The Influence of Western Culture on Ukrainian Cultural Identity
- Hong, Sogu
- 제26집 제2호
- 등재여부 : KCI등재
- 203 - 230 (28 pages)
This paper focuses on how the Western culture and values that began to flow in Ukraine after 1991 in the process of globalization have influenced the formation of its identity as a newly emerging independent state. This paper aims to analyze if globalization will have a positive impact on the formation of Ukraine’s identity and thus help Ukraine transform itself into a democratic and capitalist country, or it will cause only confusion over its identity. The study shows that instead of one-sided assimilation to the Western culture triggered by globalization, Ukraine is experiencing changes in its identity in various ways under the influence of multiple social characteristics and factors that exist in Ukraine. Much of Western customs has been accepted in symbols, heroes and rites. On the other hand, efforts were equally made to better understand Uraine’s uniqueness and rediscover its traditions and customs. Ideas were borrowed from the past but they were modified and given new meanings in the contemporary context. The Ukrainian government and nationalists have been trying to use historical symbols and establish the Ukrainian identity. New symbols and rituals were created, resulting in the construction of a new identity. The impact of the Western culture was found particularly strong in customs including symbols, heroes, and rituals. The value system or the core of a culture is still going through painful phases and changes are taking place at a relatively slow pace. In the midst of globalization, forming Ukraine’s identity is indeed a dynamic process that entails problems as well. Introduction of mature political, economic and value systems of the West, was accompanied by the penetration of imperialistic culture. Another important reason is that Ukraine lacks various social conditions that are needed to create a civilized society as found in the West. Unfortunately, undemocratic political practices still work in Ukraine and the construction of a Western-style civilized society is negatively impacted by politics-economy collusion, lack of proper legal systems and institutions and underdeveloped economic capacity. This is also blocking a mature cultural identity from emerging. In this context of the social reality facing Ukraine, the Orange Revolution was a major historical event that presented a possibility that Ukraine can evolve into a democracy. The Orange revolution provided Ukrainians with the momentum to fight against corruption and pursue democratic values. However, in order for top-down policies to produce genuine effects, consistent and sustainable democratic policies for the public such as substantial social reforms and legal and institutional devices to ensure citizens’ participation, are required. To restore Ukraine bogged down in political and economic drags, it is necessary to create an ethnic and cultural identity based on democratic values instead of narrowly-defined nationalism and to build a mechanism through which the desire and passion of the public as witnessed in the Orange Revolution can be reflected in political and social systems on an ongoing basis.
Ⅱ. Evolution and Change of Cultural Identity