Webinar "Right-Wing Populism and the Normalization of Racism: Discursive Shifts, Immigration and Moral Panics in Poland after 2015"

This presentation draws on Prof. Krzyżanowski’s long-term work on anti-immigration discourses of right-wing populist parties (Krzyżanowski & Wodak 2009; Krzyżanowski 2012; Wodak & Krzyżanowski 2017) and takes a critical-analytical look at the case of Poland in the wider context of social, political and media responses to the recent ‘Refugee Crisis’ in Europe (Krzyżanowski 2018a & 2018b; Krzyżanowski, Triandafyllidou & Wodak 2018). The paper the seminar is based on shows that, in the Polish context, imaginaries of the ‘Refugee Crisis’ disseminated in political and media discourses have acted as very prominent catalysers and carriers of normalization of not only the unprecedented narratives of racism and hate but also of the deeper and wider change of public norms since 2015. Prof. Krzyżanowski illustrates that the strategic and opportunistic introduction of anti-immigration rhetoric in/by the Polish political ‘mainstream’– and in particular by the Law and Justice Party (PiS) – has in the last few years contributed immensely to the dissemination as well as eventual acceptance of discriminatory views in Poland. This, as he shows, often took place while conflating the newly introduced discourses of racism and Islamophobia with other and often indeed long-standing traits of such discriminatory practices as e.g. sexism or anti-Semitism.This presentation aims to depict that normalization processes in question have been part and parcel of a wider multistep process of strategically orchestrated discursive shifts (Krzyżanowski 2013, 2018a, 2019, 2020a). Therein, extremist discourses have been enacted, perpetuated and eventually normalised as elements of pronounced political strategies. However, the highlighted normalization processes have also entailed the creation of a specific, public borderline discourse (Krzyżanowski and Ledin 2017). Therein civil, rational and politically correct language has been increasingly used to pre-legitimise (Krzyżanowski 2014, 2016) uncivil, radical and extremist positions and ideologies thus contributing to the formation of a wider, and in effect explicitly exclusionary and nativist ‘common sense’.

Click on the link to access the article the seminar is based on Discursive shifts and the normalisation of racism: imaginaries of immigration, moral panics and the discourse of contemporary right-wing populism

Professor Michał Krzyżanowski holds the Chair in Media and Communication Studies at Uppsala University which he joined in 2020 after a distinguished international career spent at several Universities in the UK, Sweden, Poland and Austria. He is also a Research Chair in Communication & Media at the University of Liverpool, UK, and in 2018-19 was Albert Bonnier Jr. Guest Professor in Media Studies at the Department of Journalism, Media & Communication, Stockholm University, Sweden. Michał is one of the leading experts in critical discourse studies of media and political communication set in the context of dynamics of social change and socio-political transformations. His key research interests are in dynamics of right-wing populist discourse in CEE and wider Europe, in mediation and normalisation of racism and wider politics of exclusion as well as in diachronic analyses of discourses and imaginaries of crisis in European and transnational media. Michał is, inter alia, the Editor-in-Chief of the international Journal of Language and Politics and a co-editor of the Bloomsbury Advances in Critical Discourse Studies book series as well as sitting on a number of boards in various journals in critical discourse studies and wider qualitative social research. For more information kindly visit Uppsala University homepage.