Prisma Ukraïna: War, Migration and Memory
Since February 2022, the massive migration of the Ukrainian displaced population fleeing the Russian full-scale invasion, the largest in Europe since the Second World War, could be perceived in various contexts – local, national, regional, and global – and in connection to both the relocation of Ukrainian internally displaced persons (IDPs) after the Russian invasions of Crimea and the Donbas in 2014 and to the series of recent refugee crises in the EU. Immigration has become a prominent international and national governance issue and a subject of political debates that expose anxieties and concerns about the borders, identities, and hierarchies of belonging in the affected countries. Current policies are mostly focused on migrants’ or refugees’ access to economic resources or to political participation. This project focuses on the socio-cultural aspects of refugees’ and migrants’ adaptation, changing collective and individual communicative and cultural memories, and temporal dimensions of belonging that are often overlooked, although they are important factors of social in- or exclusion and othering. It offers a multi-scalar perspective on the transformational effects of war and dislocation on people’s memory and sense of belonging, both for those on move and the receiving communities. Migrants’ sense of belonging, challenged by war and displacement, is shaped through everyday interactions with built environments, social groups, and official and unofficial spheres. The study of the temporal location of belonging includes exploration of how time is experienced (e.g., how the natural flow of biographical time, such as ‘before and after the beginning of the war’, is interrupted), as well as how memory and attitudes towards the past are utilized in creating a sense of belonging and underscore the refugees’ agency. It also analyzes how war-caused migration influences discussions on the politics of memory and identity in academia and in media outlets in the region, marginalizing some issues, such as the Polish-Ukrainian ‘memory wars’, and rearticulating others, such as decommunization and decolonization policies.