Ideologies of the Self: Constructing the Modern Ukrainian Subject in the Other’s Modernity

Roman Horbyk

Abstract


Postcolonial theory has recently come under critique as an interpretative scheme applied to Eastern Europe and particularly Ukraine. However, a closer look suggests that the critique applies only to some aspects of the approach, such as a focus on power relations and representations, while the key question should be rephrased as whether the Ukrainian subject was constituted as a colonial subject. A range of empirical material from 1920s Ukrainian discourses, both Soviet and émigré, is analyzed to shed light on how Ukrainians constructed their subjectivity as “a site of disorder” (Dipesh Chakrabarty), splitting themselves into uncultured peasant masses to be modernized and erased as a voiceless subaltern subject, on the one hand, and modernizing elites, on the other. This split can be understood as an epitome of the colonial condition.

Keywords


Ideology; subjectivity; modernity; Ukraine; Interbellum

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.18523/kmhj73970.2016-3.89-103

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