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Discrimination for the Sake of the Nation

The Discourse of the League of Polish Families against «Others» 2001-2007


Yasuko Shibata

This book examines the intertwined relationship between contemporary Polish politics and national culture by focusing on the phenomenon of discrimination. The object of the analysis is the language of the League of Polish Families, a populist party that recreated the climate of pre-war National Democracy in Poland from 2001 to 2007 by negatively labeling the nation’s Others. Through the political party’s discourse of discrimination, the book grasps a peculiar moment of Poland that faced uncertainty of identity upon its accession to the European Union. By adopting a method of critical discourse analysis, the author attests to the party’s political use of different layers of national traditions in denigrating Jews, sexual minorities and feminists while sanctifying the Polish nation.


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I. The Discourse of Discrimination against the Nation’s Strangers: Tools for Interpretation


The purpose of this starting chapter is to present basic concepts, methodology and analytical procedures for the discriminatory discourse on the “other.” The first section clarifies the concept of discourse and introduces the meth- odological framework appropriate for the discourse of discrimination. From among the studies of language that attest to the demand for interdisciplinary analysis, also known as the “discourse-historical approach,” I will adopt one of the crucial methods, critical discourse analysis (CDA), which combines assets from history, social psychology and sociology. Due to its euphemistic character, the discriminatory discourse requires a sensitive insight. In this respect, its lead- ing scholar, Ruth Wodak, suggests the potential of a cognitive approach that de- tects the tacitly shared knowledge behind the discourse, and encourages further cooperation with sociology. In the second section, I will conceptualize the primary actor of the discrimi- natory discourse, i.e. the “other.” Turning to the reference frame of existential phenomenology,7 the “other” will be clarified as a cognitive and power-involved figure of the “stranger,” and then juxtaposed to the ideological movement of na- tionalism. The nationalist, who is the other player of the discriminatory dis- course, will be presented as a social-phenomenological actor, who uses the “stock of knowledge” (Schütz, 1975) for the derogative categorization of the stranger for the nation. The texts produced by nationalists present their relevant choice from the Schützean stock of knowledge.8 The third section shows the procedures for the analysis of such texts, which requires an insight into the...

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