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Multiculturalism and the Future of Ukrainian Culture and Society in Ukraine and Canada: A Comparative Approach

Description: CIUS Seminar Audio Part 1 and 2.

On 3 December the final Institute seminar of the autumn semester in Toronto was given by Dr. Wsevolod Isajiw, professor of sociology at the University of Toronto. Dr. Isajiw spoke on "Multiculturalism and the Future of Ukrainian Culture and Society in Ukraine and Canada: A Comparative Approach."

The factors conditioning the future development of the Ukrainian community are: (1) cultural institutions, (2) those sectors of the community providing a social base for the development of institutions and (3) ideologies articulating and justifying organized activity and collective action.

In Ukraine, since the end of World War II, there has been intensive urbanization involving a large proportion of migrants from the Russian republic and a process of social mobility resulting in competition between Ukrainians and immigrating Russians. In this competition Ukrainians have been at a disadvantage, as witnessed by the numerical decline of Ukrainian together with a strengthening of Russian cultural institutions. The current dissent in Ukraine has to be understood against this background: the dissidents are an active social base defending Ukrainian institutions in the face of threat and are spokesmen who are articulating a new, human rights ideology. Their success will depend upon possible support from other important social sectors in Ukraine and on the successes of other human rights movements in the Soviet Union, especially in the Russian republic.

In Canada, migration to cities has meant a loss of Ukrainian language, but not necessarily a complete loss of identity. Different sectors in the Ukrainian community have different orientations toward retention of Ukrainian cultural institutions. Six definitions of multiculturalism as an ideology can be distinguished; different sectors of the community provide the social base for each definition. Two such definitions reflect those who stress retention of Ukrainian institutions as they have been and those who emphasize development. Unlike in Ukraine, retention of Ukrainian identity in Canada will depend on creative development of Ukrainian culture in the context of general Canadian institutions and on further development of Ukrainian "elites" in the context of society as a whole rather than in the ethnic group alone.

Found in CIUS Newsletter Vol 4 Issue 1 (Winter 1979)
Author: CIUS
Publisher: CIUS
Date: December 3, 1979
Contributor: Wsevolod Isajiw
Language: English, Ukrainian
Original Format: Magnetic tape, audio cassette





CIUS, “Multiculturalism and the Future of Ukrainian Culture and Society in Ukraine and Canada: A Comparative Approach,” CIUS-Archives, accessed May 28, 2023,
Unless otherwise noted, this work is subject to a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International license .