Skip to main content
Login | Suomeksi | På svenska | In English

Browsing by Author "Kurki-Suonio, Sara"

Sort by: Order: Results:

  • Kurki-Suonio, Sara (2023)
    Since the rise of the Law and Justice (PiS) party to power in 2015 the PiS government's reforms have led to a deterioration of the rule of law, which has caused growing tensions in Polish-EU relations. Poland has come under scrutiny for its policies undermining the rule of law principle and is perceived to threaten European integration by challenging the EU’s values. PiS’ time in office coincides with the trend of the success of right-wing populist parties in the CEE which has generated increased academic interest in the region. Despite growing interest towards Poland and the topic of shared values in the EU, studies on the perception of the EU in Polish internal debates have received less attention. A recent escalation in the rule of law crisis was seen in the Autumn of 2021, when the Polish Constitutional Tribunal ruled against the primacy of European Union law vis-à-vis the Polish Constitution. The Constitutional Tribunal’s ruling caused public uproar, sparking protests in Poland’s largest cities, and public debate ensued about the potential of Polexit. In analysing the Polexit debate by means of discourse analysis, the thesis examines what meanings the EU and Europe receive in opposition and government rhetoric. The thesis further explores how different meanings surrounding the EU and Europe are used in the construction of political identification of government and opposition sides. The theoretical frame of the thesis is based on social constructivism, post-foundationalism and Laclau’s theory of populism. By focusing on the Polexit debate, the thesis analyses the construction of meanings against an individual event which nevertheless caused debate that directly concerns the relations of Poland and Europe. In the analysis, the thesis finds that the opposition and government sides relate to the notions of Europe and the EU in contrasting ways, which enable them to build identification based on different conceptions of Polishness. Main findings of the analysis point to contrasting logics in government and opposition rhetoric which reflect the sides’ contrasting perceptions of nationhood; whereas the EU is constructed as a threat and an “other” in government rhetoric, the opposition aims to link Poland to the EU and Europe in constructing the opposition’s “us”.