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Mediatizing Secular State

Media, Religion and Politics in Contemporary Poland


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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1 State secularity in context


Analyzing the relationship between religion and politics is no easy task. The 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in 2017 confirms that recent decades have not radically changed the weak ties between the Church and state after the turbulent entanglement of these institutions due to Martin Luther’s actions up till 1517. Religion, which at that time determined the functioning of individuals and entire societies, can now be interpreted as irrational, oppressive, and dividing people (Furbey, 2009). In the first chapter of this book, we undertake efforts to comprehend subsequent views of what remains of this engagement, describe the backbone of Church-state relations, the related ways to understand it, and the praxis of the secular state. We do this by explaining models of Church and state relations and focusing the attention on the notion of a secular state, its further characteristics and associations with other areas of the social world. Thanks to this, it is possible to embed the seemingly abstract idea of a secular state into the context of reflections on Poland. As a result of these considerations, we prepare the ground for the subsequent conceptualization of the secular state’s mediatization process.

1.1 Shaping the Church-state relationship according to models

The subtitle of this book, Media, Religion and Politics in Contemporary Poland reveals our intention to look at the relationship between the world of religion and politics through the prism of the media. Before we examine the mutual relationships among these three components, we...

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