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Disability and Mobile Citizenship in Postsocialist Ukraine

Sarah D. Phillips

Publication Year: 2011

Sarah D. Phillips examines the struggles of disabled persons in Ukraine and the other former Soviet states to secure their rights during the tumultuous political, economic, and social reforms of the last two decades. Through participant observation and interviews with disabled Ukrainians across the social spectrum -- rights activists, politicians, students, workers, entrepreneurs, athletes, and others -- Phillips documents the creative strategies used by people on the margins of postsocialist societies to assert claims to "mobile citizenship." She draws on this rich ethnographic material to argue that public storytelling is a powerful means to expand notions of relatedness, kinship, and social responsibility, and which help shape a more tolerant and inclusive society.

Published by: Indiana University Press


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pp. ix

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pp. xi-xiii

It is a pleasure to be able to acknowledge the many colleagues, friends, and institutions that supported and contributed to my research and the making of this book. At the top of the list are all the research informants in Ukraine and Russia who generously shared with me their experiences and their time. Many of you welcomed me into your homes and your lives, ...

List of Abbreviations

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pp. xv-xvi


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pp. xviii

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Introduction: Living Disability and Mobilizing Citizenship

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pp. 1-12

On a warm spring day in 1999, eight friends in Kyiv, Ukraine, gathered at the home of a man named Dmitrii to drink tea and catch up on one another’s news.1 Dmitrii’s small two-room apartment barely accommodated everyone, but the close quarters and mild inconvenience were nothing new for this group. And anyway, the space was relatively uncluttered...

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1. A Parallel World

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pp. 13-42

Sasha Pavlov has only vague recollections of the accident that he says divided his life into pre- and post-trauma at the age of 16. Sasha’s mother, Zoia, an engineer and nature enthusiast, always sought ways for Sasha to escape the burdensome heat of Kyiv (Ukraine’s capital city of approximately 2.7 million) during the summer. This year—1991—she’d sent him ...

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2. Out of History

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pp. 43-96

The history of disability experience and state disability policy in the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union has been little researched, and in many respects disabled persons living under these regimes remain an “unknown population” (Poloziuk 2005b). Until very recently historical sources were largely unavailable to Western scholars, and in the Soviet Union questions...

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3. Disability Rights and Disability Wrongs

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pp. 97-138

I would say that the disability rights movement (invalidnyi rukh) began in the USSR under Gorbachev, in 1988 or ’89, when democratic processes were introduced and it became possible to form civic organizations. . . . And here in Ukraine, the movement likewise started in L’viv in 1989. The disability rights movement originated from athletics. . . .

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4. Regeneration

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pp. 139-169

On August 11, 2006, several dozen new billboards went up in Kyiv. The billboards were concentrated in those city districts considered most impoverished and least developed—districts such as Troeshchyna, a “down-at-the-heels late Soviet moonscape” (Ruble 2003:139) known for its run-down, massive apartment complexes, burgeoning migrant communi-...

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5. Disability, Gender, and Sexuality in the Era of “Posts”

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pp. 170-230

May 9, 2005. Kyiv, Ukraine. Today was Victory Day, marking the sixtieth anniversary of the victory of the Soviet Union over Nazi Germany in World War II. My friend Dmitrii invited me to watch the Victory Day parade with him and the members of Mandry, his club for disabled adolescents. I saw Dmitrii already waiting for me when I emerged from the subway station into a light drizzling rain...

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pp. 231-248

Summer 1998. Pasha was 19 years old and preparing to enter the Polytechnical Institute to study electrical engineering. While helping a relative move some items from a hayloft, Pasha lost his footing and fell to the ground. The fall was not that high, but he happened to land hard on his back, on a piece of broken brick, resulting in an incomplete compression...

Notes on Terminology and Methods

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pp. 249-255


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pp. 257-264


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pp. 265-281


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pp. 283-298

E-ISBN-13: 9780253004864
E-ISBN-10: 0253004861
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253355393

Page Count: 318
Illustrations: 11 b&w illus., 1 map
Publication Year: 2011