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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Institut für Europäische Ethnologie

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Institut für Europäische Ethnologie | Termine | Institutskolloquium Wintersemester 2017/2018

Institutskolloquium Wintersemester 2017/2018

Wann 28.11.2017 von 16:00 bis 18:00 (Europe/Berlin / UTC100) iCal
Wo 311
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Migrants-phobia in Poland: from quasi-religious communism to post-communist religious nationalism

Michal Buchowski


The issue of contemporary migrants-phobia, and Islamophobia in particular, in Poland is addressed. The argument is based on the assumption that both historical developments and contemporary socio-economic circumstances condition responses to immigration in the post-socialist societies. Combination of several factors has led to the emergence of xenophobic attitudes towards ethnic and religious “distant Others”. In the first part, it is claimed that several socio-economic regimes (such as communism and neoliberalism) result from the similar to religious modes of thinking and represent quasi-religious cultural regimes. In everyday life elements considered secular and sacred are intermingled; at the same time, the assumption of progressing with modernization secularization of societies appears untenable. In the second part, intricate ties between religion and nationalism, as well as various ways of studying these relations are reviewed. In the third part, examples of a sacralisation of the socio-cultural images and social practices in post-communist countries are described. They exemplify how in specific post-communist circumstances nationalism has been closely tied with religion. In the fourth part, argument is made that fused with Christian values idea of the “sacred Polish nation” creates a coherent and impermeable ideological system that rejects lifestyles, cultural features and their bearers considered foreign and culturally distant. Muslims are seen as ultimate aliens endangering security and homogeneity of the sacralised imagined community. All these phenomena are interpreted in anthropological terms of cultural apartheid and fundamentalism. A figure of ‘distant Others’ is considered as a rhetorical device which helps also to create exclusive moral unity of the ‘true patriots’ opposed to ‘internal Others’, i.e. ‘pinkos/left wingers’, ‘gender ideologists’, and ‘cosmopolitans’.