Alla Marchenko. Hasidic Pilgrimage as a Cultural Performance: The Case of Contemporary Ukraine

Hasidic Pilgrimage as a Cultural Performance: The Case of Contemporary Ukraine

By Alla Marchenko

(Taras Shevchenko National University, Ukraine)

Source: Judaica Ukrainica 3 (2014): 60-80

Publication date: December 1, 2014

Publication type: article

Language: English

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Abstract

The article deals with the Hasidic pilgrimage in contemporary Ukraine using the examples of two settlements, Uman and Medzhybizh. The research aims to shed light on the Hasidic pilgrimage through the lens of cultural sociology and the conception of “cultural performance” elaborated by Jeffrey Alexander as the most suitable theoretical and methodological tools in the analysis of this issue. Despite long standing historical precedents, Hasidic pilgrimage remains a new phenomenon in Post-Soviet Ukraine. Performativity helps unravel the stable and emerging elements of the Hasidic pilgrimage, as well as showing the most problematic concerns and their possible consequences. The Hasidic pilgrimage in Ukraine does possess all characteristic features of a successful cultural performance: collective representations (as well as background symbols and scripts), actors, means of symbolic production, mise-en-scène, power, and audiences. Research methods (which included visual observation, media analysis, and interviews) help in analyzing typical resources, lines of communication and possible conflict areas both in time (2009–2012) and space (two mentioned settlements) perspectives. The author pays attention to the fact that the Hasidic pilgrimage is far from becoming an established phenomenon with defined areas of the sacred and the profane in contemporary Ukrainian society.

 

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DOI 10.14653/ju.2014.04