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Psychosemantic analysis of political consciousness of Ukrainian citizens: from the Past until the Future (реферат)

What we have had… Since 1994 Institute of Social and Political Psychology (Ukraine) monitored political consciousness of the population and surveyed main tendencies for development of political and ideological views and attitudes of the Ukrainian citizens on the base of original psychosemantic methodic. The methodic allows an explicit analysis of the content of those psychological realities, which are hiding behind the casual percentage.

On the base of the factual material, which we have got from annual massive psychosemantic questionnaires (all-Ukraine random-sample, 2 000 persons), we built a model of a political-semantic space of a modern Ukrainian society (see picture). Our main methodological technique is evaluation by the respondents of their own agreement/disagreement with the content of about thirty-forty statements according to main political problems, taken from print mass media of different political directions. The base of the model consists of two factors, which were singled out as the result of quantitative analysis of factual material and stay for years as main ones.

The content of the first factor consists of evaluations, which reflects the respondents' attitude towards economical and political reforms (we called it "Reformative/Anti-Reformative attitudes). The attitude towards reforms points to an interesting peculiarity of mass consciousness of post-totalitarian, exUSSR society. All economical and ideological constructs merge into one - mainly ideological. So economical categories are subordinated to the political preferences in the minds of our people. For example, a person voting for reconstruction of the Soviet symbolism will approve with the high percentage of probability conservation of collective farms and disapprove private farming, and vice versa.

Picture 1. Dynamic of Ukrainian citizens' political consciousness in 1994-2002

The main problem in the factor's content is the attitude towards collective farms (in all their forms) and private farming: these statements are highly accentuated. So that is the main psychological and ideological problem for mass political consciousness in Ukraine.

The second group of statements creates the factor we called "Patriotic/pro-Russian attitudes". It's content reveals Ukraine-Russia relations, West-East orientation and so on.

The central is linguistic problem: whether it be Ukrainian monolinguality or Ukrainian-Russian bilinguality. And in this case we can also observe an important social-psychological phenomenon. In casual questionnaires when we are asking our respondents to choose important problems, linguistic problems are rarely chosen: about 7-10% from both sides. But actually these problems are far more important, psychologically "itching", which are potentially dangerous and may shake the mass consciousness up.

The space of our model reflects the essential multitude of political-ideological positions of Ukrainian citizens. Individual positions of the respondents cover all the model's space, but the thickness of layers is different.

The factual analysis procedure gives the opportunity to define the average positions of all respondents and their distinct groups. And the model clearly shows a directed movement of mass consciousness from "left" (Anti-Reformative and pro-Russian) to "right" (Reformative and Patriotic) political attitudes, though a bit wandered.

1994, the attitudes were altogether "left" (or rather left-centric), and that embodied in the results of that year presidential elections and the victory of "left" L.Kuchma.

At 1995 we could see notably "right" movement, more according to patriotic scale than reformative.
1996, the position of mass consciousness crossed the averaged level of "patriotic" scale and it was likely for Ukraine to become a seriously "right-centric" society.

But the year 1997 changed nothing, and in 1998 we observed a sudden "jump" to the "left" side of political spectrum. So according to the results of that year parliament election "the lefts" were not only undefeated but also became stronger.

1999 changed almost nothing in political-psychological situation of Ukraine: it became just a little bit more "left". And in the year 2000 the situation was still hanging about.

At 2001 we noted at last a sudden movement to the "right" and the reason was obviously a positive activity of V.Yuschenko cabinet. The Ukrainian mass consciousness crossed the Rubicon.

Still we must accentuate that these positive changes are of a very slow nature. Citizens conservatively stick to their own views and ideals. Though this slow ripening of mass consciousness is of a special value, because makes the society ideologically and psychologically immune against political and psychological techniques of a different kind (this phenomenon we could observe at 2002 parliament election).

The correlation between the representatives of different social-demographic groups is stable as in the society so is in the model. The main definitive distinction appeared to be regional one. According to the factor "Reformative/Anti-Reformative attitudes" on the "right" political pole situated Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, and the Western regions, on the "left" one - Eastern regions of Ukraine. Views of people living in the Central, Southern regions and Crimea are close to the central point.

According to the factor "Patriotic/pro-Russian attitudes" relative positions of regions are alike with previous ones: most "patriotic" are Western regions, then goes Kyiv and the Central region. The North-East is close to the central point. And the Eastern regions, the South and Crimea are in the opposition.

We observed the essential differences in political positions of citizen according to their age. Along both vectors of the model the youth (persons under 30) occupied the most "right" positions, and the representatives of the elder generation (after 50) - the most "left". This logic is more obvious with factor "Reformative/Anti-Reformative", and less with the factor "Patriotic/pro-Russian attitudes".

The cross-sexual differences are faintly expressed and are of traditional style, stereotypical for Ukrainian men/women mentality and behavior. Ukrainian women are some more conservative than men, and less apt to accept new realities especially in the sphere of economical and political reforms. So the average "men" political position is on the "right" side counting from the central point, and the "women" one is "left-central".

There are essential cross-ethnical differences. Mainly we are talking about the different political positions of the two largest ethnic groups in Ukraine - Ukrainians and Russians. No wonder that the largest difference is according to the factor "Patriotic/pro-Russian attitudes": fairly expressed pro-Ukrainian position of ethnic Ukrainians opposed to the clearly pro-Russian oriented ethnic Russians. And we should add that the average intensification of "patriotic" attitudes was mainly in Ukrainian-speaking regions. The central point position belongs to the representatives of other nationalities, and that group is certainly not homogeneous. Before that group sympathized to Russians, but now their position is close to the Ukrainian one.

According to the attitude towards reforms the difference between ethnic groups is less expressed but still essential. The most pro-reformative are positions of national minorities. The Ukrainians are fairly pro-reformative and the Russians are rather anti-reformative.

Amongst the main social-professional groups the positive evaluation of reforms immanent to businessmen, students, military and policemen, less enthusiastic are engineers, technicians, clerks and intelligentsia. On the other side are pensioners and a little bit closer to the center - workers and unemployment people. Peasants, which were before mostly anti-reformative, moved to the center close to housewives and pink-collars.

The majority of social-professional groups are fairly pro-patriotic. Pro-Russian are pensioners (but we think it is the influence of age-factor, not a professional one) and workers (it may be because of the regional factor: most workers live in the Eastern industrial regions).

Among the inhabited localities of different categories (counting population and administrative value) the most reformative and pro-patriotic are citizens of Kyiv. Citizens of the cities, which are regional administrative centers, and citizens of little towns sympathize to the central point political position. Inhabitants of cities, which are not regional centers, are clearly "left"-oriented: and that is because of regional (those cities are mostly situated at the East of Ukraine) and ethnic (the percent of ethnic Russians there is great) factors.

Speaking about the groups with the different level of income: the poor are "left", the rich are "right". Note, that the richest are not very "patriotic", actually they closer to the central position than not so rich ones.

Behind the general position of different groups of respondents lies the political-ideological space of various individual positions. That space is stretched mostly along "left"-"right" axis of our model. That is why for all those years in mass consciousness we could observe a stereotypical division of all possible political positions according to the dichotomy of "left" and "right", which in the structure of our political spectrum reflected in the opposition of communists and national-democrats.

The process of democratization of Ukraine is going on with some difficulties but results in pluralism of political views and attitudes, multiple individual and group positions. So now we can even say that some of our citizens gradually decline that stereotypical division of political views.

This tendency was clearly seen during the parliament elections of 1998. In the results of these elections we observed signs of deformed stereotypical political configurations. The essential deviations were on the base of so-called political-ideological provincialism. In some regions on the general background of political attitudes appeared parties created, spearheaded or simply supported by the regional popular leaders. That derivative (contrary to the primary one we speak before) "regionalization" of electoral behavior acted an important social-psychological role. It symbolized a crush of some stereotypes of making an electoral decision (mainly in the frame of traditional dichotomy) and opened people psychologically for the influence of different, not purely ideological factors.

Still we don't have reasons to think that mass consciousness of Ukrainians freed itself from before mentioned linearity. For most of citizens the depicted dichotomy is the only guide in making political decisions. It is clearly seen in the most ideologically engaged regions: "right" Halychyna and "left" Donbas and Crimea.

At 2002 elections tendencies of derivative "regionalization" were comparatively weak. We incline to view that change in mass consciousness as the result of influence one more main factor of its development - "nostalgia for strong power", "wish of a firm hand". In our surveys we continuously see the high level of psychological importance for average citizens of their subjective attitude towards the authorities. We observed a domination of high level expectations from "ideal", desired authorities combined with the ultimate distrust towards the real, actual authorities and in our social-political context interpret it as an inclination to accept the idea of "strong" authorities.

It is quite possible that regional deviations of 1998 were the evidence of the search for a strong leader on the local level. Some political leaders gained great local popularity. Then people got disappointed by their activity and showed it during the next election. But at 2002 election the "strong leader" factor still worked though at the high, all-national level and embodied in the person of V.Yuschenko. People voted for him (it is quite obviously that they voted for Yuschenko but not for his party) not only in the Western regions, but also in the Center, North and South, and it were not only "right"-oriented and "right-centrists", but also those who prefer the central point of political spectrum and step to the left. Still Russian-speaking regions weren't impressed by Yuschenko and went on with the search of political ideal at the left political wing or amongst the authorities.

What we should expect… It would be careless to explain the results of elections only with the actual evaluations and attitudes of citizens. Perhaps, the visions of future play role even more important, because for the sake of better future people actually elect. That is why we can speak about the implicit scripts of the nearest future as a result of interplay of manifold factors, which cause the mass consciousness development. These scripts are the outcome of inter-reaction and co-existence of multitude individual and group anticipations of political reality on different levels, group and individual ones. Naturally, those schemes exist in mass consciousness not like theatrical scripts, rather like intuitive suppositions, visions, forecasts, expectations, which result in bizarre collective anticipation of the nearest and distant future.

Sometimes these scripts could be expressed more or less clearly in a political program or scientific prognosis, but the most influential they are in trivial minds, in everyday activity of individuals, groups and masses. On the one side scripts are the result of social experience, tasted with mass imaginations of desirable and possible future. On the other side, they influence mass consciousness, make it ready to accept certain events and even assist, consciously or not.

Using special social-psychological methodic we have discovered and depicted four main scripts, which dominated in Ukrainian mass consciousness the second half of 90s.

First, the most influential and widespread script (we called it "left protest") was closely connected with the present state of affairs, and even more: this script was a logical development and deterioration of the present day affairs. It's main features are: intensification of public discontent with worsening social-economical situation in Ukraine: exacerbation of social contradictions, risk of social conflicts and mass protest actions: growing disappointment in authorities' competence: disillusion in political means of solving problems, political apathy and electoral passivity.

At these conditions political attitudes would probably shift "left", and in modern Ukraine that would be not just pro-communist positions, but rather national-communist (with acute social-economic demands and comparatively calm attitude to national ideas) and social-democratic (which are adequate to views dominating in modern Ukraine but due to the low level of political-ideological reflection in our citizens still are not dominant).

The second script (we called it "political-centric") reflected tendency to solve social problems with political means. Here was a dominating hope of citizens that political elite would find a peaceful way out of crisis; belief in possibility of common social ground for different political forces; support for ideological pluralism and not for a single dominant ideology; and slightly expressed adherence to market-oriented reforms.

At these conditions "centric" and liberal political forces would dominate in Ukraine.

The third script ("political-radical") also suppose a way out crisis with the help of political means, though not in the form of a political co-operation but rather a political-ideological polarization of society; aggravation of cross-ethnical, cross-confessional and other contradictions; inflammation of great social conflicts, solving them then with the help of violence, up to a civil war.

This variant supposes an activation of ultra-"left" (ultra-communist) and ultra-"right" (radical nationalistic) movements that would aim towards a fascist dictate.

And at last fourth script ("market-democratic") was the most attractive and least possible from mass conscious' point of view. It was aimed to fast implementation of market-oriented reforms, therefore economical growth, therefore high level of social protection for poor people; lessening of social-psychological tensions; affirmation of western democracy values; growing acceptance of idea of Ukrainian national renewal and independency by Ukrainian citizens.

On the way of implementation of this scheme the most popular would have been national-democratic politic forces (if they got rid of their image of being excessively preoccupied with ethno-linguistic problems).

The development of mass consciousness at first years of 21st century shows that we have good chances to avoid an unproductive first script and a dangerous third one. Mass consciousness, like the society itself, hesitates to choose the second or fourth script, and that situation demands a special social-psychological analysis for us to know for sure what will calm our hearts…

Реферат на тему: Psychosemantic analysis of political consciousness of Ukrainian citizens: from the Past until the Future (реферат)

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