Anti-EU and Anti-LGBT Attitudes in Poland: Considering Quantitative and Qualitative Evidence

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Abstract

The purpose of this study is to investigate anti-EU and anti- LGBT attitudes in Poland on the basis of quantitative evidence (statistical data) and qualitative evidence (discourse analysis of statements expressed on the Internet). As Euroscepticism seems to frequently appear in conjunction with prejudice against LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual or transgender) persons, the task of this article is to find out whether they may have a common foundation and what it may be.

A possible answer, as the article argues, is that both attitudes could be considered symptoms of a deeper, more wide-ranging and fundamental problem-a fear, tension, or anxiety caused by social change, especially the fragmentation of dominant collective (national) identity. The case for such an interpretation of the situation is first made on the basis of existing academic literature and statistical data provided by Eurobarometer and the Polish Public Opinion Research Centre (Centrum Badania Opinii Społecznej, CBOS). However, as the text further argues, such quantitative methods have their limitations and should be supported and illustrated with qualitative studies. The article thus proposes an alternative discourse-oriented approach, namely critical discourse analysis (CDA). This approach is used to conduct an introductory, presentational analysis of some examples of anti-EU and anti-LGBT discourse found on the Internet.

This analysis shows that sexual minorities represent values so strange and foreign to Polish conservatives that they can only be conceptualized as something imposed by the power which is both new and distant-by Brussels. And the other way round, the European Union’s liberalism and espousal of human rights, including women’s and LGBT rights, makes it impossible for the conservative parts of the Polish society to accept a “European identity”. This means that Euroscepticism and LGBT prejudice are not just occasionally, coincidentally connected expressions of an underlying resistance to change, but that a closer relationship exists between them. Namely, the conservative reluctance or hostility towards both the EU and LGBT is caused by their incompatibility with the patriotic and religious national identity construction.

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Baltic Journal of European Studies

Tallinn Law School, Department of Law, School of Business and Governance, Tallinn University of Technology

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