Consumer Citizenship in Post-Soviet Ukraine
For the past two years, developments in Ukraine have brought the country into the spotlight of international attention. Massive civil protests, the Russian annexation of Crimea, and an unfolding war in Eastern Ukraine have shaped a new historical reality of the country and marked its distinctiveness within the postsocialist landscape. In my research, I aim to capture these transformational processes through studying the practices of consumption. My goal is to analyze how political and economic shifts affect people’s everyday economies, challenge their identities and understanding of belonging. One of the central theoretical concepts I employ in this research is consumer citizenship, which allows me to explore how recently-emerged consumer practices mirror major political confrontations and shape new national identities among Ukrainians. From the boycott of Russian products to the renegotiation of national symbols in commodities, I argue that a new interpretation of the concept of citizenship is being shaped by middle-class Ukrainians.
Tania Bulakh is a PhD student in socio-cultural anthropology at Indiana University, Bloomington (USA) with minor in Russian and East European Studies. Her research interest are focused geographically on Eastern Europe and thematically on postsocialist transformations, anthropology of state and citizenship, gender identities, consumerism as an instrument for ideological declarations, as well as recent trends in contemporary Ukraine’s material culture. She is also interested in video anthropology and is one of the directors of In Light Film Festival that features human rights documentaries. Tania earned her MA in Anthropology from Indiana University as a Fulbright Scholar in 2013. Prior to this she graduated from the National University of “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy” (Kyiv, Ukraine), where she obtained BA and MA degrees in Theory of Literature and Comparative Studies. She also worked as a senior project manager for an international PR agency and as a journalist for several Ukrainian publications.