Working Paper 10

Europe as a Symbolic Resource. On the Discursive Space of Political Struggles in Poland

Artur Lipiński - January 2010                     Download

 

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to reconstruct the structure of discursive positions pertaining to the relationship between Poland and the European Union (EU). Such a problematization draws on the assumption that Europe is always understood in relation to the nation state and, in turn, the image of the latter is explicitly referred to or can be inferred from the vision of the EU. The analysis of the empirical data has revealed three discursive positions which organize the production of meaning and govern the strategies of representation. The first position represents the EU as a chance for the further modernization of Poland. The second position perceives the EU as the game of interests between sovereign nation states. The task of the nation state is to benefit from cooperation within an extra-state structure and to retain maximum sovereignty at the same time. The third identifies the EU as “a threat” hostile to the nation state and its interests. The chain of equivalence connects the EU with almost all negative social phenomena. The discursive analytical assumptions adopted in the paper help to show how the same topics and words (chance, threat, interests, nation, state, sovereignty, “Europe of fatherlands”, and modernization) acquire different meanings in the context of particular interpretations of other words.