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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: 3.134

"Black Monday" and "Chain of Light". The politics of civil resistance in Poland


  • Dr. Wojciech DOHNAL

Primary authors

  • Dr. Wojciech DOHNAL (Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań)


In the paper I analyze two events. The first one, known as "Black Monday", took place in October 2016. It was a mass demonstration (strike) of Polish women against the government announcements of tightening the abortion law. The second, which took place in July 2017, was the ""Chain of Light"" - a series of civil demonstrations all across the country against so called ""reform of the judical system"" which the protesters considered to be breaking the Polish Constitution. These two events perfectly illustrate the complexity of the phenomenon of civil resistance and its entanglement in the cultural and social context. Although the organizers and participants of Black Monday and Chain of Light claimed that their actions had nothing to do with politics (according to them they were antipolitical), the political dimension of both protest was evident. They were aimed at transforming power relations, were expressing endeavors and aspirations of people who considered themselves subordinated to authoritarian power and were evoking social mobilization, even if they were not quiet political either in terms of form or content (in comparison to conventional political actions). My argument is that ""Black Monday"" and ""Chain of Light"" can be situated between large scale revolution and small scale resistance, so it is eligible to interpret them in terms of infra- or sub-politics.