Doctoral Fellow

Doctoral Fellow Denys GorbachDenys Gorbach

Discipline: Political Science

Explaining Populism in Post-Soviet Ukraine

The research project seeks to ethnographically explore populism as the dominant framework for political claiming and political participation in today's Ukraine. Using the lenses of social movements literature and politico-economic anthropology, relying on the existing research on political economy of reforms and transition, it will critically analyse the specific conditions structuring the public sphere in the way conducive to framing politics as the eternal struggle of "the people" against alien elements. Methodologically, the project will be situated in the realm of reflexive social science and rely on a qualitative toolkit. Concentrating on three research sites – a suburb of Kyiv; an industrial city in the East; and a mid-size town in the West of Ukraine – I will conduct a series of interviews and use the method of participant observation over the span of three years. The data thus obtained will be put into dialogue with wider politico-economic context. According to the initial hypothesis, populism is a defining element of the Ukrainian politico-economic landscape, structured by post-Soviet path dependencies and the critical junctures of the last two decades. The project aims to contribute to the academic explanation of “new populism” in the post-Soviet region and its role in the development of particular economic models.

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