Armyanskii ln., 4-2, Moscow, 101000, Russia


Oleg Zhuravlev

From Presence to Belonging: Eventful Identity of Euromaidan

2015. Vol. 12. No. 3. P. 69–85 [issue contents]

Mass protest events may often lead to various societal transformations, including structural changes and emergence of new identities, subjectivities and social relations. The concept of “eventful protests” suggests that the sheer act of mobilization may create and empower a new collective identity. At the same time, in many cases such mass events lead to the intensifying of pre-existing political stereotypes and social cleavages and thus fail to be truly transformative. We assumed that the Ukranian mass protest event of November 2013-February 2014 dubbed “Euromaidan” consecutively first weakened and then enforced the ethno-cultural and political split between Western and Eastern Ukranian citizens. To test the hypothesis narrative analysis was implemented. 144 semi-structured interviews were analyzed to establish the narrative perception of Euromaidan participants. The results indicate that while “Euromaidan” initially succeeded at creating a new civic identity that united the protesters, this identity failed to spread beyond the event. Narrative analysis shows that the same rhetoric and framing that represented the initial push for civic unity and inclusivity, when intensified, transformed into a tool of promoting exclusivity, dehumanization and harmful stereotypes. They also suggest that the same structural elements that contribute to the occurrence of mass political protest (authoritarian rule, stereotype-filled discourse, lack of representation) also limits the transformative capabilities of such events.

Citation: Zhuravlev, O. M. (2015). From Presence to Belonging: Eventful Identity of Euromaidan. Psychology. Journal of Higher School of Economics, 12(3), 69-85
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