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27-31 August 2019
Poznań, Poland
Europe/Warsaw timezone
programme last update: 23 August 2019
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Contribution Paper

Poznań, Poland - Morasko Kampus, room: 3.44

Political identities as strategic solidarities and their polarizing power



Primary authors


In the times of “destabilised identity” (Erksen / Schober 2016), political identities become particularly distinctive strategic solidarities implemented in discursive declarations and performative practices, such as voting in elections, joining political demonstrations or campaigning online. What is more, political identities possess a public and ideological character; they engage imagination, memory, common sense, and entangle media content. They are not typical examples of identity politics but they also arouse great emotions; thus, they may be termed “communities of feeling” (Berezin 2001). Moreover, political identities always constitute an “unlimited” identity project (in Giddensian meaning), which continues to be processed, undermined, and subjected to various influences and constant impositions. The never-ending process of continual border negotiation (Snow 2001), the constant play of inclusion and exclusion relations, entangled in the awakened emotions, determine the power of internal solidarity and external hostility. This continuous polarization gives rise to political opponents, a “constitutive outside” (Mouffe 1992) against which the groups position themselves. This dynamic relationship of antagonism and mutual construction of polarized identities will be the main subject of my speech. The fieldwork material illustrating these processes comprises of records of interviews conducted since 2000 in the villages of the Nowy Targ County and at the city marketplace, in cooperation with successive groups of ethnology students from the University of Warsaw. I will also use the materials from Master's theses on political demonstrations (March of Independence) and from students’ works summarizing the "Political issues on-line" workshop, conducted by myself in 2017 and 2018.