• Jakob Møller Hansen
  • Iulia Mihaela Szombati
  • Isabel Jerne
This thesis investigates how Polish political discourse contests neo-traditionalism when framing national identity, with an attempt to answer the research question: How do Polish politicians frame national identity discourse to defend or contest neo-traditionalist values at the European Parliament?. This thesis undertakes a Qualitative Discourse Analysis of three debates held in the European Parliament regarding three controversial cases where Poland played a main role. The thesis is based on the conceptualization of neo-traditionalism and on the theoretical concept of ‘imagined communities’, which supports our understanding of national identity. Constructivism is used as an underlying theoretical approach that serves to understand political power in an international setting, discussing it in the context of normative power structure. Specific emphasis is given to the neo-traditionalist idea that a liberal (Western) hegemony challenges the system of values in Poland. While the neo-traditionalist literature has focused on several elements of neo-traditionalism, it does not address international relations and power balance in IR. The authors show how the framing of national identity in Poland is highly polarized within the discourse delivered at the European Parliament. While at first, the speeches by politicians of the populist party Prawo i Sprawiedliwość (PiS) seemed to have expressed overarching support for EU values (democracy, freedom), a deeper analysis of the speeches demonstrated otherwise. It demonstrated that PiS-aligned speakers addressed support for democracy and freedom in their favor, to justify their breach of EU Rule of Law, the abortion ban and the LGBT-free zones, in fact describing EU openness towards LGBT rights as ‘ideological madness’. PiS appealed to the EU Parliament audience, adopting a narrative of defending neo-traditionalist-conservative values rooted in the ‘rejection of liberal and progressive 21st century modernity’, nostalgia for past values and history, and desire to restore ‘collective ontological security’. Finally, the authors discuss how PiS-aligned speakers’ neo-traditionalist narratives challenge the EU, by demanding the EU to respect Poland’s identity and its sovereignty.
LanguageEnglish
Publication date21 May 2022
Number of pages105
ID: 471695632