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Ukraine after the Euromaidan

Challenges and Hopes

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Edited By Viktor Stepanenko and Yaroslav Pylynskyi

Ukraine’s protest movement of 2013–14, known as the Euromaidan, and its culmination, the people’s uprising in late 2013–early 2014 became one of the most dramatic world events in recent years. The accession of Crimea to the Russian Federation and military conflict in the Donbas demonstrate that the dramatic dynamics of the country’s ongoing transformation are still far from predictable. This book examines the manifold aspects of Ukraine’s current crisis and its political upheaval. The contributors to the book, Ukrainian experts in a variety of disciplinary fields, explore social, political and cultural reasons and factors behind the country’s transformation in its national and regional dimensions, the impact of Ukraine’s revolution on European and global politics, and also the new challenges of tough reforms with which the country is faced. The contributors share the view that the Euromaidan brought new opportunities for Ukraine’s modern development and the greatest historical chance for the country’s European future since independence in 1991.
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Consequences of the Maidan: War of Symbols, Real War and Nation Building

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In this paper I examine the Maidan and its consequences as a conflict and the process of social construction in the symbolic sphere. I will also try to interpret the Maidan and subsequent events as the historical trigger for Ukraine’s complex nation building, a process which is still underway.

Ukraine has ended the era of the “symbolic vacuum,” which lasted for more than twenty years. Its main feature was the absence of a single matrix of meta-meanings recognized by the majority of society with which individuals could understand and interpret all social processes and phenomena. Such a matrix provides both psychological comfort to its individuals as carriers and stability for the whole social system. Since 1991, when the Independence of Ukraine was proclaimed, Ukrainian society never experienced the domination of one of these meta-meanings matrices. We will call this matrix a “symbolic universe,” using the term of Thomas Luckmann and Peter Berger.1 However, our definition of this term extends the original definition proposed by these two scholars. The “Soviet” symbolic universe has lost its dominance and exclusive status. Nevertheless, the new symbolic universe did not show sufficient consistency and integrity of its meaning-value matrix and thus could not take the dominant position. Except for fundamental changes in the domain of economic relations, in the last twenty years some kind of parity took place between these two symbolic universes that allowed them to co-exist in different areas of influence in different parts of the country. This could...

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