The analysis starts from a key question: how many transformations did post-communism, which came as a promise and project for one transformation, actually carry out? This article is a conceptual, not an event narrative about the transformations of democratization. Its theoretical ambition is threefold. The first aim is to develop a new analytical model for the study of transformations based on the concept of ‘symbolic-ideological hegemony’ and a matrix of two pairs of indicators. The first pair reflects the intentionality of the change and examines the (non-)existence of an explicitly formulated political project as well as its (self-)designation by elites and citizens. The second pair of indicators concerns agency and covers the supply side and the demand side, the perspective and role of elites, on the one hand, and on the other hand, the perspective and role of citizens. The other ambitions of the study are to identify the key transformations in Bulgaria’s three-decade-long post-communist development – a democratic, a (national) populist, and a post-democratic one, and to analyze them in a comparative perspective.
The political representation of minority groups in Bulgaria is analyzed from three perspectives. The first relates to political socialization: the mechanisms of minority political preference, and their materialization into political behavior, mostly during elections or through party membership. The second relates to political actors' conduct towards minorities: their attitudes toward minority identities and the significance of minority representation in their practice. The third perspective relates to the institutional framework that politically regulates minority status. This third perspective raises questions of minimum representation, and the legal formalization of minority political parties. Bulgarian ethnic politics is analyzed regarding both the ethnic factors in constructing the political scene and the political factors in structuring the ethnic model. The present article questions the applicability of the distinction between the 'politics of ideas' and the 'politics of identities' to Southeastern Europe in general, and to Bulgaria in particular. This theoretical question is addressed through two empirical comparative analyses: the similarities and divergences of the minority management model in the Bulgarian Constitution and the one applied in the political practice, and the differences between minority representation in Bulgaria and in neighboring countries such as Romania.