1st Edition

Migration and Populism in Bulgaria

By Ildiko Otova, Evelina Staykova Copyright 2022
    144 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Focusing on Bulgaria, this book addresses the key issues of migration and populism, which have grown to become dominant topics of debate within Europe and across the world over the last decade.

    Ildiko Otova and Evelina Staykova trace the history of migration and populist discourses within Bulgaria from 1989 until the present day. The authors analyse how a lack of clear and coherent migration policies on migration over the years left Bulgaria unprepared for the 2015 European migrant crisis, thus leaving the door open for populist ideology to help shape public perceptions and narratives of migration as a menace and burden to society. Far from being confined to the extreme fringes of the political spectrum, Otova and Staykova reveal how populism has increasingly been co-opted by mainstream parties. This shift to the middle ground has led to what they claim to be a ‘normalisation’ in populist rhetoric, giving legitimacy to attitudes towards migration as a threat to society, which they argue, in turn, renders constructive policymaking far more difficult.

    Adopting an interdisciplinary approach, this book is an important tool for postgraduate students and researchers of Political Sciences, Migration Studies, European Studies and European History, as well as practitioners working in the field of international migration and asylum.


    1. (Re)Discovering Migration – The Post-1989 Migration Profile of Bulgaria
    2. Post-1989 Migration Policy in Bulgaria on Paper and in Practice
    3. Refugees in Bulgaria After 1989: Statistical Reality and Institutionalization of the Phenomenon
    4. Located on the Balkan Refugee Route Amid Rampant Dominating Populism – When Politics Kills Policies
    5. When Policies are Absent, Is Solidarity Present?




    Ildiko Otova is a Guest Lecturer in European Migration Policies at Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski, Bulgaria.

    Eveline Staykova is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Sciences at New Bulgarian University in Sofia, Bulgaria.