‘PERFORMING NATIONAL IDENTITY: A CASE STUDY OF UKRAINE’S REPRESENTATIONS IN THE EUROVISION SONG CONTEST 2004-2017’
Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) is a pan-European television contest where European and non-European countries compete every year for the best artistic performance. This major media event has become increasingly popular since its first broadcast in 1956, and it is now being transmitted to 45 countries in Europe and beyond (Sivgin 2015). The contest itself offers a sense of belonging to the European community and even though it has been dismissed as musically and culturally inferior in recent years, it still brings the whole Europe together every year and it is still very relevant in terms of culture and building national identity (Jordan 2015). The rules of the ESC state that “no lyrics, speeches, gestures of a political or similar nature shall be permitted during the ESC” (Eurovision 2018), however, over the years various political messages have been encoded into songs and performances and the countries keep expressing their political and cultural concerns on the Eurovision stage. This study will, therefore, look at the case of Ukraine, which is the only Eastern European country winning Eurovision twice, in 2004 and 2016. In both cases the performances had been, arguably, highly political, in 2004 influenced by the Orange Revolution and in 2016 by the Russian military intervention. This dissertation will comprise of four parts. Firstly, the literature review will explore the theoretical framework around the topics such as high and low culture, and popular culture, politics and national branding in the ESC, followed by a chapter outlining the methodology approach, aims of research and research questions. Chapters four and five will present the analysis, findings and the discussion of the findings; chapter four focusing on Ukraine’s hosting of the contest in 2005 in the context of the Orange Revolution, and chapter five discussing Ukraine’s winning song in 2016 and hosting the Eurovision the following year in the context of the conflict with Russia. The dissertation will end with a conclusion chapter.