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The Rule of Law as a Postcolonial Relic: The Narrative of the Polish Right

  • Marta Bucholc EMAIL logo


The article discusses the use of postcolonial framing in the 2019 election agenda of Prawo i Sprawiedliwość. The main argument is that the framing of contemporary EU-relations as a new colonial dependence is crucial for the understanding of the backsliding on the standards of the democratic rule of law in Poland. A detailed analysis of the 2019 agenda focuses on five selected components of postcolonial framing: (1) creolisation of elites; (2) mimicry; (3) hybridity; (4) subalternity; and (5) voicelessness. The discussion of findings zooms in on the ways in which the postcolonial framing of Poland’s position in the EU is being used to question the EU rule of law standards. Thus, the article makes a direct connection between framing the EU-Poland relations and the reasons offered in domestic politics to undermine the rule of law.


Der Aufsatz bespricht die Verwendung des postkolonialen Framings in der Wahlagenda 2019 von Prawo i Sprawiedliwość. Das Hauptargument ist, dass das Framing der gegenwärtigen EU-Beziehungen als neue koloniale Abhängigkeit für das Verständnis des Rückschritts von Standards der demokratischen Rechtsstaatlichkeit in Polen entscheidend ist. Eine detaillierte Analyse der Agenda 2019 konzentriert sich auf fünf ausgewählte Komponenten des postkolonialen Framings: (1) Kreolisierung von Eliten; (2) Nachahmung; (3) Hybridität; (4) Subalternität; und (5) Stimmlosigkeit. Die Diskussion fokussiert darauf, wie die postkoloniale Rahmung der Position Polens in der EU dazu genutzt wird, die EU-Rechtsstaatlichkeitsstandards in Frage zu stellen. Somit stellt der Artikel eine direkte Verbindung her zwischen der Gestaltung der Beziehungen zwischen der EU und Polen und den Gründen, die innenpolitisch angeführt werden, um die Rechtsstaatlichkeit zu untergraben.


I am grateful to Marta Gospodarczyk and Mikołaj Golubiewski for their kind assistance in editing the first version of this article, and to the participants of the fellows’ seminar of Imre Kertész Kolleg Jena for their comments and criticisms. I acknowledge the support of Polish National Science Centre (2019/34/E/HS6/00295).


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Published Online: 2022-05-19
Published in Print: 2022-05-31

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