Intergenerational Dynamics and the Formation of National Identity: The Case of the Ukrainian Minority in Poland
Sociology, Field 5: Life-Course and Lifespan Dynamics Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences (BIGSSS) Bremen, Germany
My qualitative study explores the perceptions regarding national identity and belonging. Unlike other minorities in Poland, Polish-Ukrainian relations belong to the most controversial and mythologized topics of post-war history. Of most interest will be the interpretation of the historical events before and after 1989 of members of three generations, especially the youth. Unlike their parents and grandparents who had been formed by the forced resettlement of approximately 140,000 Ukrainians to the north of Poland and the years of communist party rule, the young generation raised up in a new political system after 1989 (including Ukrain'?s gaining independence in 1991 and the Orange Revolution). Within the frame of these events and the rapidity of the changes national narratives and the understanding of belonging and nationality have become contested and reformulated. As significant changes in social and political structures shape each new cohort, considerable differences and discontinuities in behavioural patterns come to the fore. The president of the "Ukrainian Association in Poland", Piotr Tyma, alluded to the age-based patterns of identity formation. He opposed the traditional perpetuation of culture to the pop culture of the Ukrainian youth which is oriented on Ukrainian idols abroad or Ukrainian music bands in Poland.
The striking research question is: Which differences do exist regarding the comprehension of history and particular historical events before and after 1989 between the generations and how does it shape the national consciousness of the youth? Does the peculiarity of Ukrainian adolescents' everyday culture have an impact on the minority?s perception and participation in civil society'
The study focuses on the main political, cultural and social influences on three generations' respective sense or experience of national identity, especially regarding the changes after 1989. This focus will irradiate the intergenerational dynamics in the context of minority organization structure, the interpretation of historical events and the European integration and thus analyzes whether and how the youth distances itself from the older generations within a new civil society.