Region, Nation and Beyond. An Interdisciplinary and Transcultural Reconceptualization of Ukraine2012 - 2015

The Region, Nation, and Beyond project, which lasted from 2012 till 2015, involved collaboration of dozens of scholars based in Ukraine, Poland, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Canada and the US specialized in a variety of social sciences and humanities disciplines such as religion, political science, economics, sociology, psychology, anthropology, linguistics, literature and history. The overarching objective of the project was to challenge the dominance of the nation-state paradigm in analyses of Ukraine and stereotypical representation of “East-West” regional divide by exploring the complexity of legacies, belongings and attitudes. The project consisted of six working groups focused on:

  • Identities and identifications (Viktoria Sereda, Maria Lewicka, Anna Chebotarova)
  • History and memory (Georgiy Kasianov, Yaroslav Hrytsak, Vikroria Sereda, Iryna Sklokina, Andre Liebich, Oksana Myshlovska, Oleksandra Gaidai)
  • Language (Julianne Besters-Dilger, Serhii Vakulenko, Kateryna Karunyk)
  • Literature (Tatiana Hoffman, Kateryna Tyahlo, Alexander Kratochvil, Alois Woldan)
  • Religion (Catherine Wanner, Viktor Yelenskyi)
  • Economy (Yaroslav Prytula, Elena Denisova-Schmidt, Natalia Pohorila, Martin Huber, Svitlana Tyahlo)

The result is a unique interdisciplinary analysis of regional dynamics in Ukraine positioned within broader patterns of global development. Qualitative and quantitative database collected in frames of the project includes:

  • two representative statistical surveys (in 2013 and 2015, N=6000) that capture the complexity of Ukrainian society before and after the Euromaidan revolution,
  • 20 expert focus-gourp discussions on language, historical and minority policy
  • more than 600 in-depth interviews with both experts and ordinary citizens of Ukraine (focused on historical memory and identities, religion, economy and literature)

Project field work collection was managed by the Center for Urban History in Lviv (coordinator - dr. Viktoria Sereda). Project-collaborators came up with significant findings for the conceptualization of Ukrainian regionalism beyond administrative territories. One line of interpretation is the presence of “regionalism without regions”: There are distinct regional differences in the set of values and identifications throughout Ukraine, but with notable exceptions, for example Galicia, it is difficult to speak about clear cut homogeneous regions. However, as the very recent history illustrates, it is possible to tamper with certain predispositions in Ukrainian regions in order to destabilize the Ukrainian state. The results of all subprojects were synthesized into an interdisciplinary analysis and will be published in 2017 in a collective volume Regionalism without Regions: Reconceptualizing Ukraine’s Heterogeneity. The project was financially supported by Swiss National Science Foundation and Wolodymyr George Danyliw Foundation.