(University of Birmingham)
Paper Short Abstract:
This paper looks at the power of ‘the market’ as an instrument by which a region in rural Ukraine is marginalised from the global economy, and the role of western development projects in this process.
Paper long abstract:
Village Nagorna, Odessa province, is situated in the furthest southern periphery of Ukraine. Its geographical remoteness from Kiev is exacerbated by poor road and communication links to the rest of the country. Economically too the region is in decline, with high unemployment and more recently the war in the east of the country resulting in large scale emigration. However, this area has not always been an economic backwater. Indeed during Soviet times it was an economic hub with crucial strategic importance connecting the region to all corners of the vast Soviet Union through the busy cargo and passenger terminals at the nearby Port of Reni on the Danube river. In this paper my focus is on the growing marginalisation of the region since Ukraine independence and the role of western development projects in the exacerbation of this process. Using a case study of a British sponsored project in the village, I explore how unequal access to the global economy is determined by the 'western' orientation of the market sought and the type of goods designated for production. Thus the power of 'the market' - as both an ideological construct and western-located site for exchange - serves to distance the community from centres of global economic importance, both in a symbolic and practical sense. Such an exclusion is acknowledged by local officials who speak of their community as 'far away' from 'the market'.
The return of remoteness: insecurity, isolation and connectivity in the new world disorder