Tagged / Ukraine war

Mismatched Expectations & The Impact of Eastern Europeanism

On Tuesday 12th September BU’s Women’s Academic Network is hosting an online talk by Dr Sara Jones and Dr Natalia Kogut from the University of Birmingham. Dr Jones and Dr Kought will be sharing preliminary findings from their research on mismatched expectations and the impact of “Eastern Europeanism” on the experiences of displaced Ukrainian women in UK.

For more information, and to sign up to attend, please follow the link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/mismatched-expectations-the-impact-of-eastern-europeanism-tickets-689148891887?aff=oddtdtcreator

Background information:

After the start of the war in Ukraine, a significant number of Ukrainian refugees came to Britain, most through the ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme that matched refugees with British hosts. They were given shelter and access to social services; however, they faced a number of unexpected challenges in their life in the UK. This paper explores those challenges in the context of Britain as a “post-Cold War” space (Chari and Verdery, 2009). In particular, it considers how “three worlds ideology” continues to impact on British attitudes towards migrants and refugees from Central, East and Southeast Europe and the ways in which Ukrainians encounter life in the UK. The talk is based on a series of narrative interviews with Ukrainians living in the UK and Kogut’s own experience as a Ukrainian fleeing war. On the one hand, there is recognition among the interview participants that refugees from Ukraine have been privileged in comparison to those coming from countries once considered in the “third world”, and that there is a sense of the “closeness” of the UK and Ukraine as European countries. Yet, on the other, interviewees report how they were confronted with an understanding of them as residents of a backward or “second world” country with little to offer – a form of prejudice that has been termed “Eastern Europeanism” (Kalmar, 2022). In turn, the UK’s sense of itself as a “first world”, developed country, is frequently called into question by Ukrainian encounters with the UK’s systems and services, including poor access to medical services, lack of social housing and shortage of school places. We will introduce our policy report Support for Displaced Ukrainians – The Role of History and Stereotypes, including our recommendations for those seeking to support Ukrainians in the areas of work/benefits, housing and hosting, healthcare and language. Speaker Biographies Sara Jones is Professor of Modern Languages at the University of Birmingham. Her research focuses on the cultural, social and political processes of memory, especially memory of socialism and post-socialism in Germany and Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe. She is author of three monographs, most recently Towards a Collaborative Memory: German Memory Work in a Transnational Context (Berghahn, 2022). She is currently Principal Investigator for the AHRC-funded project Post-Socialist Britain? Memory, Representation and Political Identity amongst German, Polish and Ukrainian Immigrants in the UK. Natalia Kogut is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Birmingham, working on the projects Post-Socialist Britain? Memory, Representation and Political Identity amongst German, Polish and Ukrainian Immigrants in the UK and Futures of Ukraine: Youth, Mobility and Post-War Reconstruction. Natalia holds a PhD in Law from the Institute of State and Law, V. Korezkiy of NAS (Ukraine). Natalia’s research interests include the human right to life and health, healthcare systems, ecological law, migrants’ rights, and historical memory of migrants. She is a specialist in human rights, right to health, and comparative analyse of health care systems.

For related readings please see this link

Ukrainian refugees and their invisible luggage of displacement – publication by Dr Alina Dolea

Dr. Alina Dolea, Associate Professor in Strategic Communication and Public Diplomacy in FMC, has published an article on emotions, trauma and public diplomacy in the academic forum on the #RussiaUkraineWar that she co-edits together with Nadia Kaneva (University of Denver) and Ilan Manor (PhD) (Ben Gurion University of the Negev) in Place Branding & Public Diplomacy

In the article, Alina argues all displaced people (refugees, migrants, or expatriates) experience a sense of loss and trauma and the Ukrainians crossing the border to take refuge across Europe carry with them this emotional luggage that shapes their identity and influences their integration in their new host places. Yet, the consequences of this invisible luggage have been rarely scrutinized in depth in public diplomacy and even in diaspora diplomacy scholarship. She draws on the psychoanalytical work of Vamik Volkan to shed some light on the psychology of Ukrainian refugees and the reactions of Romanians as host population.

Expanding from her research on Romanian diaspora (over 5 million) and the current Ukrainian refugees in Europe (over 8 million), Alina posits it is essential to understand the complex psychology, loss, emotions and trauma of displacement in diaspora diplomacy. It is necessary for theory building in order to develop analytical frameworks and research questions that link psychological processes with engagement and disengagement. In terms of practice, it can inform medium- and long-term policies of support and integration of refugees in host countries. Developing programs and encouraging grassroots initiatives aimed to increase multi-cultural awareness, communication and collaboration between newcomers and host populations is critical. Increased communication towards host publics is also needed in European countries especially because previous waves of migration and refugees have been instrumentalized in exclusionary, divisive political discourses that contribute to social anxieties, fears and phobias towards newcomers. Psychoanalytical approaches can shed light on the psychological processes that make illiberal, populist and extremist discourses effective as they instrumentalize chosen traumas and chosen glories.

This essay calls for integrating the study of emotions in public diplomacy and diaspora diplomacy research in order to (1) explore the breadth and depth of psychological processes that turn individual emotions into group emotions and (2) understand the potential of emotions to enable or disrupt engagement. Interdisciplinary research which engages with political psychology approaches that look at emotions, affect and trauma can provide new analytical insights into the inner worlds and lived experiences of the displaced, as well as into the emotions that shape representations, attitudes and behaviours of both newcomers and hosts. Such insights are much needed in designing policies aimed to support displaced groups and ease their integration and adaption in host countries. They can also contribute to more inclusive and positive public discourses about migrants and refugees.

The Academic Forum on the #RussiaUkraineWar captures a variety of epistemic reflections, creating a common space for scholars from diverse fields such as public diplomacy, strategic communications, global media studies, nation branding, international relations, post-Soviet studies, linguistics, and cultural studies. Together, we re-examined some of the concepts and practices that have shaped major debates in public diplomacy and identified new angles and approaches that can no longer be ignored in light of a world of many crises.