Failure and moral distinction in a Ukrainian marketplace of ideas

Fedirko, T. (2023) Failure and moral distinction in a Ukrainian marketplace of ideas. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 29(S1), pp. 62-78. (doi: 10.1111/1467-9655.13902)

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This essay examines the generative effects of claiming moral failure within a Ukrainian liberal movement for media reform in post-Maidan, pre-invasion Ukraine. The reformers wished to reorganize news reporting around the ideals of autonomy, balanced objectivity, impartiality, and corrigibility, which they believed underpinned Western media. They decried most Ukrainian media as failing such standards, highlighting the individual moral failure of journalists bankrolled by oligarchs in return for favourable media representation. In turn, those from whom the reformers tried to distinguish themselves morally mocked them as ‘grant-eaters’ for their dependence on Western democracy promotion grants. This tussle pitted material success against yearnings for moral and professional probity. Developing Selka's idea of moral distinction, I argue that while the reformers’ pursuit of virtuous difference was sincere, their structural vulnerability vis-à-vis the mainstream media also made morality more salient as the basis for agonistic differentiation.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Fedirko, Dr Taras
Authors: Fedirko, T.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Central and East European Studies
Journal Name:Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
ISSN (Online):1467-9655
Published Online:15 February 2023
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2023 The Authors
First Published:First published in Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 29(S1): 62-78
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
305559BAPDF - Daniel Calderbank: Life at the Margins of Power: The Reach of Mesopotamian States in the 2nd millennium BCEDaniel CalderbankBritish Academy (BRITACAD)PF19\100094Arts - Archaeology