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TRAMES. A Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences
ISSN 1736-7514 (Electronic)
ISSN 1406-0922 (Print)
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Full article in PDF format | DOI: 10.3176/tr.2010.3.02

Natalia Chaban, Vlad Vernygora

This paper attempts to demonstrate the construction of political and media narratives in their diachronical circulation of ideas about the role and place of the Supreme Law in the life of a newly independent and equally newly democratic Ukraine. In particular, this study aims to reconstruct Ukraine’s legal portrait through a detailed consideration of its Constitution since its inception in 1996. Positioning this inquiry in the context of legal historiography, the paper adopts a modern view of this discipline that has been claimed to be “restructured as a science of the history of social communication about law” (Max Planck Institut). Accordingly, this paper suggests that the post-independence history of the Ukrainian Constitution can be treated as a history of discussions about the Constitution. Assuming that there is a positive association between mass media coverage of an issue and that issue’s place in the public agenda, the study explores the 14-year coverage (1996–2010) of Ukraine’s Constitutional process by a reputable Ukrainian weekly, the Dzerkalo Tyžnja. Employing the analytical approach of Critical Metaphor Analysis (conceived at a theoretical juncture between the cognitive linguistic account of metaphors and Critical Discourse Analysis), the article analyzes the media source’s metaphorical imagery of Ukraine’s dramatic Constitu­tional ‘saga’. Metaphorical repre­sentations of Ukraine’s Constitutional developments by the objective, non-partisan reputable media source were argued to contribute to the national policy debate and influence civil awareness within Ukrainian society by adding to the understanding of the complex and abstract political concept and evoking powerful emotional responses.

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