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Whose Poland is it to be? PiS and the struggle between monism and pluralism

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Since 2015, the Law and Justice (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość, PiS) governments in Poland have engineered a revolt against the post-1989 'liberal consensus' and a shift towards a regime rooted in executive aggrandisement, populism and nativism. In this article, we contextualise this shift in terms of a persistent ‘metapolitical’ dispute over the legitimacy of political actors and the contestability of certain areas of policy. PiS claims to be reintroducing pluralism to a Polish politics dominated by monistic technocratic liberalism. In response, the party has implemented a series of changes entrenching an even more exclusionist form of monism. Whilst economic policies have empowered social groups that felt excluded from post-1989 reforms, nativist cultural policies and colonisation of the political-institutional infrastructure have militated against the pluralist understanding of politics as structured disagreement. We conclude that Polish politics remains dominated not by disagreements over policy, but by the metapolitical question of who has the right to govern Poland.



Poland, populism, pluralism, monism, political parties

Journal Title

East European Politics

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Informa UK Limited


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