Why Nationalism?

Biographies and Motives of Participants in the Polish Nationalist Movement


  • Justyna Kajta University of Wroclaw


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The article is based on an analysis of four selected biographies of nationalist activists in Poland – taken from a larger sample of 30 biographical-narrative interviews conducted with members of organizations such as the All-Polish Youth, National Radical Camp, and National Rebirth of Poland (2011–2015). During the analysis of all of the collected interviews, three main biographical paths to the nationalist movement were distinguished: (a) an individual project (with two subtypes), (b) the influence of significant others, and (c) being ‘found’ by an organization. The paper explores four individuals’ life stories – each representing one of the paths – and takes a closer look at all three main paths, including the role of family political orientation, circle of friends, and interests. The analysis shows that the Polish nationalist movement can be seen as a space that allows individuals to meet their various needs (the need to resist the political and social situation in the country; to express their values, discontent, and opinions; to maintain a feeling of doing something valuable and important; to carry out social work, promote patriotism, and to engage in educational activities). Moreover, when it comes to explanations of the growing popularity of nationalism nowadays, it can be said that the nationalist movement involves people who are dissatisfied with politics and looking for grassroots alternatives; feel endangered by cultural (liberal) changes; are seeking a return to tradition and Catholicism; and who are looking for stronger narratives (those opposed to liberalism and postmodernism).




How to Cite

Kajta, J. 2020. Why Nationalism? Biographies and Motives of Participants in the Polish Nationalist Movement. Intersections. East European Journal of Society and Politics. 6, 4 (Dec. 2020). DOI:https://doi.org/10.17356/ieejsp.v6i4.602.



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