Understandings of democracy and "good citizenship" in Ukraine: utopia for the people, participation in politics not required
This article investigates and compares how people in diverse peripheral regions of Ukraine understood democracy, their role as citizens in a democracy, and the meaning of "good citizenship" in 2021, the year before Russia’s full-scale invasion. We conduct thematic analysis of focus group discussions to demonstrate gaps and inconsistencies in the understandings of democracy articulated by our participants. We find that a utopian understanding of democracy is common, in which authorities are expected to "listen to the people" and keep them satisfied, but the need for government to manage conflicting interests is not recognized. Understandings of good citizenship are inclusive and pro-social, but mostly detached from institutional politics. We observe similarity across regions in how democracy is understood in the abstract. However, the meaning ascribed to democracy often varied when discussion moved from the abstract to particular country examples – a finding relevant beyond the Ukrainian case, for survey-based research on public understandings of democracy more generally.
Ukraine, democracy, citizenship, focus groups, public opinion, article
Szostek J. Understandings of democracy and "good citizenship" in Ukraine: utopia for the people, participation in politics not required / Joanna Szostek & Dariya Orlova // Post-Soviet Affairs. - 2022. - 18 p. - https://doi.org/10.1080/1060586X.2022.2084280