On Common Sense: Lessons on Starting Over from Post-Soviet Ukraine
Eppinger, Monica E. 2014. On Common Sense: Lessons on Starting Over from post-Soviet Ukraine. In Studying Up, Down, and Sideways: Anthropologists Trace the Pathways of Power. Rachael Stryker and Roberto Gonzalez, eds. Pp. 192-210. London: Berghahn Books.
19 Pages Posted: 28 Mar 2022
Date Written: February 20, 2017
Based on fieldwork in post-Soviet Ukraine, this study examines how people generate or re-generate common understandings, or "common sense," when a frame of reference such as the Soviet Union has disappeared. The fieldwork specifically undertook to study law-makers in parliament and those directly affected by post-Soviet reform legislation, attempting to follow Nader's call to study "up, down, and sideways." The chapter presents three problems encountered in attempting to "study up" in this context: 1) misrecognition of the seemingly familiar; 2) discerning which way is "up" in a context of fundamental disorientation, a metaphorical "suspension of the laws of gravity"; and 3) facing a polyphony of competing (or wholly unrelated) discourses. The study suggests a reconsideration of some of the distinctions between epistemology and phenomenology.
Keywords: Ukraine, law, parliament, rupture, anthropology, ethnography, post-Soviet, discourse, heteroglossia, performativity, Bakhtin, Nader, Austin
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation