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Title:Language and the politics of ethnicity: The case of Ukraine
Author(s):Arel, Dominique
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Kanet, Roger E.
Department / Program:Political Science
Discipline:Political Science
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Language, Modern
Political Science, General
Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies
Abstract:The dissertation focuses on language revival movements and their crucial role in shaping ethnic politics. Such movements have swept through the former Soviet borderlands since the inception of glasnost', and remarkably enough, attesting to the centrality of the language question, the first revendication of every single republic in 1988-1989 was to enhance the status of the language of its titular nationality by legislative means. Ukraine was selected as a case study because of a national identity made complex of by an unusually high degree of linguistic Russian assimilation, and because of its geopolitical importance.
The dissertation is divided into two main parts: (1) In the chapters dealing with the marginalization of the Ukrainian language under Soviet rule, we document in great depth the regional, ethnic, and linguistic cleavages that characterize the Ukrainian political landscape, and analyze the factors that have led to a large-scale linguistic Russification of Ukrainians, as well as the startling decline of Ukrainian schools in urban areas, especially in Ukraine's heavily industrialized Eastern and Southern regions. (2) In the chapters on the relative success of the language revival movement, we analyze the main issues at stake in the extensive debate over the use of language in public domains (a debate which arose simultaneously in Ukraine and in the other former Soviet republics in the glasnost years), while focusing on the prevalence of symbols, and the quest for status on the part of the groups involved. We then conduct a policy analysis of the making of the Ukrainian Language Law, also from an inter-republican perspective, and attempt to test whether language differences among Ukrainians influence political behavior, by correlating census data on language retention with electoral and referenda results, as well as roll-call votes with the spoken language and nationality of deputies in the Ukrainian parliament.
The dissertation is based entirely on unpublished sources, gathered during several research trips to Kiev and Moscow.
Issue Date:1993
Rights Information:Copyright 1993 Arel, Dominique
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9411556
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9411556

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