Hostname: page-component-77c89778f8-cnmwb Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-07-21T13:39:24.793Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

“Consuming” national identity in Western Ukraine

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 November 2018

Oleksandra Seliverstova*
Institute of Political Science and Governance, Tallinn University, Tallinn, Estonia Department of Political Science, Free University of Brussels (VUB), Brussels, Belgium


This paper represents an attempt to study national identity in the post-Soviet context through the lens of everyday life practices. Building on ideas of banal nationalism and consumer citizenship, and with support of empirical evidence collected in l'viv, Ukraine, this paper demonstrates how national identity becomes materialized in everyday life through consumption practices and objects of consumption. While exploring objects and practices that are not originally national in scope but infused with national meanings by ordinary people, it will be shown how consumption becomes an arena for the expression and renegotiation of national self-portraits. Differences in national meanings among residents of l'viv belonging to two different language groups will highlight the diversity of ways and means by which people express their national sensibilities. By exploring national meanings in everyday consumption practices of Ukrainian citizens, this study aims to provide an alternative perspective on post-Soviet nation-building and contribute to the current debate on the position and identity of the Russian-speaking population of Ukraine.

Copyright © 2017 Association for the Study of Nationalities 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Ahuvia, Aaron C. 2005. “Beyond the Extended Self: Loved Objects and Consumers’ Identity Narratives.” Journal of Consumer Research 32 (1): 171184.Google Scholar
Appadurai, Arjun. 1988. The Social Life of Things: Commodities in Cultural Perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Arel, Dominique. 1995. “Language Politics in Independent Ukraine: Towards One or Two StateGoogle Scholar
Languages?” Nationalities Papers 23 (3): 597622.Google Scholar
Arnould, Eric, and Thompson, Craig J. 2005. “Consumer Culture Theory (CCT): Twenty Years ofGoogle Scholar
Research.” Journal of Consumer Research 31 (4): 868882.Google Scholar
Aronczyk, Melissa. 2013. Branding the Nation: The Global Business of National Identity. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Barrington, Lowell W. (1994). “An Explanation of the Citizenship Policies of Estonia and Lithuania.” ERIC.Google Scholar
Bauman, Zigmund. 1998. Work, Consumerism and the New Poor. Issues in Society. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.Google Scholar
Belk, Russell. 1988. Possessions and Self. London: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
Billig, Michael. 1995. Banal Nationalism. London: Sage.Google Scholar
Bocock, Robert. 1993. Consumption. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
Boym, Svetlana. 1998. “On Diasporic Intimacy: Ilya Kabakov's Installations and Immigrant Homes.” Critical Inquiry 24 (2): 498524.Google Scholar
Brubaker, Rogers. 2011. “Nationalizing States Revisited: Projects and Processes of Nationalization in Post-Soviet States.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 34 (11): 17851814.Google Scholar
Buchli, Viktor. 1997. “Khrushchev, Modernism, and the Fight Against Petit-Bourgeois Consciousness in the Soviet Home.” Journal of Design History 10 (2): 161176.Google Scholar
Bulakh, Tetiana. 2014. “A Spell of Glamour: Consumer Practices in Post-Soviet Ukraine.” PhD diss., Indiana University.Google Scholar
Chernyshova, Natalya. 2013. Soviet Consumer Culture in the Brezhnev Era. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
Chytkova, Zuzana. 2011. “Consumer Acculturation, Gender, and Food: Romanian Women in Italy Between Tradition and Modernity.” Consumption Markets & Culture 14 (3): 267291.Google Scholar
Clarke, Alison. 2001. “The Aesthetics of Social Aspiration.” In Home Possessions, edited by Miller, Daniel, 2345. Oxford: Berg.Google Scholar
Connor, Walker. 1994. Ethnonationalism. New York: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
Corrigan, Peter. 1997. The Sociology of Consumption: An Introduction. London: Sage.Google Scholar
Deutsch, Karl Wolfgang, and Foltz, William J., eds. 2010. Nation-Building in Comparative Contexts. London: Transaction.Google Scholar
Douglas, Mary. 1991. “The Idea of a Home: A Kind of Space.” Social Research 58 (1): 287307.Google Scholar
Douglas, Mary. 2002. The World of Goods: Towards an Anthropology of Consumption. London: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
Douglas, Mary, and Isherwood, Baron C. 1996. The World of Goods: Towards an Anthropology of Consumption. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
Dunn, Robert. 2008. Identifying Consumption. Subjects and Objects in Consumer Society. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
Edensor, Tim. 2002. National Identity, Popular Culture and Everyday Life. Oxford: Berg.Google Scholar
Eglitis, Diana. 2011. “Class, Culture, and Consumption: Representations of Stratification in Post-Communist Latvia.” Cultural Sociology 5 (3): 423446.Google Scholar
Elliott, Richard. 2004. “Making up People: Consumption as a Symbolic Vocabulary for the Construction of Identity.” In Elusive Consumption, edited by Ekström, Karin M. and Brembeck, Helene, 129143. London: Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
Foster, Robert J. 2002. Materializing the Nation: Commodities, Consumption, and Media in Papua New Guinea. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
Foster, Robert John, and Özcan, Derya. 2005. “Consumer Citizenship, Nationalism, and Neoliberal Globalization in Turkey: The Advertising Launch of Cola Turka.” Advertising & Society Review 6 (3). Scholar
Fox, Jon E., and Miller-Idriss, Cynthia. 2008. “Everyday Nationhood.” Ethnicities 8 (4): 536563.Google Scholar
Gerasimova, Elena, and Chuykina, Sofiya. 2004. “Obshchestvo remonta.” Neprikosnovennyy zapas 34 (2): 7077.Google Scholar
Giddens, Anthony. 1989. Sociology. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
Gurova, Olga. forthcoming. “Political Consumerism in Russia After 2011.” In Cultural Mechanisms of Political Protest in Russia, edited by Beumers, Birgit, et al. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
Hobsbawm, Eric. 1990. Nations and Nationalism Since 1780. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Humphrey, Caroline. 2002. The Unmaking of Soviet Life: Everyday Economies After Socialism. London: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
Humphrey, Caroline. 2005. “Ideology in Infrastructure: Architecture and Soviet Imagination.” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 11 (1): 3958.Google Scholar
Janmaat, Jan Germen. 2000. Nation Building in Post-Soviet Ukraine: Educational Policy and the Response of the Russian Speaking Population. Utrecht: Royal Dutch Geographical Society.Google Scholar
Joy, Annamma, and Ping Li, Eric. 2012. “Studying Consumption Behaviour Through Multiple Lenses: An Overview of Consumer Culture Theory.” Journal of Business Anthropology 1 (1): 141173.Google Scholar
Kalmus, Veronika, Keller, Margit, and Kiise, Maie. 2009. “Emerging Consumer Types in a Transition Culture: Consumption Patterns of Generational and Ethnic Groups in Estonia.” Journal of Baltic Studies 40 (1): 5374.Google Scholar
Kaneva, Nadia. 2011. “Nation Branding: Toward an Agenda for Critical Research.” International Journal of Communication 5: 117141.Google Scholar
Klumbytė, Neringa. 2010. “The Soviet Sausage Renaissance.” American Anthropologist 112 (1): 2237.Google Scholar
Kolstǿ, Pal. 2006. “National Symbols as Signs of Unity and Division.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 29 (4): 676701.Google Scholar
Kozinets, Robert V. 2001. “Utopian Enterprise: Articulating the Meanings of Star Trek's Culture of Consumption.” Journal of Consumer Research 28 (1): 6788.Google Scholar
Kulyk, Volodymyr. 2014. “Ukrainian Nationalism Since the Outbreak of EuroMaidan.” Nova-Istra 3 (4): 94122.Google Scholar
Kuzio, Taras. 2002. Ukraine: State and Nation Building. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
Miller, Daniel. 1995. “Consumption and Commodities.” Annual Review of Anthropology 24: 141—161.Google Scholar
Miller, Daniel. 2001. Home Possessions. Material Culture Behind Closed Doors. London: Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
Morris, Jeremy. 2012. “Beyond Coping? Alternatives to Consumption Within a Social Network of Russian Workers.” Ethnography 14 (1): 85103.Google Scholar
Navaro-Yashin, Yael. 2002. Faces of the State: Secularism and Public Life in Turkey. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Ó Beacháin, Donnacha, and Kevlihan, Rob. 2013. “Threading a Needle: Kazakhstan Between Civic and Ethno-Nationalist State-Building.” Nations and Nationalism 19 (2): 337356.Google Scholar
Oushakine, Serguei. 2000. “The Quantity of Style: Imaginary Consumption in the New Russia.” Theory, Culture & Society 17 (5): 97120.Google Scholar
Patico, Jennifer. 2003. “Consuming the West but Becoming Thrid World: Food Imports and the Experience of Russianness.” Anthropology of East Europe Review 21 (1): 3136.Google Scholar
Patico, Jennifer. 2008. Consumption and Social Change in a Post-Soviet Middle Class. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
Patico, Jennifer, and Caldwell, Melissa. 2002. “Consumers Exiting Socialism: Ethnographic Perspectives on Daily Life in Post-Communist Europe.” Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology 67 (3): 285294.Google Scholar
Pechurina, Anna. 2015. Material Cultures, Migrations, and Identities: What the Eye Cannot See. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
Peñaloza, Lisa. 1994. “Atravesando Fronteras/Border Crossings: A Critical Ethnographic Exploration of the Consumer Acculturation of Mexican Immigrants.” Journal of Consumer Research 21 (1): 3254.Google Scholar
Polese, Abel. 2009a. “Ukraine 2004: Informal Networks Transformation of Social Capital and Coloured Revolutions.” Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics 25 (2–3): 255277.Google Scholar
Polese, Abel. 2009b. “Une version alternative de la ‘révolution orange': transformations identitaires et ≪nation building spontane>.” Socio-logos 4..”+Socio-logos+4.>Google Scholar
Polese, Abel, and Horák, Slavomir. 2015. “A Tale of Two Presidents: Personality Cult and Symbolic Nation-Building in Turkmenistan.” Nationalities Papers 43 (3): 457478.Google Scholar
Richardson, Tanya. 2004. “Odessa, Ukraine: History, Place and Nation-building in a Post-Soviet City.” PhD diss., University of Cambridge.Google Scholar
Rodgers, Peter W. 2007. “Compliance or Contradiction? Teaching ‘History’ in the ‘New’ Ukraine. A View from Ukraine's Eastern Borderlands.” Europe-Asia Studies 59 (3): 503519.Google Scholar
Schlesinger, Philip. 1991. “Media, the Political Order and National Identity.” Media, Culture & Society 13 (3): 297308.Google Scholar
Shulman, Stephen. 2004. “The Contours of Civic and Ethnic National Identification in Ukraine.” Europe-Asia Studies 56 (1): 3556.Google Scholar
Skey, Michael. 2011. National Belonging and Everyday Life. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
Smith, D. Anthony. 1991. National Identity. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
Struyk, Raymond J. 1996. “Housing Privatization in the Former Soviet Bloc to 1995.” In Cities After Socialism: Urban and Regional Change and Conflict in Post-socialist Societies, edited by Gregory, Andrusz, Michael, Harloe, and Ivan, Szelenyi, 192213. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
Sztompka, Piotr. 2004. “From East Europeans to Europeans: Shifting Collective Identities and Symbolic Boundaries in the New Europe.” European Review 12 (4): 481496.Google Scholar
Tishkov, Valery A. 1995. “What is Rossia? Prospects for Nation-Building.” Security Dialogue 26 (1): 4154.Google Scholar
Utekhin, Il'ia. 2004. Ocherki kommunalnogo byta. St. Petersburg: OGI.Google Scholar
Vershitskaya, Yuliya. 2014. “Boykot Made in Russia: patriotizm v denezhnom izmerenii.” UNIAN, August 1. Accessed January 29, 2016. Scholar
Wanner, Catherine. 1998. Burden of Dreams. History and Identity in Post-Soviet Ukraine. University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press.Google Scholar