Everyday Ethnicity in Chernivtsi, Western Ukraine
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Abstract: Chernivtsi, a contemporary town located in Western Ukraine, is perceived as one of the most multiethnic places in Ukraine. Situated in the Ukrainian-Romanian borderlands, Chernivtsi’s ruling state and dominant national group has changed four times in its history. Since 1991, this city has been an arena for both a “Ukrainization” policy as well as the revival of national minority institutions. This article is based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Chernivtsi since 2010 and explores why and when ethnicity as a category of practice matters for ordinary people. By using the methodology of the “everyday” and taking “situational” ethnicity as a major approach, for individuals in Chernivtsi, I show “Ukrainianess” becomes an unmarked, obvious and taken for granted category in daily life. Thus, the nationalizing efforts of the Ukrainian state, which since the late socialist period constantly marked “Ukrainianess” as a significant category, can be perceived as successful and other national manifestations do not pose any threat to it.
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