‘Refugees not welcome here’: state, church and civil society responses to the refugee crisis in Poland

Narkowicz, Kasia ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3733-922X (2018) ‘Refugees not welcome here’: state, church and civil society responses to the refugee crisis in Poland. International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society, 31 (4) . pp. 357-373. ISSN 0891-4486 [Article] (doi:10.1007/s10767-018-9287-9)

PDF - Published version (with publisher's formatting)
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.

Download (534kB) | Preview


The Polish response to the crisis that escalated across Europe in 2015, banning refugees from crossing its borders, has been one of the least welcoming in Europe. Poland has been reprimanded by the EU for its lack of solidarity with other countries that accepted refugees. The government’s response was that it does indeed welcome refugees as long as they are not Muslims, since letting Muslim refugees in would be a security risk. The figure of the Muslim terrorist posing as a refugee has become a key trope through which xenophobic nationalist politics have been employed. In this sense, Poland can be seen to be drawing particular inspiration from the Eurosceptic politics of Orbán’s Hungary while also reflecting a broader European trend towards Islamophobia in countries such as France, Germany, Sweden or the UK. This article maps responses to refugees from key public actors. It focuses on how three key players in the Polish public sphere—the Catholic Church, the State and civil society actors—responded to the looming perspective of welcoming refugees to Poland. The paper argues that the Polish response to the so-called refugee crisis should be analysed as subtext to a broader political change in the country towards nationalism that has as its goal to push out all foreign ‘invasion’. Mobilised within this are new and old manifestations of racism, suggesting that Poland’s long history of racial Othering and exclusion has not been sufficiently accounted for.

Item Type: Article
Keywords (uncontrolled): Poland, Refugees, Church, Racism, Islamophobia, Anti-Semitism
Research Areas: A. > School of Law > Criminology and Sociology
Item ID: 30918
Notes on copyright: © 2020 (The Author(s))
Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Kasia Narkowicz
Date Deposited: 08 Sep 2020 10:34
Last Modified: 09 Feb 2022 10:38
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/30918

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Activity Overview
6 month trend
6 month trend

Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.