Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Reforming the Nation: Law and Land in Post-Soviet Ukraine
by Eppinger, Monica Elizabeth, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 2010, 229; 3556050
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation investigates law and land reform in post-Soviet Ukraine, focusing on the period after passage of the 2001 Land Code privatizing agricultural land ownership. The line of inquiry follows how legal reorganization of physical space – namely, the creation of national territory and private property – reconfigures the social and affects performance of the self in contemporary Ukraine. This inquiry is situated in investigation of speech acts, place, and practice. These, in turn, lend insight into interrelationships between subjectivity, sovereignty, and power. I analyze law, commonly thought of as a genre of "performative utterance," as an emergent frame of performance in a context defined by rupture. The principal field sites in which I conducted this fieldwork are Parliament, decollectivized collective farms, and urban properties.

In tracing the effects of land privatization, I look at an antecedent social form, the collective farm, and find practices adhering to several subsequent social forms arising in its wake: confiscation, provision, and the sovereign; recollectivization and the corporation; self-sufficiency and the family; roaming and the commons. In my analysis of shelter, urban spaces provide the setting for performances of self and sociability. After exploring a Soviet form of friendship, the informal kollektiv, I describe links between its post-Soviet eclipse and certain changed background structures like the state and its legal guarantees, private property, and new experiences of time. In addition to property, I propose several settings for performance of different forms of the self, including: the present as a shelter for the past, and the synthetic future as a shelter for speech acts neither performative nor parasitic, but still creative of a discursive space for a democratic polity.

I investigate ways that law and other discursive practices in post-Soviet Ukraine mark boundaries and produce spaces of inclusion and exclusion. The Soviet Union was defined, in part, by common spaces. This dissertation investigates what happened to forms of the social and the self when those common spaces fragmented.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Nader, Laura
Commitee: Cooter, Robert, Rabinow, Paul, Yurchak, Alexei
School: University of California, Berkeley
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 74/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Cultural anthropology, Law
Keywords: Language, Law, Performance, Post-Soviet, Russia, Sovereignty, Space, Subjectivity, Ukraine
Publication Number: 3556050
ISBN: 978-1-267-97673-4
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