The Specter Haunting Europe: Populism and Protest in Poland

Issue Date October 2016
Volume 27
Issue 4
Page Numbers 58-68
file Print
arrow-down-thin Download from Project MUSE
external View Citation

Read the full essay here.

The 2015 victory of Poland’s Law and Justice (PiS) party is an example of the rise of contemporary authoritarian populism. The PiS’s rise can be attributed to a cultural backlash against “long-term ongoing social change,” and not, as the “Poland in ruins” theory holds, against trenchant inequality or downward mobility. In spite of its limited core electorate and by virtue of a number of distinct factors, the PiS gained a parliamentary absolute majority; it has since drawn on this majority to dismantle democratic checks and balances. The PiS’s policies have led to intensifying xenophobia, aggressive nationalism, and unprecedented polarisation that have engendered deep splits within Polish society and have given rise to social protest movements not seen in Poland since 1989.

About the Authors

Joanna Fomina

Joanna Fomina is assistant professor of sociology at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

View all work by Joanna Fomina

Jacek Kucharczyk

Jacek Kucharczyk is president of the Institute of Public Affairs in Warsaw.

View all work by Jacek Kucharczyk