Nadezhda Ilieva

Internal spatial segregation factors are mainly related to voluntary spatial segregation, also called auto-segregation, as they determine voluntary decisions to concentrate in one neighbourhood a group of people with common features in ethnic and/or social affiliation and shared interests, worldview, beliefs, norms, values, similar expectations and lifestyles. In the present study, the essence of the internal factors that influence the processes of spatial segregation has been clarified. An analysis was made, on the example of Harman neighbourhood, Plovdiv, of the influence of psychological, ethno-cultural factors, formed stereotypes, prejudices, social and spatial distances on the decision of the Roma ethnic group to separate itself in a given urban area. The period of transition is accompanied by the strengthening of negative prejudices and stereotypes, and the social and spatial distances on the part of the majority, the Bulgarians, are increasing. And vice versa, this distancing is also very clearly observed on the part of the Roma from the majority and is expressed in their preferences to live apart from it and to preserve their ethno-territorial community, which is manifested not only in terms of the residential environment, but also in other social spaces. After the withdrawal of the welfare state, the ghettoization of the Roma is increasingly intensified, as they themselves seek solutions to their daily household problems and thus become less and less dependent on the state and do not rely on it. Through the quantitative research, it is confirmed that if before 1989 the Roma worked, studied and shared the same social spaces together with the Bulgarians, currently these ties are completely broken. The Roma in Harman Mahala are looking for and finding a way out by themselves in securing the income in the household, which, contrary to the generally accepted stereotypes about the Roma, is not provided by the state. In recent years, in connection with increased emigration, a larger proportion of households rely on financial support from relatives working abroad or income from informal trade. After returning from abroad, the Roma feel increasingly distant and independent from the state, the process of encapsulation intensifies and the construction of invisible walls between the Roma and the surrounding population becomes higher and higher. An independent structure is created in which the role of internal social networks, loyalty to the place, internal rules, laws, norms is strengthened more and more, and all this is the result of their long coexistence. The strong influence of internal factors is also confirmed by the results of the high degree of satisfaction with the neighbourhood, the neighbours they live with, whether they would move and whether they would live elsewhere. Another proof of this is that regardless of an increase in the social status of the residents of the neighbourhood, which is accompanied by an improvement in their financial situation, they do not break the connection with the ghettoized structure. Ethnic relations and social support are strengthened by functioning strong social networks, long-term coexistence, a highly developed sense of belonging to the place, which have a significant impact on the territorial separation and concentration of the Roma population and on their desire to preserve their identity, traditions and culture. The high subjective assessment given by the residents of the neighbourhood, which is closely related to the internal factors of spatial segregation, is also a result of the sense of security felt by the residents of the Roma quarter – something that ethnic groups constantly seek. A very strong role in the formation of the ethno-territorial community and the distancing of the state was played by the Muslim religion professed by its members and the Turkish mother tongue. These ethnic characteristics lead to the formation of the thought of alienation of the Turkish Roma (who are more than 90% of the population of Harman Mahala) not only from the majority, but also from the other Roma groups. There is a process of searching for a new self-identification, of distinguishing an ethnic community related to the Turkish identity. All these processes give reason to draw a conclusion about the strong influence of the internal factors for spatial segregation of the Roma in the formation of the urban ghettoized structure in the city of Plovdiv.

spatial segregation, internal factors for spatial segregation, social and spatial distances, Roma ethnic group, Harman Mahala neighbourhood, city of Plovdiv

Problems of Geography, 2022, Vol.3-4, DOI: 10.35101/prg-2022.3-4.6

Author information:
Author: Nadezhda Ilieva
Affiliation: National Institute of Geophysics, Geodesy and Geography – BAS, department of Geography, str. Acad. G. Bonchev, bl. 3, Sofia 1113, Bulgaria

How to cite:
Ilieva, N. (2022). Вътрешни фактори за формиране на пространствената сегрегация (на примера на Харман махала, гр. Пловдив) . Problems of Geography, 2022, Vol.3-4, p. 79-112.