Regionalism without Regions

Reconceptualizing Ukraine’s Heterogeneity
$111.00 / €95.00 / £90.00
Publication date: 
478 pages

This collective volume shows how Ukraine can best be understood through its regions and how the regions must be considered against the background of the nation. The aim of the book is to challenge the dominance of the nation-state paradigm in the analyses of Ukraine by illustrating the interrelationship between national and regional dynamics of change.

The authors—historians, sociologists, anthropologists, economists, literary critics and linguists from Ukraine, Poland, Switzerland, Germany and the USA—go beyond the perspective of an entity defined by traditional political borders and cultural, economic, historical or religious stereotypes. The research project that led to the composition of the book combined quantitative (statistical surveys conducted across Ukraine) and qualitative (in-depth interviews and focus-group discussion) methods. The authors came to the conclusion that regionalism as a defining phenomenon of Ukraine is more prominent than the regions themselves. This approach regards Ukraine as a construct in flux where different discourses intersect, concur and eventually merge through the lenses of various disciplines and methodologies.

Note on Transliteration
1. Introduction
Oksana Myshlovska, Ulrich Schmid and Tatjana Hofmann
2. The Regional Differentiation of Identities in Ukraine: How Many Regions?
Maria Lewicka and Bartłomiej Iwańczak
3. The Ukrainian Past and Present: Legacies, Memory and Attitudes
André Liebich, Oksana Myshlovska, Viktoriia Sereda, with Oleksandra Gaidai and Iryna Sklokina
4. Language(s) in the Ukrainian Regions: Historical Roots and the Current Situation
Juliane Besters-Dilger, Kateryna Karunyk and Serhii Vakulenko
5. Literary Mediascapes in Ukraine
Tatjana Hofmann, Anna Chebotarova, Alexander Kratochvil and Ulrich Schmid
6. Religion and the Cultural Geography of Ukraine
Catherine Wanner and Viktor Yelensky
7. Recent Regional Economic Development in Ukraine: Does History Help to Explain the Differences?
Yaroslav Prytula, Natalia Pohorila, Svitlana Tyahlo, Elena Denisova-Schmidt and Martin Huber
8. Ukraine in 2013–2014: A New Political Geography
Yaroslav Hrytsak
9. Renegotiating "Ukrainian Identity" at the Euromaidan
Anna Chebotarova
10. Conclusion
Oksana Myshlovska


"All studies in the volume combine in-depth analysis and precise language with a broad, synthetic approach. They bring survey results of unquestionable value into the academic conversation. Another strong point is bibliographical comprehensiveness. Unlike many publications on such themes, the volume includes not only chapters by Western academics or the Ukrainian scholars best known in the West; researchers from academic centres across Ukraine are also represented. Yaroslav Hrytsak writes in this volume that 'the more is known about regionalism, the more pertinent and sophisticated are the questions that have to be formulated.' The reviewed book is good proof of this guideline."
"The authors have woven a very interesting stand-alone narrative that demonstrates the complexities of Ukraine’s historical development. Readers will need to decide for themselves whether cross-regional differences (and nuances) actually tell us something that we really need to know in order to better understand the challenges to Ukraine’s nation-building project—the importance of which cannot be underestimated and is not in dispute—and whether these sub-macroregional differences are in fact more important than the broader regional divide that separates the ‘Two Ukraines’, each with their easily discernible and contrasting ideological visions for Ukraine’s future."
"The desire to affirm Ukraine’s national unity might be highly commendable but the recurrent attempts to dismiss the significance of multiple cleavages and contradictions can hardly be analytically productive. It leads ultimately to the conclusion that 'regionalism as a defining phenomenon of Ukraine is more prominent than the regions themselves'—a compelling formula for the book’s title but not a very comprehensive explanation of what 'regions' and 'regionalism' in Ukraine are all about."
"The book is far more than a collection of thematic contributions; it is united by a single research design and based on the results of the international collaborative project Region, Nation and Beyond, hosted by the University of St. Gallen. The main findings of the research project (probably one of the last ones that include Crimea and Donbas) sheds light on Ukrainian society on the eve of the Euromaidan and thus helps to relativize the deterministic discourse of Ukraine as a regionally-divided country deemed to be disintegrating. The picture of Ukrainian society thus appears as much more complex, with regional patterns being complemented by generational, socio-economic, and gender differences. Last but not least, the book is generously illustrated with highly instructive tables, diagrams, and maps."