Drawing on data from in-depth interviews with participants in the Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine, this article argues that the notion of human dignity is critical to mass mobilisation at different phases of anti-government protests. At the start of mass protests, the affirmation of human dignity can serve as a powerful motivation for protest participation. With the growing number of protesters, the notion of human dignity provides a key criterion for the construction of collective identity of protesters and their opponents. Furthermore, dignity might be viewed as a guiding principle for a common vision of an ideal society.
Olena Nikolayenko is a Professor in the Department of Political Science at Fordham University. Originally from Ukraine, she received her Ph.D. in political science from the University of Toronto and joined Fordham in 2009. Her research interests include comparative democratization, social movements, political behavior, women’s activism, and youth, with a regional focus on Eastern Europe. https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6753-8329