Accepted Paper:

Nationalists in motion: Polish migrants in EU and unexpected effects of Kulturkampf  


Łukasz Kaczmarek (Adam Mickiewicz University)

Paper short abstract:

Drawing on fieldwork among Polish post-accession migrants in Ireland I discuss their deeply rooted in historicism attitudes toward nationalism, belonging and right for migration to 'civilised' countries.

Paper long abstract:

Kulturkampf - aggressive policy of secularisation, and related orientalising convictions of German authorities (including Max Weber) on Polish cultural inferiority had resulted in one of the first ethnic cleansings in a modern nation-state history (so called Prussian expulsions, 1885). But terminology of cultural clashes and hierarchies promoted within its framework has paradoxically found numerous followers among its victims: the participants of Polish public culture. It is frequently utilised also nowadays. Obviously accents have changed, claiming adherence of Polish culture to 'Western' or 'Christian' civilisation, and its superiority over the more 'oriental'.

Therefore, in spite that since 19th Century Poland has been left by over 20 million of migrants, including war and political refugees, who frequently experienced a cultural discrimination, Polish educational system and public culture is rather avoiding this topic, focusing on those who remained on Polish soil, prising their loyalty, sufferings and heroism in the context of Euro-American history of civilisation supremacy, conquest and right to rule or, at least, to abuse.

Given such a background, many of my Polish research partners in Ireland, even those of rich migratory family biographies, are convinced that the Poles historically deserve respect and that they fought the privilege of belonging to European family. Many of them imagine the present-day newcomers according to narratives of their orientalising school and universities, and subsequently orientalising Internet social media and networks.

In my paper I discuss the historical international circulation of nationalism that also explain some seemingly irrational issues of recent populism's successes in democratic countries.

Panel RM-CPV04
Moving and moving again: embodied identifications along multiple trajectories