “Resolution to Endorse the Protocol Regarding Free Economic Assistance to the Interim Algerian Government” (1961)
4. Record 86, file 676, “Report from Army General Dobri Dzhurov, Minister of the People’s Defense, Head of Military Government Delegation Visiting the United Arab Republic” (1966)
5. Record 86, file 749, “Resolution Regarding the Sale of Special Equipment, Giving Special Technical Assistance and Giving Credit to the Republic of Iraq for the Period 1969–1975” (1969)
6. Record 86, file 867, “Resolution to Rendering Free Aid to the People’s Republic of Angola” (1969)
7. Record 86, file 898, “Resolution to Render Free Aid to the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen” (1980)
8. Record 86, file 953, “Resolution to Render Aid to the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan” (1983)
9. Fond 1B
10. Record 93, file 18, “Decision N 1/16 March 1981 of the Currency Committee of Politburo”
11. Record 64, file 581 “Decision ‘B’ N 3 of the Secretary of the Central Committee of the Bulgarian Communist Party, 29 January 1980, about the Salaries of the Leading Cadres”
12. Record 64, file 911 “Protocol ‘B’ N 13, 1974 about the Limit of the Food Allowances”
13. Archive of the Committee for Disclosing the Documents and Announcing Affiliation of Bulgarian Citizens to the State Security and Intelligence Services of the Bulgarian National Army ( assisbna)
14. Fond VІ
15. Record Л, file 315M, t. I, part I, “Second Main Directorate (Counter-Intelligence) Special File Concerning the ‘Texim’ Foreign Trade Company’s Activities” (1964–1970)
16. Record Л, file 970M, “Second Main Directorate Special File Concerning Water Transportation” (1977–1985)
17. Fond 1
18. Record 12, file 439M, “Secret Report by the Central Information Division of the State Security Services on Bulgarian Citizens Residing Abroad in the Fourth Quarter of 1980 and the Implemented Defections”
19. Record 12, file 905M, “Classified shorthand record from the Board of the Interior Ministry, 30 August 1989” and “Classified Proposal for Reorganization in the Foreign Passports Department and the Local Offices of the Interior Ministry”
20. Fond 2
21. Record 3, file 247M, “Instruction of the Secretariat of the State Security Committee concerning the Order and the Decision Taken About the Passport Applications and the Organization of the Counter-Intelligence Work of the State Security Committee Bodies or Agencies on Bulgarians Temporarily Staying Abroad” (1967)
22. Record 3, file 401M, “Interior Ministry: Means and Ways of Crossing the People’s Republic of Bulgaria” (1970)
23. Record 4, file 63M, “Reports by the Local Directorates of the Interior Ministry in Burgas, Veliko Tarnovo, Pazardzhik, Rousse, Yambol concerning the Hostile Emigration’s Subversion under the International Transport and the State of Work in 1980”
24. Record 4, file 66M, “Top Secret Report by the Second Main Directorate (01/30/1981) Regarding the Contraband Provision of Transport and Communications in Gabrovo District in 1980”
25. Record 4, file 102M, “Top Secret Report by the Second Main Directorate (01/17/1986) concerning the Counter-Intelligence Activities Performed by the 4 thDepartment of the Directorate for 1985”
26. Fond 9
27. Record 4, file 250P, “Top Secret Report by the First Main Directorate of the State Security Services (Intelligence) on Ensuring the Safety of the Bulgarian Institutions and Citizens Abroad Who Are in Short or Long Business Trips in Capitalist and Developing Countries” (1979)
28. Record 4, file 95M, “Top secret analytical report concerning defections of the Bulgarian citizens in 1969”
29. Fond 13
30. Record 1, file 1963M, “Inquiries by the Third Division of the State Security Service for Hostile Acts among Youth under the Influence of Western Propaganda” (1961)
31. Fond 22
32. Record 1, file 95M, “Top Secret Inquiry by the 06 Division of the State Security Services on Securing the Bulgarian Citizens Temporarily Residing in Capitalist and Developing Countries in 1979”
33. Fond 27
34. Record 1, file 519M, “An Exemplary Colloquy: The Role and the Meaning of the Personal Passport”
35. Fond 32
36. Record 2, file 257M, “Secret Report by the Interior Ministry (10/11/1978) about the Crimes and Offenses within the Ministry of Transportation”
37. Archive of the Bulgarian Prosecutor’s Office, Sofia
38. Case 4/1990, vol. 42, 529 (Case for the culprits of the economic catastrophe)
39. State Archive, Rousse
40. Fond 1031
41. Record 1, file 6, “Report on the State of the Working Discipline in the dap mpRousse (the local branch of so mat) for the First Nine Months of 1972”
42. Record 1, file 24, “Payroll of wages for 1970”
43. Interviews with former and still current Bulgarian international truck drivers and former officials working for so mat:
44. Dimitar Raychev, Sofia, 16 January, 2008
45. Dragan A., Sofia, 20 December, 2007
46. Ivan Ch., Sofia, 4 January, 2010
47. Kiril L., Sofia, 20 December, 2007
48. Petar G., Sofia, 7 February, 2008
49. Petar R., Chepelare, 20 August, 2010
50. Sasho S., Chepelare, 20 August, 2010
51. Stayko T., Lopian, 13 April, 2009
52. Andrews Hazel ,, and Roberts Les , eds. 2012. Liminal Landscapes: Travel, Experience and Spaces In-Between . Oxon: Routledge.
53. Auge Marc . 2005. Non-Places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity . London: Verso.
54. Badenoch Alexander ,, and Fickers Andreas ,. 2010. “ "Introduction. Europe Materializing? Toward a Transnational History of European Infrastructures".” In Materializing Europe. Transnational Infrastructure and the Project of Europe , edited by Badenoch Alexander ,and Fickers Andreas , 123. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
55. Bayburin Albert [Альберт Байбурин] . 2009. “ "К предыстории советского паспорта (1917–1932),” [On the prehistory of the Soviet passport (1917–1932)]". Неприкосновенный запас[Neprikosnovennyj zapas] Vol 64, no. 2: 140154.
56. Blaha Jaroslav ,, Kahn Michèle ,, and Vale Michel . 1990–1991. “ "Transportation in the East: The Key to Trade between the Two Europes".” Eastern European Economics Vol 29, no. 2: 2963.
57. Castells Manuel . The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture, vol. 1, The Rise of the Network Society . Oxford: Blackwell, 2010.
58. Center for the Study of Democracy [Център за изследване на демокрацията]. 2004. Транспорт, контрабанда и организирана престъпност[Transportation, smuggling, and organized crime]. Sofia: Center for the Study of Democracy.
59. Chandler Andrea . 1998. Institutions of Isolation: Border Controls in the Soviet Union and Its Successor States, 1917–1993 . Montreal and Kingston: McGill and Queen’s University Press.
60. Deleuze Gilles ,, and Guattari Felix . 2005. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia . Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press.
61. Dimitrov, Boris [Борис Димитров], ed. 2004. История на международния автомобилен транспорт в България[History of Bulgarian international truck transport]. Sofia: Bulgarian Transport Press.
62. Dimitrov, Nikola [Никола Димитров]. 1969. "“Неразделни”"[Inseparable]. Транспортен глас [Transport voice], no. 8 (25 February), 3.
63. Elliott Anthony ,, and Urry John . 2010. Mobile Lives . Oxon: Routledge.
64. Fassin Didier . 2011. “ "The Governmentality of Immigration in Dark Times".” The Annual Review of Anthropology Vol 40: 213226.
65. Ferrier J. P. 1856. Karavan Jurneys and Wanderings in Persia, Afganistan, Turkistan, and Beloochistan with Historical Notices of the Countries Lying between Russia and India . London: John Murray.
66. Gennep, Arnold van. 1960. The Rites of Passage . London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
67. Georgiev Marin [Марин Георгиев] . 1970. Развитието на транспорта в България и международното разделение на труда[The development of the transport in Bulgaria and the international division of labor]. Sofia: Nauka i Izkustvo.
68. Hammer Ferenc . 2002. “ "A Gasoline Scented Sindbad: The Truck Driver as a Popular Hero in Socialist Hungary".” Cultural Studies Vol 16, no. 1: 80126.
69. Heidegger Martin ,. 1993. Basic Writings. Ten Key Essays Plus Introduction to Being and Time , edited by Krell David . San Francisco: Harper Collins.
70. Hristov Hristo [Христо Христов] . 2009. Империята на задграничните фирми[The empire of the foreign-trade companies settled abroad]. Sofia: Siela.
71. Hunderson David R. ,, McNab Robert M. ,, and Rozsas Tamas . 2005. “ "The Hidden Inequality in Socialism".” The Independent Review Vol 9, no. 3: 389412.
72. Kasabov, Ivan [Иван Касабов], direcor. 1976. Bulgarian film: Нако, Дако и Цако – международни шофьори[Nako, Dako and Zako – Truck Drivers]. 64 min. Bulgaria: Boyana Film.
73. Kolev Alexander [Александър Колев] . 2006. “ "Универсалната торбичка"” [The universal bag]. In Аз живях социализма[I have lived the socialism], edited by Georgi Gospodinov [Георги Господинов], 247247. Sofia: Janet45.
74. Klapcsik Sándor . 2012. Liminality in Fantastic Fiction: A Poststructuralist Approach . Jefferson, NC: McFarland and Company.
75. Leerssen Joep ,. 2007. “ "Imagology: History and Method".” In Imagology: The Cultural Construction and Literary Representation of National Characters. A Critical Survey , edited by Beller Manfred ,and Leerssen Joep , 1732. Amsterdam: Rodopi.
76. Magagna Victor V. 1989. “ "Consumers of Privilege: A Political Analysis of Class, Consumption and Socialism".” Polity Vol 21, no. 4: 711729.
77. Merriman Peter ,. 2005. “ "Driving Places. Marc Auge, Non-Places, and the Geographies of England’s M1 Motorway".” In Automobilities , edited by Featherstone Mike ,, Thrift Nigel ,, and Urry John , 145167. Thousand Oaks, ca: sage Publications.
78. Mihelj Sabina . 2011. “ "Negotiating Cold War Culture at the Crossroads of East and West: Uplifting the Working People, Entertaining the Masses, Cultivating the Nation".” Comparative Studies in Society and History Vol 53, no. 3: 509539.
79. Milchev Georgi [Георги Милчев] . 1979. Отличията задължават[The distinctions oblige]. Sofia: Profizdat.
80. “Our Childhood.” Нашето Детство [in Bulgarian]. Accessed 3 March 2011. .
81. Pavuk Olga [Ольга Павук] . 2006. “ "Сначала было ‘Совтрансавто.’” [In the beginning was “Sovtransavto]"”. Латвийское авто[Latvian auto](14 December).
82. Péteri György . 2004. “ "Nylon Curtain – Transnational and Transsystemic Tendencies in the Cultural Life of State – Socialist Russia and East-Central Europe".” Slavonica Vol 10, no. 2: 113123.
83. Pritchard Annette ,, and Morgan Nigel . 2006. “ "Hotel Babylon? Exploring Hotels as Liminal Sites of Transgression and Transition".” Tourism Management Vol 27, no. 5: 762772.
84. “Quelle Winter 69/70s Catalog!!!.” 2011. Accessed 1 March 2011. .
85. Rinder Irwin D. 1958. “ "Strangers in the Land: Social Relations in the Status Gap".” Social Problems Vol 6, no. 3: 253260.
86. Sherman William H. , 2002. “ "Stirring and Searchings (1500–1720)".” In The Cambridge Companion to Travel Writing , edited by Peter Hulma ,and Youngs Tim , 1736. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
87. Spufford Margaret . 1994. “ "The Pedlar, the Historian and the Folklorist: Seventeenth Century Communications".” Folklore Vol 105: 1324.
88. Strashimirov K. [К. Страшимиров]. 1968. “ "В света на капитала: Мит и действителност"” [In the world of capital: Myth and reality]. Транспортен глас [Transport voice] (25 September), 36.
89. Strauss Anselm L. ,, and Corbin Juliet M. . 1998. Basics of Qualitative Research: Techniques and Procedures for Developing Grounded Theory . Thousand Oaks, ca: sage Publications.
90. Švab Alenka . 2002. “ "Consuming Western Image of Well-Being: Shopping Tourism in Socialist Slovenia".” Cultural Studies , Vol 16, no 1: 6379.
91. Szakolczai Árpád . 2000. Reflexive Historical Sociology . London: Routledge.
92. Thomassen Bjørn . 2012a. “ "Notes Towards an Anthropology of Political Revolutions".” Comparative Studies in Society and History Vol 54, no. 3: 679706.
93. ——. 2012b. “ "Revisiting Liminality: The Danger of Empty Spaces".” In Liminal Landscapes: Travel, Experience and Spaces In-Between , edited by Andrews Hazel ,and Roberts Les , 2135. Oxon: Routledge.
94. Torpey John . 1997. “ "Revolutions and Freedom of Movement: An Analysis of Passport Controls in the French, Russian, and Chinese Revolution".” Theory and Society Vol 26, no. 6: 837868.
95. ——. 2000. The Invention of the Passport: Surveillance, Citizenship and the State . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
96. Turner Victor . 1974. “ "Liminal to Liminoid, in Play, Flow, and Ritual: An Essay in Comparative Symbology".” The Rice University Studies Vol 60, no. 3(July ): 5392.
97. ——. 1991. The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure . Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press.
98. United Nations Economic Commission for Europe ( unece). n.d. Summary List of International uneceTransport Agreements and Conventions . Assessed 15 June 2013. .
99. Urry John ,. 2003. “ "The Sociology of Tourism".” In Classic Reviews in Tourism , edited by Cooper Chris , 921. Clevedon: Channel View Publications.
100. Vatchkov Daniel ,, and Ivanov Martin [Даниел Вачков и Мартин Иванов]. 2008. Българският външен дълг 1878– 1989: Банкрутът на комунистическата икономика[Bulgarian foreign debt, 1878–1989: The bankruptcy of communist economics]. Sofia: Институт за изследване на близкото минало/Institute for Studies of the Recent Past.
101. Vleuten, Erik van der, and Kaijser Arne ,. 2006. “ "Prologue and Introduction. Transnational Network and the Shaping of Contemporary Europe".” In Networking Europe: Transnational Infrastructures and the Shaping of Europe, 1850–2000 , edited by van der Vleuten Erik and Arne Kaijser, 122. Sagamore Beach, MA: Science History Publication.
102. Watters John K. ,, and Biernacki Patrick . 1989. “ "Targeted Sampling: Options for the Study of Hidden Populations".” Social Problems Vol 36, no. 4: 416430.
103. Yanev Kiril [Кирил Янев] . 1988. Мъжка участ[Male destiny]. Sofia: Profizdat.
104. Zankov Stefan [Стефан Цанков] , ed. 1989. Икономика и организация на транспортно-спедиторските дейности в международните връзки[The economics and organization of transport-spedition activities in international communication]. Sofia: n.p.

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    East Central Europe — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation