November 13 (Fri) - 12:00pm - 1:15pm
Svitlana Khutka
Visiting Associate Professor, CREEES and Associate Professor of Sociology, National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy

Encina Hall West, Room 219

Civic political involvement is a multidimensional phenomenon that encompasses political support, interest in politics, and civic participation. Modernization along with economic development leads to a change in values, an increase in human capital, personal autonomy and higher mass political empowerment and democracy. But historical contexts of modernization in transition vs. non-transition industrialized countries introduce contradictions to the trajectory of citizens’ democratic empowerment.

Transition means unstable institutions and controversial cultural context (i.e., socialist post-materialist ideology inflated after liberal economy introduction), which do not establish support for collective actions for public good vs. individualism and atomization of society.  The mean level of protest activity and civic engagement is low in transition countries vs. post-industrial societies or some non-industrialized Africa/Asia countries. So, do post-socialist (ex-USSR, in particular) countries have no reasons to protest actively? No, they do. Post-socialist transition  is a mix of ‘democratic deficit’, dissatisfaction with public policy and poor institutional performance, anomia, distrust, temporary (?) de-industrualization, rise of inequality and an oligarchic economy. But why is there no boost in civic engagement and protest activity? For example, Ukraine has experienced three so-called political revolutions in the last 25 years.  However, even though the number of protests doubled in 2012-2013 vs. 2010-2011, and doubled in 2014-2015 vs. 2012-2013, the average level of participation in political activities (apart from elections) for past 25 years has beenextremely low when compared to ‘old democracies’. That is an issue to be discussed: what contributes to the protest readiness in post-socialist countries and how is declared political activity influenced by values.

Svitlana Khutka (PhD in Sociology) is an Associate  Professor of Sociology at the National University of  "Kyiv-Mohyla Academy" in Ukraine, an expert of the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology, and Associate Researcher of the Laboratory for Comparative Social Research (Higher  School  of Economics). As a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at Stanford University through the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies from February 2014-October 2015, Dr. Khutka will pursue her research project, “Civic Political Apathy/Involvement, Governance and Values in Transition Countries,” which focuses on multifaceted shifts in political culture with an emphasis on the Ukrainian case.

Dr. Khutka has published several articles on the subjective well-being and social stratification of Ukrainians and some archival studies of Ukrainian Sociology in exile. This year, she published a book with Dmytro Khutkyy, “National Self-Feeling of Population of Ukraine: Actual State, Main Determinants and Aftereffects,” devoted to the multidimensionality of modern national identity of Ukrainians, with an analysis based on qualitative in-depth interviews across the country.  

Later this year, her book on subjective well-being and social stratification in Ukraine is expected to be published. Khutka has presented her work at Oxford University, Glasgow University, Ellison Center, Bielefeld University, Belarus State University, the Institute of Eastern and Southeastern Europe Studies (Regensburg) and the Human and Social Studies Foundation (Sofia) and the Ukrainian Institute in London. Recently, she has served as a media commentator on Maidan and the Ukrainian-Russian crisis for both the Ukrainian and foreign mass media.

In 2012-2013 Khutka was a Carnegie Fellow at the  Ellison  Center for Russian, East European and Central Asian Studes at the University of Washington-Seattle  and at the University of California-Berkeley. In 2010  and 2012-2013  she was awarded the "Best Young Sociologist of Year in Ukraine" for her comparative studies of post-socialist transformations and received the silver  medal of Natalia Panina, one of the  most prestigious prizes in the field of Social Sciences of  Ukraine. She is also a member of the Sociological Association of Ukraine and the American Sociological Association.

Khutka’s research interests include political culture and governance  quality in  transition countries (with focus on civic protest activity); subjective well-being/happiness studies; national identity and social memory in Ukraine; cross-national comparative study of values and human agency (accentuating the gender differences).


Open to Stanford affiliates.