Historical ways of formation of ukrainian culture concept “Ethnic Culture” icon

Historical ways of formation of ukrainian culture concept “Ethnic Culture”

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1. Concept “Ethnic Culture”

2. Problems and features of the Ukrainian people ethnogeny.

3. Cultural-historical originality of the Ukrainian regions.

1. Concept “Ethnic Culture”

Each of cultures of the countries, people or nations existing in the world is unique and each is an integral component of the treasury of the world culture.

The sanguineous development of ethnic culture is influenced by wide range of factors, such as history of the nation, isolation or interference with other nations, social, economic, ecological conditions , cultural policy of the country etc. Thus national culture should be considered as a complete system that includes folklore-ethnographic layers and input to it by

various levels of population throughout a long historical way, influence of culture another nations, and achievements of the natives of the country, living abroad.

It’s worth mentioning that every nation creates the original peculiar only to it image in cultural sphere.

Ethnos (Greek for “people”) – the multiplane concept. This term often has the following sense: Ethnos – is a historically developed on a certain territory community of people possessing the stable features of language, culture and mental condition and also consciousness of their entity and differences from the others. The last one is usually fixed in an ethnonim (the self-name) of the ethnos.

Generated ethnos is like a social organism that self-reproduces mainly by ethnically homogeneous marriage and by transferring language to new generations, traditions etc. For its more steady existence , ethnos aspires for creation of its own socially-territorial organization (the state) , and ethnical groups – their own independent associations , securing their rights in the legislation .

For the internal entity of ethnos, culture is of the major value. It gives people understanding of their community. Culture, as a necessary component and one of the inherent to ethnos features , provides its high-grade functioning.

But there’s a return process of convergence (rapprochement) of ethnical cultures owing to historical development and interaction of ethnoses.

Therefore culture of every ethnos today is characterized by a set of, on the one hand, national-specific and, on the other, – common to all mankind components.

^ 2. Problems and peculiarities of Ukrainian people ethnogeny

Formation of an ethnic culture is connected with forming of ethnos itself (that is ethnogeny). Therefore considering Ukrainian culture, it’s impossible not to mention ethnogeny problems of the Ukrainians.

Let’s remind the basic points of view:

1) Theory of “Primordality” – Ukrainians have been existing as long as a modern type of a man, that is 30-40 thousands to 2-3 million years.

2) Autohtonous theory (by Mikhail Gruschevsky) , according to which ethnic basis of the Ukrainians was made by the population of the late Paleolith and Russians and Byelorussians have their own ethnic basis and residing territory.

3) Theory of “one cradle” , that was standard in USSR in 30-80 years) : the origin and development of the three Slavic nationalities from one old Russian nationality;

4) Lately spread theory of “independent development of East Slavic people” , that is Ukrainians , Russians and Byelorussians.

Lately it has been also emphasized that Kiev Rus was polyethnic i.e. multinational state , in which one old Russian nationality was not dominating.

In modern literature, however, it is considered that natiogenesis began in period of Kiev Rus, though it wasn’t completed at this time.

Then, because of adverse historical circumstances it was interrupted and renewed at the full capacity in XV-XVII cent.

This is a specificity of the ethnogenesis of the Ukrainians.

Ukrainian ethnos was finally formed on boundary of XVI-XVII centuries , and catalysts of this process was threat of physical destruction from Steppe (the Crimean Khanate was formed as a vassal of the Ottoman empire), among with the national oppression by the Polish Shlyakhta , internal change of elite – aristocracy were transited to Catholicism and signing of the Church unia.

On a wave of the national struggle national consciousness was growing.

The last one was displayed at the ordinary level in consciousness of the belonging to “Russ people” , but on high , ideological level – in struggle for national rights , for Orthodoxy , for creation of national governmental institutes and attributes.

Difficulty of the ethnic history of the Ukrainians was reflected in variety of self-names (ethnonims) , names from the other ethnoses and also names of the country and state.

From the moment of birth of the Ukrainian ethos, Rus was a key concept.

Through different periods different varieties of it were dominating: VI-XI cent. – Rus ; from 1395 year – Malaya (Little) Rus ; in XVII-XVIII cent. – Malorussia ; XIX – beginning of XX cent. – Ukraine – Rus. Name “Ukraine” (that was first mentioned in 1187 year) was recognized in XVII cent. , but it existed with other name– “Malorussia” , that became wide-spread after inclusion of Ukrainian territories under protectorate of the Moscow state.

Only at the beginning of the XX cent. ethnonim “Ukraine” became most common.

It’s necessary to emphasize that at the beginning central region (Kiev) was called Rus, but later from this place the name was used for all East Slavs, like “Ukraine” for all the Ukrainian territory.

So the name “Rus” was formed like all-Slavic term , that’s why Moscow state used this name for the approval of concept the Third Rome.

As for the name ‘Ukraine’, there’s a few meanings of it’s origin – from “krai” (the border) , or from “kraina” (the country). There’s other theories.

Self-name “a Ukrainian” was unpopular , in many respects it’s possible to explain it by difficulties of ethnosocial development.

As synonyms such terms as “cossack”, “Cossack people” were used, among with old self-names like “Russians” and “Rusins”.

Only in condition of national renaissance in second part of XIX cent. self-name “ukrainian” was definitively affirmed.

So, in ethnic Ukrainian history we can define three key ethnouniting self-names : 1) Slavic (Slovens) ; 2) Ruses (Rosses , Russki , Rusiches); 3) Ukrainians (Cossacks).

Today Ukrainians form the most of the Ukrainian population. It’s one of the biggest European nations and second by numbers in the Slavic world.

According to 1989 population census, Ukrainians comprised almost the 2/3 of the population (72,7%) of the country. 84,4% of Ukrainians that lived in the USSR at that time (37,4 million) lived here.

Ukrainians are in regular intervals distributed in all the territory of Ukraine excluding Crimea and southeast.

In the countryside they’re forming to 90% of population, in the cities – to 70%.

Ukrainians are in the Slavic group of Indo-European ethnolingual family.

Ukrainian ethnos consists of 1) Basic ethnic massive of the Ukrainian people , that in most of the cases coincides with territories of its forming and state borders of Ukraine.

2) Ethnic Ukrainian groups abroad in short-distance and long-distance – Diaspora; 3) Subethnic groups – communities among Ukrainians, differing by specific culture traits (gutsuls , lemks , boyks , polischuks etc. ).

Today , as a result of national-politic delimitation, hundred thousands Ukrainians appeared beyond the Ukrainian borders , in adjacent with it regions like Kuban , Asov Sea coast , Central-Chernosem region.

Considerable number of the Ukrainians moved to Siberia and the Far East (East diaspora).

In the former soviet republics there are the following number of Ukrainians: Russian federation (Kuban , Asov Sea coast , Central- Chernozemniy district) – 4,4 million, Kazakhstan – approx. 2 million , Moldova – 561 thousands , Byelorussia – 291 thousand. On American continent mainly emigration of Ukrainians from Ukrainian territories which were a part Austro-Hungary, took place. Only at the end of XIX – beginning of XX cent. it was more then 700 thousand.

Modern emigrating processes have activated after split of the USSR. Most of Ukrainians living in foreign countries, live in the USA – approx. 1 million , in Canada – more then half-million , in Argentina and Brazil - 200 thousand each, in Poland – approx. 300 thousand.

It is important, that considerable ethnic mass of Ukrainians on Polish territory was terminated after operation “Visla” in 1947 , when they were moved to western territories.

In the middle of 1989 there was 46,2 million of Ukrainians in the world.

Despite of emigration , population of Ukraine has been growing e.g. , in 1897 it was 28,4 millions , and in 1913 – 35,2 millions. At the same time, beginning with XIX century , mainly because of industrial development of South and East of Ukraine , that lead to resettlement of big mass of people from other regions of the Russian state , relative density of Ukrainians decreased.

In XVIII cent. Ukrainians were 85% of population in borders of the modern Ukraine , in XIX cent. – approx. 74%.

In the last decade , countryside population sharply decreased and city population increased to 65%.

The most dangerous phenomena was birth rate decrease (in 1990 year this was worst in all the USSR) and death rate increase , as a result depopulation has been observed since 80s, that increased in 1992.

In common ethnic processes we need to mention decrease of relative density of Ukrainian-speaking population from 71,8 in 1959 year to 63,9 in 1989 year. This phenomena is most common in Donetsk, Asov Sea and South regions.

^ 3. Cultural-historical originality of Ukrainian regions.

Traditions and life of Ukrainian people , having many

national lines , preserves many territorial features nowadays. They are caused by :

  • character of historical development of separate Ukrainian regions;

  • nature-geographic conditions

  • interrelations with other ethnics.

From the historical-ethnographic point of view we can distinguish the following zones :

1. Miidle Priidneprovye , 2. Podillya , 3. Slobozhanschina and Poltavschina , 4. Polissya , 5. Prikarpatye (Galichina) , 6. Volin , 7. Zakarpatye , 8. Bukovina , 9. South.

The last zone was occupied by a few migration waves and its population was finally formed in XVIII-XIX cent. This is the youngest district of Ukraine from the ethnographic point of view.

South may be divided into such regions : Prichernomorie (Black Sea coast), Tavria , Donschina (Podonia, Donetchina). It should be mentioned that this division is mostly symbolical. More right division into districts – is possible with thorough studying of historical-ethnographic phenomena. Moreover all these districts change, like criteria defining them.

There are some ethnographic groups that sill have differences in culture and language. Most important are Ukrainian highlanders (hutsuls , lemks , boyks) in Prikapatye and Polishuks and Litvins in Polissya.

There were more such groups among Ukrainians before, but with capitalism development and then Soviet Union times some of archaic , conservative traditions acquired new elements in material and spiritual life of villagers, that was majority of Ukrainians.

There became wide spread elements of city clothes, new types of living houses, instruments.

That is social-economic factors were leading in forming of modern Ukrainian nation, influenced on population and geographical place of other ethnic groups and character of ethnic processes in all Ukrainian territory.

Main element of ethnos is language. Most of Ukrainians speak the Ukrainian language, that was formed on the basis of territorial elements of the old Russian language (but there’s some other theories).

As many scientists consider, approx. in second half of XII separation of Russian, Ukrainian and Byelorussian began.

Process of forming of colloquial version of the Ukrainian language continued up to XVII cent. On the early stages of the Ukrainian nation development, this language preserved traditions of Kiev Rus literary language. In fact, there were two languages: colloquial language , formed on basis of local territory dialects and literary language , that was resembling nowadays south Slavic (Macedonian) language.

From XVIII cent in Ukrainian literary language there appeared elements of living, spoken language.

But at the same time language preserved internal separation on dialects (Middle-Dnieper , Polissya , Podillya, Zakarpattya.).

The basis of modern Ukrainian language, on borders of XVIII-XIX cent. was Middle-Dnieper dialect. It was due to the fact that western Ukrainian territories were under power Austrian –Hungarian Empire, literary language in these regions was different from the one in western, but mostly understandable by western Ukrainians.

So, that is the basic features of Ukrainian ethnos development – very difficult process, many problems of which are still disputable.


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