Danubius International Conferences, 5th International Conference The Danube - Axis of European Identity

The Danube Identity of Bulgaria – A Crossroad between the Prescribed and the Manifested Identities in the National Image

Nataliya Venelinova
Last modified: 2015-05-22


Objectives: The paper is based on the collective identity theory and its application in research on national images and especially the structural components and their interaction within the image system. The overall objective of the paper is to present a case of integration of two national identities in order to prove that the flexibility and the adaptability of the national image are due to the dynamic changes of the nationally acquired and perceived identities without regard to what extent there are experienced and/or manifested.

Prior Work: The paper presents the process of establishment of the Danube identity of Bulgaria and its development between 2010 and 2014 with special focus on the relationship “image-identity” and in particular the role and the different type of identities as a tool for shaping and developing national image of Bulgaria. The prior work represents a documentary study of the establishment of the Danube identity of Bulgaria and its interaction with the other exerted in the same time national identities as the Balkan and the European.  The framework of the paper is set by the image theory and communication process in public relations.

Approach: In order to be achieved reliable inferences, for the purpose of the paper, three analytical methods are combined – comparative analysis, diachronic analysis and case study research.

Results: The results shows that the Danube identity of Bulgaria is still low recognizable and mostly prescribed due to the political decision but not enough experienced despite all geographical conditions. On the other hand its clearly demonstrated the mechanism of interaction and co-existence of national identities as piece of the macro image system of Bulgaria.

Implications: The key inference of the paper is that the changes in the different types of national identities are the driving force to change the national image in relatively short term.

Value: Illustrating the relationship between the different identities in the structure of the e national image is one of the most effective tools for its transformation