Peak Experiences and Hegemony Resistance: Cultural Models of a Good Life and Group Identity in Carpathian Rus'
Cantin, Kristina M.
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This dissertation is based on multi-site ethnography conducted in the Presov Region of Slovakia and the Zakarpattia Oblast of Ukraine during 2010 and 2011. To identify and analyze sharing and diversity of cultural models of a good life and what it means to be Rusyn, I gathered freelists on these topics from the region's inhabitants, interviewed activists and ordinary residents in the region, participated in Rusyn cultural events, and compiled cultural narratives. The analysis of these data contributes to better understanding cultural and situational factors of well-being, as well as what motivates the people to participate in or to resist the ethnicity-constructing projects of their ethnic group leaders and those of the larger national and international entities in which they are nested. I use the data and observations of contemporary life along with historical developments in Carpathian-Rus' to analyze and further synthesize Wimmer's theory of ethnic boundaries and Brubaker's approach to groupness with Jenkins' and Bentley's practice-based theories of ethnicity. Finally, I explain how several phenomena impact groupness, ethnicity, and resistance to hegemonies in Carpathian Rus': contrasts between shared, emotionally-meaningful cultural practices and explicit resistance to a bounded group identity; power-leveling mechanisms present throughout the population; and factionalism among Rusyn organizations, which has re-created itself in a number of historical contexts but has rarely paralleled geographic, religious, or political-ideological divides.