All posts by Aleksandra Sojka

Commentary on Polish elections for the LSE EUROPP Blog

Here is my commentary on the Polish parliamentary elections, published on the LSE EUROPP Blog 

The previous version of the post appeared on the “Who governs Europe” blog

Chapter in the book “Borderlands in European Gender Studies,” Routledge Advances in Feminist Studies and Intersectionality

I am very happy to announce that the book Borderlands in European Gender Studies, Beyond the East-West Frontier, edited by Teresa Kulawik (Södertörn University) and Zhanna Kravchenko (Södertörn University) to which I have contributed a chapter on whiteness and European citizenship in the context of East-West mobility. The book is part of the series Routledge Advances in Feminist Studies and Intersectionality, and according to the reviewers it is:

“A brilliant and challenging critique of hegemonic East/West, North/South, and three-world narrative cartographies of feminist theory from the positionality and epistemic lens of the Eastern European borderlands and post-state socialism. Theorizing Eastern Europe and the Balkans as the European “Other”, Borderlands traces a “cartography of absences” and makes a compelling argument for the significance of multiple, relational boundaries and borderlands as fundamental to a newly inclusive and capacious radical feminist project. A book that belongs on the bookshelves of all radical scholar-activists engaged in struggles for gender and economic justice globally.” –

Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, Syracuse University.

“This is a stunning and important critique. It brings a new perspective to the history of post-state socialism, thus “provincializing” the story Western academic feminism has long told about itself. The introduction provides a compelling reassessment of the terms of (Western) feminist theory, exposing its debt to Cold War epistemologies. The essays nicely demonstrate how new knowledge can be produced when the boundaries between East and West are courageously transgressed.” – Joan Wallach Scott, Professor Emerita at the School of Social Science, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University.

Section “Identity and Populism” at the ECPR General Conference in Wroclaw

Together with Pawel Karolewski (University of Wroclaw), I am chairing the section S23 “Identity and Populism” at the next ECPR General Conference that takes place in Wroclaw, Poland.

I am looking forward to the 8 panels and almost 40 exciting papers that we have selected in the section this year, you can check out the full schedule & abstracts here.

See you in Wroclaw!


Workshop on Euroscepticism at the University of York

Next week I will take part in the workshop “Euroscepticism and the future of international cooperation” and I will present my new work on migration attitudes and public opinion contestation of further EU enlargement.

The event, which is organized by Sofia Vasilopoulou & Liisa Talving, will take place on 7-8 May 2019 at the University of York.

Looking forward to our debates!

Invited lecture, Cátedra Europa, Universidad del Norte, Colombia

Next Wednesday, March 21, I will deliver a guest lecture on the experiences of Polish democratic transition in the framework of the international conference “1989-2019: The Fall of the Wall and the Transformation of a Continent” at Universidad del Norte, in Barranquilla, Colombia.

The lecture is part of the XXII Cátedra Europa, an annual event that offers an academic and cultural meeting space between the Colombian Caribbean and the European academic world.


Section Convenor “Identity and Populism” at the ECPR GC Wroclaw 2019

ECPR SG Identity is pleased to announce that we will be organizing a section at the next ECPR General Conference at the University of Wroclaw, Poland, 4-7 September 2019.

Call for Panels (with Papers) and individual Papers – Deadline 18 February 2019

S23: Identity and Populism

Section Chairs: Ireneusz Paweł Karolewski,  Aleksandra Sojka & Soetkin Verhaegen

Abstract: The surge in support for populist politics worldwide heralds a new period of relevance for identity politics. Populist discourses typically problematize the gap between ‘us’, the people, and ‘them’, the corrupt establishment. Furthermore, in the demarcation of the people, national, ethnic, religious, class, and gender identities are mobilized for political gains. Political discourse that relies on such strategies has increasingly become central in shaping the public debate in different contexts, often materializing in policy proposals targeted against those who are not regarded as part of the core community.

This brings us to the key issue of the identity-populism nexus, of central interest to this section. The background of this question is that identity and identity politics play a vital role in populist political strategies. As growing numbers of citizens in democratic countries (but also in semi-consolidated democracies, as well as liberal autocracies) appear to become disillusioned with pluralism and the rule of law, they become increasingly tempted by populist rhetoric. Populists offer simple narratives which often rely heavily on identity politics, to reassure citizens in an increasingly complex world. Moreover, and even more disturbingly, the discourse of populist actors related to authoritarian and anti-pluralist practices draws strongly on exclusionary identity politics.

Identity plays an important role in thinking about who are legitimate and illegitimate political actors, and the resulting populist calls for a radical restructuring of the state. However, populism might not be about abolishing democracy per se, as it thrives on the support of electoral majorities, in particular on the backing of disgruntled citizens who can easily be drawn into various types of identity politics. Oftentimes, real grievances of the citizens are given an emotional twist of anger by populist actors who construct new identity lines, which are drawn between those claiming to represent the legitimate voice of the people and the “others” of the lesser kind.

Against this backdrop, this section aims to look at the role of identity in populist politics in its different variations. The section is interested in why and how political leaders in democratic and non-democratic regimes appeal to nativist, majoritarian or ethnic identity, as they attempt to radicalize public discourse against pluralism and undermine the rule of law. At the same time, the more traditional link between identity and populism relates to political campaigns and political decisions to “exit” from larger polities (such as the European Union) or oppose international collaboration agreements (for instance, trade agreements). These campaigns often appeal to the sentiments of a narrowly defined identity and rely on the mobilization against minorities.

Furthermore, the section is interested in the following questions: Which identities are mobilized by populist actors, parties and movements? How is the demarcation of ‘the people’ related to claims of the illegitimacy of current governance arrangements? Which counter-movements or institutional reactions are observed where populist discourses gain traction?

The section is interested in the identity-populism nexus regarding the following issues in particular (if not exclusively):

• The role of identity in populist ideology/ Populism and identity-making/ Political mobilization of identity
• Populism and political legitimacy
• Identity and state capture by parties and private interests
• Politics of memory and populism
• Identity and the politics of “exit”
• Populist discourses
• Emotions and identity politics