Legal reforms as a tool of managing meanings in the Polish public sphere

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Author: Vasily Zagretdinov

DOI: 10.21128/1812-7126-2022-1-76-107

Keywords: populism; public sphere; management of meaning


This study addresses patterns of Polish political and legal practice. The author deliberately avoids analyzing reforms of the judiciary and other institutions of power and focuses instead on reforms in the public sphere. The choice of Poland as an object of research is not accidental. Poland and Russia demonstrate a dialectical connection. On the one hand, Poland and Russia are on opposite sides of the newly drawn line of geopolitical confrontation. On the other hand, despite their rather intense political confrontation, Poland and Russia demonstrate many similarities in their practice of governance in the public space. At the same time, despite their dramatic shifts in geopolitical pathways, they ironically continue to play an important role in each other’s existence due to inextricable historical ties. At the same time, this study is not focused on the classic research topic of populism, which is traditionally investigated in reforms of judicial and quasi-judicial institutions. On the contrary, the author draws attention to reforms in the public sphere. These reforms, according to the author, are an indirect way of regulating society by a populist leader. At first glance, not all of the examples studied lie within the sphere of classical constitutional and legal regulation. However, they nevertheless relate to the sphere of social relations in regulation of governmental and social activities that constitute the realm of public affairs and ultimately are a subject of constitutional law. The article will follow the practices of managing meaning by reforms affecting public meetings, security (including extrajudicial collection of information), sex education, artificial termination of pregnancy, media control and national memory management. All of these means are employed by the Polish government to cement convenient public discourse. According to the author, the mechanisms used by the Polish authorities are no less effective from the point of view of state management. These methods are also more beneficial to the authorities themselves by virtue of their mediation they are less subject to critical evaluation, while retaining the possibility of subsequent formal control.

About the author: Vasily Zagretdinov – Ph.D. Candidate, MJur, MSc (LSE European Institute), Moscow, Russia.

Citation: Zagretdinov V. (2022) Konstitutsionno-pravovye reformy kak instrumenty upravleniya smyslami v publichnom prostranstve Pol'shi [Legal reforms as a tool of managing meanings in the Polish public sphere]. Sravnitel'noe konstitutsionnoe obozrenie, vol. 31, no. 1, pp. 76–107. (In Russian).


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