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Author: Marin Devedjiev


How is it possible to discern trends in modern geography, or (social) economic geography, or geo-demography, terms which bulgarian Prof. Marin Devedjiev uses intermittently in his book. Since this is review article, one should consult previously written material in Penkov, I and Hristov, T; Razboynikov, S and Razboynikov, A; and some other titles from the booklist on geography topics. But the kernel here is continuity of narrative which should be achieved later in a combinatory effort and longer format.

The issue right at hand is double-fold and rather not apparent from the semi-instructive article on french historian and structuralist Fernand Braudel. Thematically Marin Devedjiev uses many points from Braudel's mega-theory on Capitalism, although from bulgarian side his presentation is meager and poorly retranslated with illicit charts and schemes. Whatever, the importance of the author is elsewhere while trying to present a methodological canvas for the struggling bulgarian science in the 1980s and the already blowing wind of "perestroyka". So, Marin Devedjiev was one of the last mercenary of Marxist-Leninist recruits that found their theoretical impetus from the vanishing Socialist Revolution in the East.

What are the roots of these developmental collapse and its special references to political geography or "geopolitik". Here we have to delve more deeply in the history of geography in this country and the Balkanization syndrome that has evolved in the region right after the dissolving of the Ottoman Empire and into the XX century. There are many names involved in the story and much literature consulted to give a full and coherent account. Strictly speaking on an imperialist scale, though Bulgaria hardly achieved a degree of industrialization comparable to the definition of the term "imperialism", we think out that the country has excelled as satellite of Germany in the first half and such one to the Soviet Union in the second half of the XX century. It achieved comparable GNP /i.e., Gross National Product/ to the mothering country and its lend-lease programs were cooperatively consumed for the time periods. Moreover, from standpoint of physical geography, this has been the only opportunity for an ethnical solution of Bulgaria as a statehood and an internationally accepted country.

Marin Devedjiev has tried to explain this in both modern and retrospective excurse. His explanations derive from two main sources: 1) From the literature of capitalist Bulgaria in the period between the two World Wars. Here his attempts are rather lax, since this branch of geography was severely mutilated from the communist censors and whatever literature used from the author comes from secondary sources. Names worth mentioning in geography science in the period are Ignat Penkov, Atanas Beshkov, Tianko Yordanov and some others, all members of the former "Bulgarischen Geographischen Gesellschaft" of the pre-war Bulgarian state. These three individuals persisted in the reference literature of the subject although their writings were harshly cut-off from editorship; 2) The second pool of sources were a multitude of russian and soviet authors that wrote originally in Russian language and/or translated from foreign literature. Worth mentioning are N. Baranski on economic geography (1934), L. Berg on historical geography (1929), A. Hettner on principles and methods of geography (1930, translated from German), and others. These soviet works prevailed in bulgarian libraries and exempted any other expert opinion.

This chapter should finish with overall estimation on Devedjiev's work. It is not overwhelming to say that in the modern bulgarian geographic science this author gives a slight leading ray and anyway we are not aware of other good monograph on the subject either in bulgarian or some foreign language. Books from Marin Devedjiev included in our booklist are also "History of territorial dwellings on Bulgarian lands" (1979) and "Geography of social service economy" (1984), ditto.


Picture 1: Sample illustration on the text above.

(i). Illicit mapping of anthropological types in Bulgaria. Firstly cast-out by Metodi Popov, then reanalyzed by A. Totev, herewith M. Devedjiev presents a poorly drawn scheme of the original 10 000 population sample. Legend (clockwise): 1. pontic type; 2. altaic type; 3. mediterranean type; and 4. nordic type.



Copyright 2009 by the author.