Dates: 2021 – 2024
Intralaboratory Program Leader: Béatrice von Hirschhausen
Laboratory members involved in the program: Denis Eckert, Sébastien Haule, un.e doctorant.e
Team involved: PARIS
Partner Organisations: ZOiS – Centre for East European and International Studies (Berlin), Centre Marc Bloch (Berlin)
Extralaboratory Program leaders: Sabine von Löwis (ZOiS), Sophie Lambroschini (Centre Marc Bloch)
Funding: ANR, DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft – Agence nationale allemande de la recherche)
Transversal subjects concerned: Mobilities and territories: towards a relational approach to space; Stabilities and fluidity of geographical objects; Urban fabrics: processes, actors, practices
Description: The project offers a new interpretation of the societies of Ukraine and Moldova. The originality of the project lies in looking at the microsocial effects of the “in-between” position of these populations, caught between Western and Russian spheres of intervention. It analyzes them from an actor-centered, grounded and relational perspective.
The project offers a new interpretation of the societies of Ukraine and Moldova which seem to have settled into a lasting state of political and social instability at the very doors of the European Union. The originality of the project lies in looking at these societies not as peripheral versions of the European model but rather at the microsocial effects of the “in-between” position of these populations, caught between Western and Russian spheres of intervention. The project breaks with a widely held perception of these societies as cultural and historical “others.” Instead, it analyzes them from an actor-centered, grounded and relational perspective.
The project pursues three objectives.
- On the empirical level, it offers a comprehensive reading of these societies from the study of everyday strategies in situations of high uncertainty when living “in between”. It seeks to shed light on the ways in which actors orient their choices to meet their basic needs, engage in business, receive occupational training, or project themselves into the future despite the instability of existing geopolitical allegiances and political fields.
- On a theoretical level, the project mobilizes the concept of liminality in order to approach the French concept of “in-between space” and the German one of “Zwischenraum” from a dynamic perspective. Microsocial studies of these spaces are often rigidified by presentisms that miss local dynamics. This study will privilege creative movement, a locus where experiences and expectations are reshaped on the backdrop of changes in the political space.
- On the academic level, the project helps to de-compartimentalize French and German approaches in the field of Central-Eastern European studies. It develops transnational networks with the prospect of building a European research project. As part of its mission, it provides scientific training to young researchers.
The research will collect original qualitative data (interviews, ethnographic observations, cartographic studies), integrating 3 partner-teams with a solid experience of such field research. Based on surveys carried out in 12 locations, it includes the separatist territories in Transnistria and in the border areas of the republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The project will explore the imaginaries and strategies that different types of actors (ordinary inhabitants, market traders, entrepreneurs, parents of pupils, students) use to adapt (axis A) or to escape (axis B) the uncertainties of their liminal state. Axis C is transversal: it organizes the coordination and the promotion of research.
This project aims for a better understanding of Ukrainian and Moldovan societies and of the concepts of transformation which are necessary for the development of European political programs. An example is neighborhood policy. More broadly, it supports a pluralistic reflection by Europe about itself, its inhabitants, its history and its territories.