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Accepted Paper:

Modernization á l'européenne. Critical social sciences and the LGBT rights in contemporary Poland  


Monika Baer (University of Wrocław)

Paper short abstract:

In the context of the EU-funded action research projects in the field of LGBT rights, in the proposed paper I analyze how their specific dynamics work for and against empowerment of critical social sciences in an increasingly conservative environment of contemporary Poland.

Paper long abstract:

In the case of formerly socialist CEE countries a process of the EU accession is commonly envisioned as a form of modernization. The EU-related version of modernity requires implementation of human rights regimes, including (neo)liberal model of sexual citizenship (Ammaturo 2017). Against this backdrop, the EU-funded action research projects conducted in the EU Member States aim at assessment of the current state of affairs and exchange of "best practices" in the realm of cultural and legal LGBT rights. Their underlying premises purpose to measure a degree of modernity or backwardness in this respect. But, the effectiveness of such tools of modernization become problematic in a country where the LGBT rights are not the main frame of reference for non-heteronormative experience, and right-wing politicization of knowledge precludes putting the project findings into practice.

In the proposed paper I investigate ambivalent workings of modernization á l'européenne on the example of two EU-based action research projects focused on cultural and legal LGBT rights, and conducted in Wroclaw, a city in southwestern Poland. Drawing on analytical insights of postcolonial and postsocialist studies, I discuss how diversified ideas of socialism, backwardness, Europe, the EU, modernity, neoliberalism, the LGBT rights, right-wing nationalism, the nation state and the like, work both for and against the empowerment of critical social sciences in culturally and politically conservative environment of contemporary Poland. In particular, I analyze how the aforementioned entanglements give rise to and/or problematize various materializations of the West/East divide.

Panel R003
Critical social sciences in Eastern and Central Europe: No future? [ENQA]