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ECPR Standing Group on the European Union 10th Biennial Conference LUISS, Rome

And If Gender Ideology Opponents are Right? Gender Politics, Europeanisation and Anti-Colonialism

Europeanisation through Law
Marta Rawłuszko
University of Warsaw
Marta Rawłuszko
University of Warsaw

The aim of the presentation is to explain the strength of right-wing populism in Poland, driven by opposition to “gender ideology”, by the tools provided by framing analysis: categories of frame’s empirical credibility and narrative/cultural fidelity. I will use both concepts and qualitative discourse analysis to explain political wins of “anti-genderist” conservative discourse.

I will use a case study of Poland – an Eastern European country and EU member since less than two decades – to show how the process of Europeanization of gender equality politics coincided with Polish gender wars. I want to raise the question to what extent gender equality policies have unintentionally produced their own opposition, and argue that this local negative feedback loop has been closely connected to expert and bureaucratic mode of implementing gender equality policies, and wider vision of a Polish state slipping away from citizens’ control. I will show that gender mainstreaming – a strategy defined by international political structures and introduced as a an outcome of Europeanization, avoided public debate in Poland and thus could have been reasonably used by “gender ideology” opponents as a tangible evidence of secret coup d’État done by “genderists” and their government allies.

On the basis of formulated conclusions, proposing to treat gender wars as manifestations of wider tendencies involving people becoming “strangers in their own land”, I will propose some answers to the question on possible strategies of promoting +equality projects in times of backlash.
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