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Homophobia and national collective narcissism in populist Poland

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 September 2021

Richard C. M. Mole
University College London [].
Agnieszka Golec de Zavala
Goldsmiths, University of London [].
Mahmut Murat Ardag
Oldenburg University [].
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Opposition to sexual minority rights in Poland is among the highest in the EU. Populist political actors in the country repeatedly scapegoat gays and lesbians, presenting them as a threat to the Polish nation and its shared norms and values, particularly those derived from religion. Building upon previous research which shows how discourse constructing homosexuality as a threat to the nation has been used by social and political actors to legitimize homophobic rhetoric and behaviour, our paper shows whether nationalism—understood here as national collective narcissism—predicts prejudice towards gays and lesbians at the level of individual beliefs.



L’opposition aux droits des minorités sexuelles en Pologne est parmi les plus élevées de l’UE. Les acteurs politiques populistes du pays font de manière répétée des gays et des lesbiennes des boucs émissaires, les présentant comme une menace pour la nation polonaise et ses normes et valeurs communes, en particulier celles dérivées de la religion. S’appuyant sur des recherches antérieures qui montrent comment le discours construisant l’homosexualité comme une menace pour la nation a été utilisé par les acteurs sociaux et politiques pour légitimer la rhétorique et les comportements homophobes, notre article vise à montrer dans quelle mesure le nationalisme – compris ici comme un narcissisme collectif national – prédit des préjugés envers les gays et les lesbiennes au niveau des croyances individuelles.



In Polen ist der Widerstand gegen die Rechte sexueller Minderheiten im Vergleich zu anderen EU-Staaten am höchsten. Populistische politische Akteure Polens machen Schwule und Lesben immer wieder zum Sündenbock und stellen sie als Bedrohung der polnischen Nation und ihrer gemeinsamen Normen und Werte dar, insbesondere derer, die sich aus der Religion ableiten lassen. Aufbauend auf früheren Forschungen über soziale und politische Akteure, die homophobe Rhetorik und Verhalten legitimieren, indem sie die Homosexualität als nationale Bedrohung darstellen, untersucht unser Beitrag, in welchem Maße der Nationalismus – hier verstanden als nationaler kollektiver Narzissmus – Vorurteile gegenüber Schwulen und Lesben auf der Ebene individueller Überzeugungen hervorruft.

Research Article
© European Journal of Sociology 2021

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This project was funded by the Noble Foundation’s Programme on Modern Poland []. The project ran from September 2018 to October 2019.

We would also like to thank the two anonymous reviewers for their extremely constructive feedback and suggestions for improving our article.



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