Managing Meaning in Ukraine
Information, Communication, and Narration since the Euromaidan Revolution
An in-depth look at Ukraine's attempts to shape how it is perceived by the rest of the world.
During times of crisis, competing narratives are often advanced to define what is happening, and the stakes of information management by nations are high. In this timely book, Göran Bolin and Per Ståhlberg examine the fraught intersection of state politics, corporate business, and civil activism to understand the dynamics and importance of meaning management in Ukraine. Drawing on fieldwork inside the country, the authors discuss the forms, agents, and platforms within the complex political and communicative situation and how each articulated and acted upon perceptions of the propaganda threat.
Bolin and Ståhlberg focus their analysis on the period between 2013 and 2022, when political tensions, commercial dynamics, and new communication technologies bred novel forms of information management. As they show, entities from governments and governmental administration to commercial actors, entrepreneurs, and activists formed new alliances in order to claim a stake in information policy. Bolin and Ståhlberg also explore how the various agents engaged in information management and strove to manage meaning in communication practice; the communicative tools they took advantage of; and the subsequent consequences for narrative constructions.
“Providing timely and unique insights into how Ukrainians manage knowledge, narratives, and meaning, Bolin and Ståhlberg show that decentralized information sharing remains key in Ukraine's resistance to Russia's aggression.”
Tetyana Lokot, author of Beyond the Protest Square
“A fascinating account of how the Ukrainian state curated national identity in the vital years before the Russian invasion of 2022. With local knowledge and scholarly insight, the authors advance the whole field of state image management.”
Nicholas J. Cull, author of Public Diplomacy
“An engaging tour of Ukraine's labyrinth of meaning management, ever-changing through the decade before the 2022 war - and a case study of ways of learning, believing, knowing, arguing and protesting that we share in today's world.”
Ulf Hannerz, author of World Watching
The open access edition of this book was made possible by generous funding and support from MIT Press Direct to Open