Gender across cultures: The immigration experience/Bulgarian immigrants in South Florida

Petia Dimitrova Knowles, Florida International University


During the last decade, the United States has witnessed a high increase in its immigration flow. Despite recent surge of interest in numerically small ethnic groups, data on Bulgarian immigrants in the United States is almost non-existent. This is the first comprehensive study on the Bulgarian ethnic group in the United States. This study examined the impact of immigration upon the negotiation of cultural prescriptions by Bulgarian immigrants in the United States. Several fundamental Bulgarian prescriptions for daily behavior, such as emphasis on stability rather than mobility, preference for collectivism instead of individualism, and wide use of social critique rather than social approval were tested on U.S. soil. Furthermore, the impact of gender upon cultural appropriation and retention was considered. The study made use of a comprehensive historical analysis of Bulgarian immigration to the United States, statistical descriptions of contemporary Bulgarian immigrants in the United States, and over a three-year long qualitative study of Bulgarian immigrants in South Florida. The results of the study indicated that the transferring of cultural prescriptions due to immigration did not occur unaffected by gender. Bulgarian and U.S. cultural models clashed, intermingled, and resisted each other in various ways depending on the immigrants' gender. At the same time, gender did not solely determine the validity of prescriptions for daily behavior, but it rather acted in concert with other principles of everyday life. In addition, gender impacted significantly the method, type, and structure of the immigration journey. Gender was a very significant variable in the determination of these features of the immigration process, but it did not account independently for historical variations. Other factors, such as larger contexts of reception and rejection also played an important role.

Subject Area

Minority & ethnic groups|Sociology|Cultural anthropology|Womens studies

Recommended Citation

Knowles, Petia Dimitrova, "Gender across cultures: The immigration experience/Bulgarian immigrants in South Florida" (2002). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3057594.