Populism is on the rise across the world. After election of the Fidesz government in Hungary in 2010, Law and Justice (PiS) party in Poland in 2015, shocks of Brexit and Trump in 2016, elections in major European states including Britain, the Netherlands, France and Germany in 2017 have reinforced populist parties influence in mainstream politics. The core idea of populism rests with the claim to act in the name of the ‘pure people’ and to defend their interest against the ‘corrupt elite’ (Mudde 2004). The project explores the discursive construction of the ‘people’ in Polish political discourses across the political spectrum. It evaluates how the produced image sits within the broader historical discursive production of ‘Poles’ and their qualities. The overall objectives are to:
- Explore communicative strategies, the use of official on-line portals by political parties and social groups and their use of social media.
- Examine the discursive construction of ‘Poles’/‘people’, attributed qualities and interests, criteria for inclusion and exclusion of ‘others’ across the political spectrum.
- Provide typology of discursive positions and understand the constantly evolving social interests as articulated by traditional political parties and newly emerging social groups and movements.
- Evaluate how the image sits within the broader historical discursive production of ‘Poles’, their qualities, values and interests vis a vis a range of perceived ‘enemies’ and how the respective discourses shape Poland’s position in Europe.
The project will compare the Polish case study with other European countries, such as France, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands and Spain where the idea of the ‘people’ undergoes constant redefinition. Through collaborative workshops, the project will compare the diverse understandings of ‘people,’ their characteristics and values, as well as discourses of groups included and excluded from the idea of a ‘nation’ across Europe.