Date Thesis Awarded

4-2019

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)

Department

Interdisciplinary Studies

Advisor

Elena Prokhorova

Committee Members

Claire McKinney

Alexander Prokhorov

Frederick Corney

Abstract

Using two concepts, cultural capital and gender as a social practice, this thesis explores intersections of the English language and gender norms and attitudes in the identity of young people in today’s Ukraine. Unlike many previous studies that have focused primarily on university students or school-age children and often used quantitative methods, this thesis offers qualitative analysis of the interviews I conducted with adults, who chose to continue to learn English. The major findings are that there are two main intersections of language and gender in Ukraine. On the one hand, traditional gender norms lead men, more than women, to instrumental motivations to learn English (better jobs, i.e., economic capital). On the other hand, while both men and women associated English with cultural capital (such as education and status), for women it is also a way to reject traditionalism and create a new identity for themselves. Ultimately, language is more than what people speak; it is an embodiment of ideas, values, and norms.

Share

COinS