УДК: 811.161.2’272:81’26                                    О.В. Шапаренко,

Харківський інститут фінансів


This article takes the increasingly global nature of society in the world, and in Ukraine in particular, as the framework for reviewing influence of diversity and muliculturism on Ukrainian people’s national identity. The work is aimed at finding the ways of becoming global preserving national identity. The problems of diversity in Ukraine are viewed in relation to the impact of globalisation processes and multiculturalism as a way to respond to this diversity.  The data  proving  ethnic, religious, language diversity is presented. Values of autonomy and equality as basics for  the theory of multiculturalism are revealed. Culture is said to be instrumentally valuable to individuals for choice and self-respect. The typology of language policies that can be used to classify responses to cultural diversity at given points in a country´s history is introduced; the formal nature of  language diversity policy in the Soviet Union and its negative impact on Ukrainian identity formation  is shown.

The possible ways of becoming part of the global world preserving  country’s identity are outlined as full interaction between citizens, understanding and engaging with issues concerning the wider world, making sense of  identity and developing a sense of belonging, establishing the relationship between global processes and local experiences.

Key words: multiculturism, identity, diversity, globalisation, interdependence, Ukrainian people.

В роботі досліджуються зростаюча розмаїтість в Україні, зокрема у зв’язку із впливом глобалізаційних процесів та полікультурність як спосіб реагування на це розмаїття. Наголошується, що для українського народу, щоб зберегти свою ідентичність на шляху до глобалізованого світу, необхідно  розвивати почуття приналежності, повну взаємодію між громадянами; вирішальне значення має встановлення відносин між глобальними процесами та місцевим досвідом.

Ключові слова: полікультурність, ідентичність, розмаїття, глобалізація, взаємозалежність, український народ.

В работе исследуются растущее многообразие в Украине, в частности в связи с влиянием глобализационных процессов, и поликультурность как способ реагирования на это многообразие. Отмечается, что для украинского народа, чтобы  сохранить свою идентичность, двигаясь к глобализированому миру, необходимо развивать чувство принадлежности,  осуществлять полное взаимодействие граждан; решающее значение имеет установление отношений между глобализационными процессами и  опытом на местах.

Ключевые слова: поликультурность, идентичность, многоообразие, глобализация, взаимозависимость, украинский народ.

The relevence of the theme is caused by current political, geopolitical, historical and cultural processes linking Ukraine with the rest of the world. The Ajegbo report on Diversity and Citizenship: Curriculum Review states that “everyone’s lives are shaped by the forces of globalisation, increased migration, and greater social pluralism” [1; p. 20]. In Ukraine, like in many other countries, globalisation is having a strong impact at social, economic and cultural levels which is causing rapid social changes. These changes are also often connected with the ambiguity about identity and sense of place in the world. Debates about the relationships between race, religion, culture and identity in response to the Revolution of Dignity, annexation of the Crimea by Russia, increase in economic migration, global and local terrorism and the impact of the consumer culture have led to Ukrainian politicians, for example, promoting the need for a major debate on unitarity which has become linked to citizenship. A number of  researchers argue, that young people are most directly affected by globalisation and therefore central to current debates on entering global space identifying themselves as a nation. They are experiencing globalisation on an everyday basis through employment patterns, the friendship groups they develop, their usage of the internet (particularly for social networking) and wider cultural influences on their lifestyles [3, p. 48-61]. They are the main targets of global consumer cultures and are increasingly targeted with messages concerning global social problems[6,  p. 1-14].

The article is aimed at viewing problems of diversity and multiculturalism in Ukraine, and finding possible ways of becoming global preserving  national identity.

A great number of scholars, including Held, McGrew, Ray, Robertson, Tomlinson, Castells, Urry researched the problem of globalisation and its relation to identity [5; 9; 13; 14; 18; 20]. Giddens suggests that globalisation can be defined as “the intensification of worldwide social relations which link distant localities in such a way that local happenings are shaped by events occurring many miles away and vice versa”[9].  However, we agree with Bourn who supports  Harvey’s idea that globalisation should primarily be regarded as being about the interdependence of societies on a world scale, about existing links and those that can be developed globally between individuals, communities, nations and organisations [3].

Discussing the issue of diversity, we consider the definition of Merriam-Webster dictionary which describes the term “diversity” as:

– the condition of having or being composed of differing elements: variety; especially: the inclusion of different types of people (as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization.

– an instance of being composed of differing elements or qualities: an instance of being diverse [12].

That diversity characterizes the vast majority of the countries in the world,  on the other hand, identitarian claims of ethnic, religious and cultural varieties are becoming even stronger. The Ukraine Demographics Profile 2014 [17] demonstrates ethnic, religious and language diversity of the country:

Ethnic groups Ukrainian 77.8%, Russian 17.3%, Belarusian 0.6%, Moldovan 0.5%, Crimean Tatar 0.5%, Bulgarian 0.4%, Hungarian 0.3%, Romanian 0.3%, Polish 0.3%, Jewish 0.2%, other 1.8% (2001 est.)
Religions Orthodox (includes Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox (UAOC), Ukrainian Orthodox – Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP), Ukrainian Orthodox – Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP), Ukrainian Greek Catholic, Roman Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Jewish
Languages Ukrainian (official) 67%, Russian (regional language) 24%, other (includes small Romanian-, Polish-, and Hungarian-speaking minorities) 9%
note: 2012 legislation enables a language spoken by at least 10% of an oblast’s population to be given the status of “regional language,” allowing for its use in courts, schools, and other government institutions; Ukrainian remains the country’s only official nationwide language.


Such developments towards diversity seriously challenge the governments, which react to them through different policies, ranging from assimilationism and integrationism, to differentialism. The latter, not always intentionally conceived, involves indirect exclusion, implicit in cultural and institutional practices and active exclusion, which may go as far as apartheid and even genocide [3, p. 49].

In respond to cultural and religious diversity a theory of multiculturism was created. In language policies it serves as a possible way of coping with challenges caused by ethnic and cultural diversity. Will Kymlicka has developed this most influential theory based on the liberal values of autonomy and equality[10; 16]. Culture is said to be instrumentally valuable to individuals, for two reasons. Firstly, it enables individual autonomy. One important condition of autonomy is having an adequate range of options from which to choose. Cultures provide contexts of choice, which provide and make meaningful the social scripts and narratives from which people fashion their lives [2].  Secondly, culture is instrumentally valuable for individual self-respect. Basing on communitarian and nationalistic theories, Will Kymlicka argues that there is a deep and general connection between a person’s self-respect and the respect accorded to their cultural group. Multicultural claims include religion, language, ethnicity, nationality, and race. Language and religion are at the heart of many claims for cultural accommodation by immigrants. The key claim made by minority nations is for self-government rights [16]. Kymlicka, like other liberal theorists of multiculturalism, point out that states cannot be neutral with respect to culture. In culturally diverse societies, we can easily find patterns of state support for some cultural groups over others. While states may prohibit racial discrimination and avoid official establishment of religion, they cannot avoid establishing one language for public schooling and other state services (language being a paradigmatic marker of culture) [10, p. 111].

Sarah Song introduces a rough typology of language policies that can be used to classify responses to cultural diversity at given points in a country´s history. The first category, the smallest one, includes countries which are essentially monolingual and favour monolingual language policies, including in education. The second category of countries are those which hold a monolingual national language policy and a monolingual educational policy, with limited recognition of their multilingual nature, derived from regional languages and immigrant populations (France). In the third category of countries the language of the majority is the dominant one, but it has no constitutional or official status and there is some scope within the school system for bilingual education on a transitional basis (i.e. use of the mother tongue in order to better accede to the dominant language at a later stage). The United States is an example in this category. A fourth category of countries includes Nation-States which give some institutional recognition to their multilingual character without truly promoting diversity (Belgium and Switzerland).  Canada is referred by Sarah Song to the fifth category, as a country which has two official languages but which recognizes the possibility of schooling in other languages including native languages [16].

A sixth category, according to the researcher, includes those federal States which attempted to develop linguistic diversity as well as to promote the use of a single language of wider communication (The ex-Soviet Union and the ex-Yugoslavia). Sarah Song considers their policies  regarding linguistic diversity generous and the most fragile in times of social crisis.  The author notes, that the policy of the Soviet Union was based on the assumption that socialization to the new revolutionary ideas depended primarily on education in the mother tongues and, at a later stage, the learning of Russian as the language of national cohesion [16].  The Ukrainian researcher of problems of national identity Mykola Ryabchuk argues, that all these was done formally; the  Ukrainian language in the USSR formally was not banned, but the perfect system of educational, promotional, administrative measures resulted in a spectacular phenomenon of “national faint” (a term belongs to Zabuzhko). Consequently, M. Riabchuk concludes that none of the nineteenth or twentieth century transformations in Ukraine led to formation of national identity, on the contrary – the most favorable conditions were created so that  millions of “locals” firmly borrowed hatred and contempt for all Ukrainian – primarily to language as the main manifestation and symbol of Ukrainian identity from the Russian colonialists  [15, p. 206 – 207].

Opposing Russian aggression nowadays, the Ukrainian people have succeeded in consolidating even more than for the whole period since proclaiming independence in 1993, being proud of their language, culture, and history.  At the same time, the year of 2016 is announced to be the year of English language in Ukraine. However, the national interests of Ukraine are harmed by excessive politicization of ethnicity that reinforce confrontation (linguistic, ethnic, inter-confessional, geopolitical) when the fore demands political autonomy. Such processes  generate conflicts and threaten the national security of Ukraine. A variety of ethnic, religious, regional composition of Ukrainian society can only be a factor of stability in the conditions of full interaction between citizens, when different segments will form a single civil and national community, a political nation.

To sum up, the debate concerning nation-building is even more complex to the extent that language groups cross national boundaries, and political instability and economic crisis have a great impact on it. UNESCO’s position over the last five decades has been to promote wherever possible, the right to learn in one´s mother tongue, as well as the right to access to languages of wider communication [19]. An increasingly-interdependent world characterized by diversity makes this goal an essential priority. There is no lasting democracy or social justice, let alone peace, without such respect and understanding [11]. Full interaction between citizens, understanding and engaging with issues concerning the wider world, making sense of  identity and developing a sense of belonging, establishing the relationship between global processes and local experiences will probably contribute to preserving national identity of Ukrainians in global world. The recent developments in Ukrainian policy towards EU give hope for building true democracy in Ukraine.


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