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Wahlgeographie in der Ukraine: Die 'Ukrainische Teilung' im Spiegel des Wahlverhaltens. Fallstudie zu raumpolitischen Konzeptionen im Zuge der VI. ukrainischen Parlamentswahlen 2012 anhand einer Schlüsselgruppe ukrainischer Wähler

Hehn, Michael Alexander

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Download (16MB) | Lizenz: Creative Commons LizenzvertragWahlgeographie in der Ukraine: Die 'Ukrainische Teilung' im Spiegel des Wahlverhaltens. Fallstudie zu raumpolitischen Konzeptionen im Zuge der VI. ukrainischen Parlamentswahlen 2012 anhand einer Schlüsselgruppe ukrainischer Wähler by Hehn, Michael Alexander underlies the terms of Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0

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One of the main foci in scholar debate on Ukraine is the overarching question, how ‘divided’ this country is. However politically important this matter might be, serious research has usually been surprisingly shallow, and more often than not ignoring a geographical dimension connected to this political issue. This dissertation reads a ‘division of Ukraine’ as a ‘spatial-political conceptualization’. It is seen as a product of ‘strategic spatial-political discourses’ offered by potent political actors and their shared interpretation in the mind of the voter, thus facilitating shared imaginary geographies of Ukraine. The outcome is a performative reification of these discourses through voting. This perspective allows for an analysis regarding who has which geography of Ukraine in mind (meaning, what kind of underlying ‘spatial-political conceptualization’ is preferred), and furthermore, if there are structural differences in the regions of Ukraine regarding the prevalence of these concepts (meaning, do similar voters subscribe to similar interpretations all over Ukraine or is there an independent locality aspect?). A theoretical framework has been developed, drawing on Pierre Bourdieu’s ‘theory of practice’ and following Michael Vester’s thoughts: A relational ‘social space’ comprising several so-called ‘fields’ served hereby as the point of departure. One ‘field’ accommodated so-called ‘camps’ as vertically integrated (elite and commons), pillar-like segments in the event of an election. These ‘camps’ were based on a shared sense of order and sorting of the social. This field was found structured by certain cleavages; two have been identified for Ukraine 2012. Such a perspective allowed for inclusion of segments of societies regarding theoretically challenging polities in transition like Ukraine – and prevented a too narrow view focused exclusively on political actors. This has been combined with ideas brought forward by spatial sociologists, so that the above (virtual) ‘spatial-political conceptualizations’ of Ukraine appeared to be the spatial manifestation of shared principles of order and sorting of the social. Departing from this framework, the dissertation has been divided into three main parts: At first, preliminary studies have been conducted regarding the concrete structuring of the ‘field of camps’ in Ukraine around the time of the elections in question: As a result, three main camps have been identified. These were labeled the ‘government-camp’, the ‘democratic opposition-camp’ and the ‘nationalist-opposition-camp’. Secondly, however just for heuristic purposes, it has been analyzed that the most appropriate regionalization of Ukraine for the elections of 2012 would mean a peculiar, three region outlay based on a set of quantitative data like social structure and voting behavior. The synoptic use of these findings structured the selection of potential participants for the main part, which aimed at offering answers regarding above questions. For theoretical as well as practical reasons, the focus group chosen was a set of 45 graduate students from five Ukrainian ‘National Universities’, the highest echelon of tertiary education in Ukraine, based in a ‘western’, a ‘central’ and an ‘eastern’ region, and drawn from the respective three ‘camps’. It has been found that there was not one idea or conceptualization of ‘division’ among the participants from the ‘government camp’, but instead four different ones. The most x puzzling finding was, that such ‘division’ always meant some sort of special status for a quite fuzzy Ukrainian ‘East’. Among them, the meanwhile classic ‘partition-along-the-Dnipro’-conceptualization was the most rarely found idea. Also, however contrary to their own official stance, participants from the ‘democratic opposition’ seemed to systematically put less emphasis on national unity and balance than expected (at least in spatial perspective): Two consistent conceptualizations have been found here: A ‘unity-oriented’ one largely found with participants from this ‘camp’ from the ‘western’ and ‘central’ parts of Ukraine; and another, covertly ‘regionalist’ found with many participants from ‘eastern’ Ukraine. Participants from the ‘nationalist opposition’ preferred – besides the mentioned ‘unity-oriented’ conceptualization – also one that has been labeled ‘uniformity-oriented’: A unitary state based on an ethnic Ukrainian nation with authoritarian characteristics. In 2012, ‘conceptualizations of division’ have thus been found ‘one-sided’ at best, as they were exclusively aimed at a fuzzy ‘East’, but never at the (likewisely fuzzy) ‘West’ of Ukraine – meaning more or less historic Galicia. They have been found very consistently among participants from the ‘government-camp’ in several specifications; to a lesser extent also among participants from the ‘democratic opposition-camp’. Furthermore, it has been shown, that these ‘camps’ were mostly country-wide phenomena (acknowledging a non-specified degree of regional concentration, however): Concepts articulated by participants from one ‘camp’ in the ‘West’ were found generally comparable to those from participants of the same camp in the ‘eastern’ or ‘central’ parts of Ukraine. The only exception that implies a locality-aspect was found with the ‘camp of democratic opposition’: Participants from the ‘East’ tended to prefer the above ‘regionalist’ conception much more than those from elsewhere. All in all, Ukraine seemed from this perspective far less ‘divided’ or ‘partitioned’ than usually brought forward by commentators in public discourse or sometimes even by parts of the scientific community, whose arguments are usually based on ‘spatialized facts’ such as electoral geographies of past elections or distributions of social structure variables – which also had a huge impact on forming (shared) opinions in 2012. However, the above findings can lead to the assumption, that the actors behind ‘strategic-political discourses’ of ‘division’ – usually camouflaged as strive for regional self-governance or (linguistic) autonomy – had already by 2012 sown the seeds for making this a reputable idea, as some respective interpretations of such discourses seemed to match surprisingly well – and this was not solely confined to the ‘government-camp’. The outlined results shall contribute to better understanding the phenomenon of a ‘divided’ or ‘partitioned’ Ukraine, connecting a geographical dimension to a currently unsolved political problem. Nevertheless, as the main limitations stem from the chosen focus group and a narrow post-election time frame, this dissertation shall be understood as a case study and not as an elaboration regarding the overall population.

Document type: Dissertation
Supervisor: Gebhardt, Prof. Dr. Hans
Date of thesis defense: 27 February 2018
Date Deposited: 03 May 2018 13:11
Date: 2018
Faculties / Institutes: Fakultät für Chemie und Geowissenschaften > Institute of Geography
DDC-classification: 300 Social sciences
320 Political science
550 Earth sciences
910 Geography and travel
940 General history of Europe
Controlled Keywords: Ukraine, Wahlen, Osteuropa, Politik, Russland, Lager, Soziologie
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