In This Review

Forging Rights in a New Democracy: Ukrainian Students Between Freedom and Justice
Forging Rights in a New Democracy: Ukrainian Students Between Freedom and Justice
By Anna Fournier
University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012, 232 pp
Purchase

The character of the civic values embraced by the generation born after the collapse of the Soviet Union has obvious importance in understanding the prospects of post-Soviet societies. Fournier, an anthropologist, spent the turbulent year of Ukraine’s 2004 Orange Revolution observing and interacting with teenagers and their teachers in two Kiev high schools, one public and one private. Depending on how much weight one places on the voices of 182 students and 43 teachers and administrators, the impression one gets is of a generation of young people with ideas that are inchoate and rather jaundiced, but at some level hopeful, in the hands of many teachers who miss the docile classrooms of the Soviet era and whose pedagogy favors rote memorization over the encouragement of independent thinking. If these young people manifest a pubescent cynicism, a sense of voicelessness in their education, and a personal style mimicking the gangster element in contemporary Ukrainian culture, it just might have something to do with the society in which they live.