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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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IV. The LPR’s Racist and Xenophobic Discourse: Cases and Contexts


The first “others/strangers,” who are targeted in LPR’s discriminatory discourse, and are going to be analyzed here, are the persons falling into the category of ethnic/national groups. After offering a clarification of the concept of racism as well as such core terms as “race” and “ethnicity,” the first section presents broader social contexts of the LPR’s discriminatory discourse, i.e. the post-1989 legislative framework regarding ethnic and national minorities, including immi- grants. The second and third sections offer detailed textual analyses of selected cases of the LPR’s discriminatory discourse based on “race” and ethnicity. The empirical materials belong to two of the most important “action fields” (Reisigl & Wodak, 2001) that impact on the public sphere: 1) the law making procedure; and 2) the forumulation of public opinion and self-presentation. The date chosen to separate analytical periods is set at June 2004, i.e. Poland’s first elections for the European Parliament. The second section examines MPs’ contribu- tions/declarations at the Sejm and press articles written by party leaders from April 2001 to June 2004. The third section then offers analysis of media inter- views, press articles, and election brochures from July 2004 to October 2007. There are certain changes within the discourse during the time set for the research. The analytical results acquired in the first period indicate that LPR politicians utilized such culturally-rooted racist/xenophobic rhetorics as the Jews’ on-going “anti-Polish plots” for destroying the good name of Poles and the need for promoting “Polish tolerance” based on Latin civilization to the whole...

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