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Bielefeld Graduate School

in History and Sociology

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Oleksandra Tarkhanova

Gender Regime Transformation in Ukraine: Policy Change and Policy Framing

My research project is concerned with the institutional and discursive construction of the state gender regime in Ukraine. The aim of the project is to uncover the 'logic of changes' in the state gender regime through policy analysis, as well as to reconstruct normative discourses on 'motherhood'/'womanhood' and 'fatherhood'/'manhood'. The focus of the research is on the gender norms embedded in the social policies. Of principle interest are the following questions: how gender subjects are produced and negotiated in the legal texts and in the policy-making; what gender norms are institutionalized in the policies and manifested in the debates. The case study of the Ukrainian laws and policies starting from 1991 illustrates how institutional and discursive changes in social policies are embedded in the broader social and political transformation in a transitional society and brings to light 'the regime in the making' with its internal contradictions and 'layering'. Therefore, the explanatory framework of the research is a complex set of socio-political conditions in the transitional Ukraine, such as institutional legacy of the past regime, ideology of 'nation-reviving' and normative influence of 'the West', regarding their influence on the state institutions, state discourse and process of policy-making. The research addresses the lack of studies on the formation of the gender norms in the Ukrainian state discourse as well as in the post-Soviet region in general, which would consider both legal and institutional background as well as discursive component of the state gender regime. Theoretically the study is situated on the crossroads between the feminist theories of the state and discursive institutionalism. The empirical material comprises of the Ukrainian laws, transcripts of the parliamentary discussions, supplementary parliamentary and ministerial documents. Therefore, the data is collected through policy-tracing and analyzed using document and discourse analysis.

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