Europeanization as Civilizational Transition from East to West
Racial Displacement and Sexual Modernity in Ukraine
Drawing on an empirical study of gender and sexuality politics in Ukraine, this article interrogates the civilizational and yet unspoken racialization that characterizes Europeanization projects in the context of EU enlargement. Its point of departure is that the boundaries of Europeanness coincide with the boundaries of whiteness in a civilizational frame. It argues that Europeanization involves more than merely the influence of EU policies and values on non-member states, simultaneously marking and unmarking civilizational whiteness. Europeanness is, in this meaning, a quintessential racialized identity marker, even as racial whiteness is unmarked as a ‘natural’ adjacency of the West. This dual mechanism is discussed in terms of racial displacement. More specifically, the article foregrounds how racialized power relations intersect with – while at the same time being obscured by – political instrumentalization of sexual rights and freedoms in ‘transitioning’ processes in Ukraine.
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