Formation of the Ukrainian Identity: Civic, Ethnic or Post-Colonial?

Zhyrun I.V.


This paper provides an overview of articles published in foreign journals in the English language that research the construction of Ukrainian national identity. The articles included in the review belong to three groups, according to their theoretical approaches 1) those oriented towards the definition of civic / ethnic dichotomy, 2) those analysing multiple narratives of identity 3) those analysing Ukrainian national identity as postcolonial. Additionally, I analyse examples of works that offer alternative methodological approaches to research Ukrainian national identity. These include the «banal nationalism» approach and a number of sociological approaches. The researchers of Ukrainian identity focus mainly on the study of the ethnic, linguistic, and regional cleavages. Some findings demonstrate how language politics and education play a central role in the socialisation of national identity in Ukraine. In recent years, the concepts of «hybridity» and «postcolonialism » have been increasingly applied to the Ukrainian identity and society. In future research, more attention should be paid to the role of language in forming social links, the role of ethnic minorities in national identity construction, and other factors that influence national identity, for instance, economic ones. The terms or «hybridity» and «postcolonialism » require further conceptualisation and analysis within the Ukrainian case. The transformation of the Ukrainian society after 2014 opens new possibilities for research within the framework of «banal nationalism». In this regard, there should be more engagement with scientific literature published in Ukrainian.


national identity; language policy; history politics; hybrid identity; оther; post-colonialism; Ukraine.

DOI: 10.31249/rsm/2021.03.09

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