Emily Channell-Justice, “Without the State: Self-Organization and Political Activism in Ukraine” (U Toronto Press, 2022)

Without the State: Self-Organization and Political Activism in Ukraine (U Toronto Press, 2022) explores the 2013-14 Euromaidan protests – a wave of demonstrations and civil unrest in Ukraine – through in-depth ethnographic research with leftist, feminist, and student activists in Kyiv. The book discusses the concept of self-organization and the notion that if something needs to be done and a person has the competence to do it, then they should simply do it.

Emily Channell-Justice reveals how self-organization in Ukraine came out of leftist practices but actors from across the spectrum of political views also adopted self-organization over the course of Euromaidan, including far-right groups. The widespread adoption of self-organization encouraged Ukrainians to rethink their expectations of the relationship between citizens and their state. The book explains how self-organized practices have changed people’s views on what they think they can contribute to their own communities, and in the wake of Russia’s renewed invasion of Ukraine in 2022, it has also motivated new networks of mutual aid within Ukraine and beyond. Based on ethnographic fieldwork, including the author’s first-hand experience of the entirety of the Euromaidan protests, Without the State provides a unique analytical account of this crucial moment in Ukraine’s post-Soviet history.

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