This subproject aims to dive into the realm of Polish conspiracy theories from a cultural-anthropological perspective, focusing but not limiting itself to populist parties and movements on the right of the political spectrum in Poland.
Although indications of conspiracy theories and populism have been found in both right and left-wing politics in Poland, some of their manifestations seem to be more present and meaningful than others. What is more, some of the most popular conspiracy theories in Poland are deeply intertwined with aspects of Polish collective memory.
In this context, the governing Law and Justice (PiS) party is a particularly interesting example to explore. In the last years, PiS has been receiving increasing attention for being vocal about presumed conspiracies and enemies – both in and outside of the party, manifesting in theories surrounding the traumatic Smolensk airplane crash in 2010 or the Round Table talks in 1989.
On the other hand, the oppositional, far-right coalition of parties Konfederacja has also shown to be supportive of conspiracy theories and populist rhetoric, most prominently during the Covid-19 pandemic. Having become a refuge not only for vaccine-skeptics but proponents of various other forms of alternative knowledge over the past years, Konfederacja has established its reputation as an anti-systemic party between tradition and modernity.
Basing its research on ethnographic methods, the project seeks to explore the meaning of conspiracist tropes for these parties’ representatives, members and voters. Specific attention shall be paid to Poland’s specific history and collective memory, which has been saturated with negative experiences and which continues to fuel belief in conspiracies today.