The browser you are using is not supported by this website. All versions of Internet Explorer are no longer supported, either by us or Microsoft (read more here:

Please use a modern browser to fully experience our website, such as the newest versions of Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari etc.

Photo of Rustam

Rustamjon Urinboyev

Associate professor

Photo of Rustam

Negotiating Spaces and the Public–Private Boundary: Language Policies Versus Language Use Practices in Odessa


  • Abel Polese
  • Rustam Urinboyev
  • Tanel Kerikmae
  • Sarah Murru

Summary, in English

While the so-called “end of public space” literature, focusing on encroachment of private interests and state surveillance, has contributed to critical thinking of access (or the lack thereof) to public space, and the loss of publicity of public space, the conceptual tools such literature offers to understand contestations in and over public space have remained underdeveloped or, at best, underexplored. This article builds on the above debates to provides further empirical evidence on the way actors of a country compete over, and negotiate, the use of public space and the way it should be regulated. Empirically, it illustrates competition and negotiation of the use of language in Odessa, the third largest city of Ukraine, where Ukrainian should be the official language but Russian is widely used. Theoretically, starting from the way public and private are negotiated, and the extent to which this happens, we will suggest that resistance to state measures, and policies, that do not suit a considerable portion of a population may happen not only formally but also informally. The practices, tactics, and mechanisms used may, however, remain “invisible” for some time and then surprise everyone by emerging, all of a sudden, one day. A possible way to notice these dynamics is to engage with an “everyday” approach, thus acknowledging that everyday practices are a meaningful, and useful, site for understanding sociopolitical developments in the process of the construction of “the political.”


  • Department of Sociology of Law

Publishing year





Space and Culture

Document type

Journal article


SAGE Publications


  • Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)




  • An exploration of the nature of informal economies and shadow practices in the former USSR region
  • Migration, Shadow Economy and Parallel Legal Orders in Russia


  • ISSN: 1206-3312