Due to a variety of potential topics, we have chosen four topics which we will feature in our IAPSS Summer School 2016. These sub-topics are the most debated when it comes to recent questioning about Ukraines Soviet Legacy, Democratization Efforts and Geopolitical Challenges.Here is a short summary for each sub-topic:

 

(1) Identity, Memory and Narratives

Cultural memory refers to collective understandings or constructions of the past as held by people in a given social and historical context. Since the 1980s, memory studies has developed into a creative, interdisciplinary and well-established field of research. As the example of Ukraine shows, memory construction often is a conflict-prone endeavor. Recent events have led to re-examination of national identity. What are dominant narratives? What are turning points? Which actors have played and/or still play a crucial role in the construction of cultural memory in Ukraine?

 

(2) Europeanization and Political Conditionality

So far, the European Neighborhood Policy in Ukraine has only achieved limited success due to an interplay of both external and domestic factors. On the one hand, no effective coordinating mechanism on European matters has been established in Ukraine so far. This is due to a number of different domestic political obstacles. On the other hand, EU conditionality towards Ukraine has remained rather weak since the EU persisted on a Russia-first policy for a long time. How has the EU’s policy approach towards Ukraine changed since the crisis in Ukraine beginning in late 2013? And what are current obstacles in domestic policies?

 

(3) Geopolitical Challenges

The Ukrainian significance as a geostrategic buffer state between two giants – Russia and the EU – has taken on greater importance since the creation of a new eastern border for the European Union following its large enlargement in 2004. The crucial field of security issues is of top priority and linked to the Crimea crisis and the resulting territorial fragmentation. However, it is the issue of energy that has made Russia and the Ukraine adopt a course of confrontation since the gas conflict at the beginning of the year 2009. What are the EU’s possibilities of intervention in the described policy areas? Is a solution at sight or are we rather facing a new era of Cold War as mentioned by Dmitry Medvedev at this year’s Munich Security Conference?

 

(4) Social Movements

A common feature of social movements in general is that they all presumably follow the same goal – changing the current situation for the better. Since the turn of the millennium, two major protest movements emerged in Ukraine: the Orange Revolution in 2004 and the Euromaidan protests in 2013. It remains unclear to what extent these movements have achieved their goals and if these events will have a long lasting impact on the societal conditions of Ukraine. Currently, it is being discussed that the situation has not improved since corruption and cronyism are still omnipresent issues. Furthermore, democratization processes have not fully taken off yet. What influence did the Orange Revolution and the Euromaidan protests have on society? What are the backlashes? Can these occurrences really be regarded as genuine grassroots social movements or rather as revolutionary coups driven and facilitated by capitalist interests from outside of Ukraine? What influence had online activity during the protests?