Support, resistance and pragmatism An examination of motivation in language policy in Kharkiv, Ukraine

Detta är en avhandling från Stockholm : Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis

Sammanfattning: The Ukrainian society has gone through vast changes since independence in 1991 and in this thesis some of these social changes are discussed through the prism of language policy. The main topic of the study is language policy (conceptualised as language practices, language beliefs, and language management) in the eastern Ukrainian city Kharkiv. This topic is examined within a framework focusing on motivation, allowing for a study of how people in Kharkiv describe, explain and rationalise language policy in the context of change in society. Ukrainian is the only state language in Ukraine, but Russian is widely used in Ukrainian society, and in Kharkiv Russian is the predominantly used language. One specific topic of the study is how young Ukrainians perceive the role granted the Ukrainian language in on-going processes of nation-building, related to the formation of a national identity. This is contrasted with discussions on individual linguistic rights and what is considered reasonable to demand from the Ukrainian population in terms of language practices. Further, the study examines the concept of language conflict, notably what kinds of conflict can be identified in and extracted from discussions on the role of language in society. This examination shows that it is not necessarily a case of potential conflict between groups or individuals, but also that individuals may struggle with internal conflict. This study demonstrates how language conflict is not about language, but rather about social positions, interests and value systems. This also illustrates the fact that the three components of language policy are not necessarily interrelated and consistent. Especially language practices and language beliefs are often at odds. Fieldwork was carried out in Kharkiv 2003-2005 and the study relies on a combination of methods (in-depth individual interviews, group interviews and a large-scale questionnaire).

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