‘Refugees Not Welcome Here’: State, Church and Civil Society Responses to the Refugee Crisis in Poland

Narkowicz, Kasia (2018) ‘Refugees Not Welcome Here’: State, Church and Civil Society Responses to the Refugee Crisis in Poland. International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society. pp. 1-17. ISSN 0891-4486

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Abstract

The Polish response to the crisis that escalated across Europe in 2015, banning refugees from crossing its borders, has been one of the least welcoming in Europe. Poland has been reprimanded by the EU for its lack of solidarity with other countries that accepted refugees. The government’s response was that it does indeed welcome refugees as long as they are not Muslims, since letting Muslim refugees in would be a security risk. The figure of the Muslim terrorist posing as a refugee has become a key trope through which xenophobic nationalist politics have been employed. In this sense, Poland can be seen to be drawing particular inspiration from the Eurosceptic politics of Orbán’s Hungary while also reflecting a broader European trend towards Islamophobia in countries such as France, Germany, Sweden or the UK. This article maps responses to refugees from key public actors. It focuses on how three key players in the Polish public sphere — the Catholic Church, the State and civil society actors — responded to the looming perspective of welcoming refugees to Poland. The paper argues that the Polish response to the so-called refugee crisis should be analysed as subtext to a broader political change in the country towards nationalism that has as its goal to push out all foreign ‘invasion’. Mobilised within this are new and old manifestations of racism, suggesting that Poland’s long history of racial Othering and exclusion has not been sufficiently accounted for.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Poland; Refugees; Church; Racism; Islamophobia; Anti-semitism
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human geography. Human ecology. Anthropogeography
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Natural & Social Sciences > Social Sciences
Research Priority Areas: Environmental Dynamics & Governance
Depositing User: Kasia Narkowicz
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2018 13:12
Last Modified: 22 Sep 2018 02:18
URI: http://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/5976

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