“WE ASKED FOR WORKERS. WE GOT BUREKS INSTEAD”

in Ethnologia Europaea
Author:
Jernej Mlekuž Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts mlekuz@zrc-sazu.si

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The dish burek was brought to Slovenia by people from the other republics of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) in the 1960s. It is now the handiest and most frequently used signifier in Slovenian popular culture, media, vernacular language etc. for immigrants from the former republics of the SFRY, the Balkans, the SFRY itself and the phenomena associated with it. This paper addresses why and how this semantic hyperinflation occurred to precisely this fast food. The burek is a product of Slovenian nationalism par excellence and cannot be understood without taking into consideration the material conditions of the object. The paper shows that the burek plays a significant role in the formation and reproduction of identities.

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