31 / 2010
Jernej Mlekuž

Burekmeanings of Burekgiving to Nonburekpeople

There are two economic-anthropological burekenvironments in Slovenia today: the burekmarket, on which burekgoods are bought and sold, and a burekenvironment which eschews the market. The latter is dominated by the homemade burek, most often in immigrant families, where it is also a frequent subject of expressions of hospitality and gift-giving, occasionally even outside the ethnic group. This “burekgiving to nonburekpeople” also poses some new questions with regard to the understanding of burekmeanings. Burekgiving to nonburekpeople reproduces relations between the two ethnic groups included in the exchange. In these reproductions of the fundamental ethnic relations in Slovenian society the central role is played by the object which is included in the exchange, or more precisely its meanings. Such an understanding of burekmeanings emphasizes their constitutive (active) role, i.e. emphasizes not how people create (burek)meanings, but how (burek)meanings create people.
KEY WORDS: burek, material culture, meanings, gift / commodity, giving, immigrants, Slovenia