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Nadzeya Husakouskaya

The article studies the emergence of the transgender phenomenon within LGB activism in contemporary Ukraine in relation to an ongoing geopolitical process of Europeanisation, which involves negotiations over the country’s belonging to Europe. The article is based on PhD research (2013–2018) and has borrowed from governmentality studies and also from literature about the Europeanisation process. It pays particular attention to the instrumentalisation of sexual diversity and the transfer of ideas from Western to Eastern Europe. Using data from field research, the article brings to light the discrepancies between the globalised frameworks for LGBT activism and localised meanings and practices.

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Olesya Khromeychuk

Much historiography focusing on women in the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army consists of describing, rediscovering, and celebrating the participation of women in the nationalist underground. This article rejects the celebratory approach to the inclusion of women in the narrative of the nationalist struggle. Instead, it focuses on the ways in which militarization of women was carried out by the nationalists from the 1930s to the 1950s. The article argues that the nationalist leadership was able to militarize a large number of women because no viable alternative to the nationalist state-building project was offered at the time, and because the nationalists propagated a conservative type of femininity that did not threaten traditional gender norms. By exploring the movement’s construction, control, and use of femininity, the article argues that deviations from traditional gender roles occurred only within the limits of, and for the benefit of, nationalist militarization.

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The many faces of Turkish Odessa

Ecumenical communities and multiple alliances across the Black Sea

Vera Skvirskaja

The article discusses regional territoriality by looking at the heterogeneous community of Turkish male migrants and the multiple alliances they establish in post-Soviet Odessa, Ukraine. In its public image, the city plays down ideas of urban continuities with the Ottoman past, but new relations between Turkish newcomers and various Turkic-speaking groups in the area both create different and overlapping “ecumenical communities” and actualize long-forgotten connections or marginal historical visions. These migrants also generate important links to the area through marriage and intimate relations with Slav women. I argue that alliances between Turkish migrants and Turkic-speaking minorities and local women not only allow them to make the city their own, but also create a distance from wider Odessan society.

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Four Dimensions of Societal Transformation

An Introduction to the Problematique of Ukraine

Zuzana Novakova

Four years after the Revolution of Dignity, the Ukrainian society is passing through multiple parallel transitions. More often than not, the problematique of Ukraine is framed as a discussion of the speed and extent of reforms’ adoption. This article highlights the need to look in a more organic, interrelated manner, with attention to the sociospatial context that embeds all of the potential institutional change targeted by reforms. Using interviews and group discussions with public servants and civil society actors actively involved in the ongoing reform processes, this article zooms out from the rather fragmented reforms discussion to embed it in a broader societal context. It highlights crucial developments in the four quadrants of the social quality debate: the socioeconomic, the sociopolitical, the sociocultural/welfare, and the socioenvironmental dimension of societal life in postrevolution Ukraine.

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Valeriy Heyets

Nearly 30 years of transformation of the sociopolitical and legal, socioeconomical and financial, sociocultural and welfare, and socioenvironmental dimensions in both Central and Eastern Europe, including Ukraine, has led to a change of the social quality of daily circumstances. On the one hand, the interconnection and reciprocity of these four relevant dimensions of societal life is the underlying cause of such changes, and on the other, the state as main actor of the sociopolitical and legal dimension is the initiator of those changes. Applying the social quality approach, I will reflect in this article on the consequences of these changes, especially in Ukraine. In comparison, the dominant Western interpretation of the “welfare state” will also be discussed.

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The Ultimate Argument

Evoking the Affective Powers of ‘Happiness’ in Commercial Surrogacy

Veronika Siegl

This article explores how the notion of happiness is employed in order to obscure the moral ambiguity and intimate uncertainties of commercial surrogacy. My ethnographic data elucidate the ways in which surrogacy agents and other intermediaries operating in Russia and Ukraine evoke happiness. I discuss three forms of their affective labour: a discourse of fear and hope, the attempt to make surrogacy a joyous and happy process and the claim that there is a right to happiness. I contend that ‘happiness’ serves as the ultimate argument, an argument that has the affective power to override moral concerns and delegitimise critique.

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Narrating the Second World War

History Textbooks and Nation Building in Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine

Lina Klymenko

This article explores the theoretical understanding of the relation between school history textbooks and the state-led construction of national identity. It does this by conceptualizing a history textbook as an assembly of historical narratives that provide young readers with an opportunity to identify with the national community in which they live. By focusing on narrative techniques, including plot, concepts of time and space, and the categorization of characters as in- and out-groups, this article shows how narratives of the Second World War in Belarusian, Russian, and Ukrainian textbooks contribute to nation-building.

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War Memories and Online Encyclopedias

Framing 30 June 1941 in Wikipedia

Mykola Makhortykh

This article examines how digital media interact with collective memories and teaching practices by exploring a selection of Wikipedia articles that describe the capture of Lviv by the Germans on 30 June 1941. This event constitutes an important episode in the history of Ukraine and a complex case of violence that produced several controversies concerning the national historiographies of the Second World War in the post-Soviet region. Using a combination of qualitative and quantitative metrics, this article investigates how the event is represented in different language versions of Wikipedia and assesses what kind of memory is produced by each of them.

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Underground waterlines

Explaining political quiescence of Ukrainian labor unions

Denys Gorbach

In order to explore factors conditioning the political quietude of Ukrainian labor, this article analyzes ethnographic data collected at two large enterprises: the Kyiv Metro and the privatized electricity supplier Kyivenergo. Focusing on a recent labor conflict, I unpack various contexts condensed in it. I analyze the hegemonic configuration developed in the early 1990s, at the workplace and at the macro level, and follow its later erosion. Th is configuration has been based on labor hoarding, distribution of nonwage resources, and patronage networks, featuring the foreman as the nodal figure. On the macro scale, it relied on the mediation by unions, supported by resources accumulated during the Soviet era and the economic boom of the 2000s. The depletion of these resources has spelled the ongoing crisis of this configuration.

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Tetiana Shevchenko

This article deals with religious discourse in modern history school textbooks in Ukraine that cover early modern times in Ukrainian history. It analyzes the place of religious discourse within national discourse, the correlation between local Ukrainian religious and more general discourse, and the representation of the relationships between Christian churches. Further, it defines a methodological approach and assesses the accuracy of facts presented in textbooks as well as the interpretation of religious life, normative language, and denominational labeling. It demonstrates the discrepancy between the achievements of academic historiography and school history, including the isolated and exclusive nature of history discourse in Ukrainian schools today.