Europeanization on the Move
LGBT/Q Activist Projects in Contemporary Poland
Drawing on ethnographic research conducted in Wrocław, Poland, the paper analyzes grassroots workings of European sexual citizenship. Against this backdrop, it attempts to problematize a concept of Europeanization as vertical and horizontal diffusion which spreads specific ideas, practices, and institutions among actual and prospective EU Member States. Whereas (neo)liberal LGBT rights, seen as a symbol of Europeanness, have definitely inspired struggles for sexual freedom in Poland, abstract notions of Europe and Europeanization do not form an important point of reference, at least at a local level. Moreover, premises of European sexual citizenship are in many ways contested by non-heteronormative persons unwilling (or unable) to use this frame for the conceptualization of their own experiences. On the other hand, because the EU and neoliberalism constitute significant antagonists of Polish right-wing nationalism, this allows for a certain resignification of interrelated phenomena criticized elsewhere as ‘homonormative’ and ‘homonationalist.’ While these phenomena undoubtedly trigger specific inclusions and exclusions, they also have the potential to contribute to critical citizenship. Consequently, instead of grasping Europeanization in a teleological way, the paper argues for taking it as an image that may fuel social change, variously conceived of.
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