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Mediatizing Secular State

Media, Religion and Politics in Contemporary Poland

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Damian Guzek

The book provides an empirically based analysis of changes on how various political and denominational actors seek to influence the Church and state relationship, as well as how we understand the idea of the secular state. A set of case studies shows how and why changes in the coverage of the secular state and Church-state relations have followed the dynamics of media logic. By establishing a grounded theory based on media content, legal regulations and political party programs in the years 1989–2015 as well as a current survey, the author throws new light on the theory of mediatization. The book demonstrates that the disseminated idea of the secular state is largely a result of the adaptation of both political and religious representatives to a dynamically changing media logic.

 "The book is the first study of this kind showing the Polish perspective. It is an interesting and important source of information for those who want to trace the media picture of relations between the Polish state and the institution of the Roman Catholic Church, representing the largest religious community in Poland."

Professor Dorota Piontek, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań

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Introduction

Extract



Regarding the mediatization of the secular state

In Poland, a secular state remains the “pious wish” of opponents of religion in the public sphere. November 13, 2015, was the day after the swearing-in ceremony which opened the new term of the Polish parliament. On the largest Polish news portal, Onet.pl, a text with a significant title appeared: Sejm of the 8th term. How many deputies swore “without God” (2015). The author of the article named 27 deputies who took an oath without ending “so help me God.” Here, the author allowed the readers to interpret who was “righteous” or “wicked.” This figure shows that the Church-state relationship in Poland really does matter.

June 1, 2018, was the day after the Corpus Christi processions on the streets. The YouTube channel called Wolność24 – Wolność i już! [Freedom 24 – Freedom Now!] showed a new film with the Butterfly-man, a disguised performer who used to disrupt one of the big Corpus Christi processions every year. This time, the Butterfly-man chose the main procession in Warsaw. A report about his performance dressed as Jesus, in a dozen or so hours, was viewed by over 60,000 YouTube users. Here we can see that the controversy of the meeting point of the Church in public space has a significant reception and this is happening even faster than ever before.

Comparing these images, we perceive a certain scheme. Religion in Poland’s public space is doing very well. Those...

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