Europeanization as Civilizational Transition from East to West

Racial Displacement and Sexual Modernity in Ukraine


  • Randi Gressgård University of Bergen
  • Nadzeya Husakouskaya independent researcher

Abstract Views: 625 PDF Downloads: 528


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.

Author Biographies

Randi Gressgård, University of Bergen

Randi Gressgård is Professor at Centre for Womens's and Gender Research and affiliated with the research unit International Migration and Ethnic Relations (IMER), University of Bergen. Her main research interests are in the fileds of gender & sexuality studies; migration & minority studies; and urban studies.

Nadzeya Husakouskaya, independent researcher

Nadzeya Husakouskaya earned her PhD in gender studies at Centre for Women’s and Gender Research, University of Bergen, in 2019. She has previously studied and worked in Belarus, Lithuania, Ukraine, South Africa and Norway, and is currently living in the UK, where she has worked as a Regional Researcher at Amnesty International in London.




How to Cite

Gressgård, R. and Husakouskaya, N. 2020. Europeanization as Civilizational Transition from East to West: Racial Displacement and Sexual Modernity in Ukraine. Intersections. East European Journal of Society and Politics. 6, 3 (Nov. 2020). DOI:



Struggles over Europe: Postcolonial East/West Dynamics of Race, Gender and Sexua