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Women's Social Activism in the New Ukraine

Development and the Politics of Differentiation

Sarah D. Phillips

Publication Year: 2008

In postsocialist Ukraine, with privatization and the scaling back of the social safety net, it is primarily women who have been left as leaders of service-oriented NGOs and mutual aid associations, caring for the marginalized and destitute with little or no support from the Ukrainian state. Sarah D. Phillips follows 11 activists over the course of several years to document the unexpected effects that social activism has produced for women: increasing social inequality and "differentiation" in the form of new cultural criteria for productive citizenship and new definitions of the rights and needs of various categories of citizens.

Published by: Indiana University Press

Series: New Anthropologies of Europe


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pp. vii

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pp. ix-xiii

Kyiv, Ukraine. January 1999. Svetlana and Vira, the director and assistant director of the charitable fund “Our House,” which provides assistance to large families (those with three or more children), are working late. They have been in the cramped, one-room office all day, handing out food baskets to the seventy member families. ...

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pp. xv-xvi

This book was made possible only through the support and assistance of many people and institutions. For their role in this project I am grateful first and foremost to those individuals in Ukraine who participated in my research, especially the eleven social activists whose stories shape this book. ...

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Note on Transliteration and Translation

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pp. xvii

Throughout this book I use the Library of Congress system of transliteration for Ukrainian and Russian. However, for purposes of simplification, I transcribe the Ukrainian letter “ï” as “yi” (an exception to this is the use of Ukraina in the text, not Ukrayina) and the Russian letter “ë” as “yo.” ...

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Note on the Purchasing Power of the Ukrainian Hryvnia (UAH)

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pp. xix

In January 1999, when I began the research described in this book, one U.S. dollar was equivalent to 3.43 UAH. In July 1999 the official exchange rate was $1 = 3.95 UAH, and in August it was $1 = 4.27 UAH. By the end of my fieldwork in December 1999, one dollar bought 5.02 UAH. ...

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Introduction: Women, NGOs, and the Politics of Differentiation

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pp. 1-29

May 13, 1999. Today I am hoping to interview women directors of two different community organizations about their work, and it is fortunate that their offices are not too far from each other. My first meeting is with Ivana— she has agreed to take a lunch break from her supervisory job at the Kyiv city vocational education administration office.1 ...

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1. All Aboard the “Titanic Ukraina”

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pp. 30-62

To understand the lives of women like Ivana, Svetlana, Vira, and Sofiia, we first need to become familiar with the settings in which they lived and worked. Kyiv is Ukraine’s capital city of around 2.6 million situated on both banks of the Dnipro River, Ukraine’s largest waterway. Kyiv is the political and commercial heart of Ukraine ...

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2. Ukrainian NGO-graphy

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pp. 63-106

When I step off the minibus taxi, Maryna is there waiting for me. She looks tired, and I am grateful that she found the time to meet with me. She had already called twice this morning to postpone the interview for a few hours, so I did not know whether I would see her. It is a crisp fall day in 1999, ...

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3. Claims and Class

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pp. 107-137

Vania is to pick up Svetlana, Vira, and me at the designated meeting place—the trolleybus stop nearest to Svetlana’s apartment. It’s 9:30 am. We stomp our feet on the frozen snow to ward off numbness and tug our coat collars tighter to stave off the icy wind and blowing snow. ...

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4. Movin’ On Up: Social Activism and Upward Mobility

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pp. 138-153

I can’t help but smile as I read Lidiia’s letter: “In 2003 Ivana went to work at the new publishing house Leleka—now she is director of the division for children’s books.”1 Leleka! Last Christmas a friend sent my young son some books published by Leleka, and they quickly became his favorites. ...

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Conclusion: Dyferentsiatsiia, Democracy, and Development

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pp. 154-166

I spent four months in Ukraine during 2005, and in late April I called Sofiia on the telephone. We had not spoken in some time, and there was a lot to catch up on. I asked Sofiia how she was feeling. She laughed, “Well, as I told my doctor last week, even though I’m nearly seventy, it’s hard for me to get used to the idea that I’m getting old.” ...


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pp. 167-180


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pp. 181-196


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pp. 197-206

Back cover

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p. 234-234

E-ISBN-13: 9780253000354
E-ISBN-10: 0253000351
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253351647

Page Count: 232
Illustrations: 14 b&w photos, 1 map
Publication Year: 2008

Series Title: New Anthropologies of Europe