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Indiana University Bloomington

Bucerius Fieldwork Grant

Things That Matter: Humanitarian Aid and Citizenship Among Internally Displaced Persons (lDPs) in Ukraine


The Russian annexation of Crimea and the war in Eastern Ukraine forced more than 1.7 million people to leave their homes and become internally displaced persons (IDPs). Unlike refugees, who are protected by the international laws, IDPs rely primarily on state support. Therefore, social assistance to IDPs is one of the areas where the state-citizens relationships are actively re/negotiated. Exploring distribution and consumption of material aid, this project investigates how aid objects construct and mediate relationship between displaced citizens and the state. Through nuanced ethnographic research with a combination of qualitative methods, this study explores how the programs of humanitarian relief are developed/adapted in post-socialist context, how material objects are selected to represent help, and what political meanings they trigger.

Tania Bulakh is a Ph.D. student in Socio-Cultural Anthropology at Indiana University Bloomington (USA) with a minor in Russian and East European Studies. Her research interests include post-socialist transformations, displacement, humanitarianism, citizenship, state and power. Tania earned her Master’s Degree in Anthropology from IU as a Fulbright Scholar. Prior to this she graduated from the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy (Kyiv, Ukraine), where she obtained BA and MA degrees in Theory of Literature and Comparative Literature Studies.

Bulakh, Tania:“The Enchantment of Imaginary Europe: Consumer Practices in Post-Soviet Ukraine” for The Socialist Good Life: Desire, Development, and Living Standards in Eastern Europe, edited by Cristofer Scarboro, Diana Mincytė and Zsuzsa Gille, in press June 2020

Bulakh, Tania: “Entangled in Social Safety Nets: Administrative Responses and Lived Experiences of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Ukraine.” Europe-Asia Studies, January 2020

Bulakh, Tania: “'Living Between Two Fires’ in Eastern Ukraine: Sovereignty Gaps in Conflict-Affected Areas." Journal of Extreme Anthropology, 2 (2), 2018, DOI:

Bulakh, Tania: “Almost Citizens, Almost Home: Forced Migration Experiences of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Ukraine.” in Maintaining Refuge: Anthropological Reflections in Uncertain Times, edited by David Haines, Jayne Howell, and Fethi Keles. A publication of the Committee on Refugees and Immigrants, Society for Urban, National, and Transnational/Global Anthropology, American Anthropological Association, 2017, pp.81-86

Bulakh, Tetiana: “‘Strangers Among Ours’: State and Civil Responses to the Phenomenon of Internal Displacement in Ukraine." Migration and the Ukraine Crisis. ed. Agnieszka Pikulicka-Wilczewska, Greta Uehling. E-International Relations: Bristol, England, 2017, pp. 49-62

Bulakh, Tetiana: “Made in Ukraine: Consumer Citizenship During EuroMaidan Transformations” in Identity and Nation Building in Everyday Post-Socialist Life, ed. Abel Polese, Jeremy Morris, Emilia Pawlusz, and Oleksandra Seliverstova. Routledge, 2017

Bulakh, Tetiana: “The Concept of the State After EuroMaidan: Through Consumer Practices and Beyond” in Patriotic (Non) Consumption: Food, Fashion and Media, ed. Olga Gurova, Ekaterina Kalinina, Jessie Labov, and Vlad Strukov, Digital Icons, 2017. Issue 16

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