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This book explores how the countries of Eastern Europe which were formerly part of the Soviet bloc have, since the end of communist rule, developed a new ideology of their place in the world. Drawing on post-colonial theory and on identity discourses in the writings of local intelligentsia figures, the book shows how people in these countries no longer think of themselves as part of the “east”, and how they have invented new stereotypes of the countries to the east of them, such as Ukraine and Belarus, to which they see themselves as superior. The book demonstrates how there are a whole range of ideologies of “eastness”, how these have changed over time, and how such ideologies impact in a practical way on relations with countries further east.
Ideologies of Eastness in Central and
Eastern Europe
This book explores how the countries of Eastern Europe which were formerly
part of the Soviet bloc have, since the end of communist rule, developed a new
ideology of their place in the world. Drawing on post-colonial theory and on
identity discourses in the writings of local intelligentsia gures, the book shows
how people in these countries no longer think of themselves as part of the east,
and how they have invented new stereotypes of the countries to the east of
them, such as Ukraine and Belarus, to which they see themselves as superior.
The book demonstrates how there are a whole range of ideologies of eastness,
how these have changed over time, and how such ideologies impact in a
practical way on relations with countries further east.
Tomasz Zarycki is an Associate Professor and Director of the Robert Zajonc
Institute of Social Studies, University of Warsaw, Poland.
Ideologies of Eastness in Central
and Eastern Europe
Tomasz Zarycki
First published 2014
by Routledge
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and by Routledge
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© 2014 Tomasz Zarycki
The right of Tomasz Zarycki to be identied as author of this work has been
asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patent Act
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or
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British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data
Zarycki, Tomasz.
Ideologies of eastness in Central and Eastern Europe / Tomasz Zarycki.
pages cm. - - (BASEES/Routledge series on Russian and East European
studies ; 96)
Includes bibliographical references and index.
1. National characteristics, East European. 2. National characteristics,
Central European. 3. Group identity- -Europe, Eastern. 4. Post-
communism--Europe, Eastern. 5. Europe, Eastern--Civilization. 6. Group
identity- -Europe, Central. 7. Post-communism- -Europe, Central. 8. Europe,
Central- -Civilization. I. Title.
DJK26.5.Z37 2014
320.540947- -dc23
ISBN: 978-0-415-62589-0 (hbk)
ISBN: 978-1-315-81900-6 (ebk)
Typeset in Times New Roman
by Taylor & Francis Books
List of gures xii
Acknowledgements xiii
1 Central and Eastern Europe and the idea of the East 1
2 Central and Eastern Europe in a center-periphery perspective 16
3 The dependence doxa: Western hegemony and its naturalization in
Central and Eastern Europe 32
4 The intelligentsia doxa: the hegemony of the intelligentsia
and its naturalization 64
5 Post-colonial theory in the Central European context 89
6 The Kresy (old borderlands) discourse and its critics 115
7 The new borderlands discourse 152
8 Constructing new identities for Eastern Poland 175
9 Belarussian, Lithuanian and Ukrainian reactions to Polish
discourses on the East 229
10 Conclusions: critical theory in the Central European context 255
References 267
Index 285
List of gures
2.1 Visions of relations of domination of the two principal political
camps of Poland 21
2.2 Visions of relations of domination of the two principal political
camps of Ukraine 22
2.3 Visions of relations of domination of the two principal political
camps of Russia 23
I have been working on the book in the Robert B. Zajonc Institute for Social
Studies at the University of Warsaw. I would like to thank my colleagues and
the staof the Institute for their support of my project. I am also very
grateful to all representatives of several other institutions who supported my
research, in particular, to those of them who shared their advice and agreed
to be interviewed for the purposes of my research. I am particularly/especially
grateful to all my interlocutors and all those who helped me during my
research trips to Białystok, Lublin, Rzeszów, Vilnius, Kyiv, Lviv, Brest and
Minsk. The list of persons who inuenced my work intellectually would be
too long to t in this place. Here, however, I would like to mention Tomasz
Warczok and thank him for the intellectual stimulation and his precious
advice. He is actually the person with whom I have developed the Model of
the eld of power in a peripheral setting presented in this book. However,
neither he nor any other person besides me, bears any responsibility for the
way in which ideas in this book have been presented.
I would like to thank Marian Stefan
´ski of the University of Economics and
Innovation in Lublin for granting me his permission to reproduce parts of
two chapters from books edited by him:
Zarycki, T. (2010) Orientalism and images of Eastern Poland, in M. Stefan
´ski (ed.)
Endogenous factors in Development of the Eastern Poland,pp.7388, Lublin: Innovatio
Press Wydawnictwo Naukowe Wyz
.szej Szkoły Ekonomii i Innowacji.
——(2011) Eastern Poland in a center-periphery perspective, in M. Stefan
´ski (ed.)
Strategic issues of the development of the Lublin region,pp.95112, Lublin: Innovatio
Press Scientic Publishing House University of Economic and Innovation in Lublin.
These two texts have been partly used in Chapter 8.
The research I present in this book was nanced by the National Science
Center of the Republic of Poland (Narodowe Centrum NaukiNCN) within
the framework of a project entitled: Critical Analysis of the Polish Discourse
on the East(Krytyczna analiza polskich dyskursów o wschodzie’”;200912,
No. 4264/B/H03/2009/37).
This' book' explores' how' the' countries' of' Eastern' Europe,' which' were' formerly' part' of' the'
Soviet'bloc'have,'since'the' end'of'communist' rule,'developed'a'new'ideology'of'their'place'
in'the'world.'Drawing' on' postQcolonial' theory' and' on' identity' discourses' in'the'writings'of'
themselves' as' part' of' the' "east",' and' how' they' have' invented' new' stereotypes' of' the'
superior.'The'book'demonstrates' how' there' are'a'whole'range'of'ideologies'of' "eastness",'
how' these' have' changed' over' time,' and' how' such' ideologies' impact,' in' a' practical' way,'
The'introductory' chapter'of'the'book'presents' the'main'goals'and'assumptions.'The'author'
discusses' definitions' of' key' notions' introduced' in' the' book' such' “orientalism”' and'
“ideologies' of' eastness”.' The' chapter' presents' the' main' arguments' of' the' book,' which'
includes' a' thesis' related' to' the' unavoidable' character' of' negative' stereotypes' of' Eastern'
The' author' argues' that' dominant' visions' of' Eastern' Europe' may' be' seen' as' highly'
ambivalent' and' symbolic' inequalities' between' this' part' of' the' continent' and' its' core' are'
The'chapter'introduces'a'view'of'Central'and'Eastern'Europe'as' peripheries.' It' is' based' on'
the' perspective' of' Immanuel' Wallenstein’s' world' system' theory.' This' model' is' related' to'
centerQperiphery' cleavages' can' be' identified' as' being' characteristic' of' particular' zones' of'
Central' and' Eastern' Europe.' The' main' focus' of' the' chapter' is' on' the' soQcalled' antiQ
communist' cleavage' and' the' cleavage' based' on' different' attitudes' towards' Western'
domination.'The'role' of'the'soQcalled'ideology' of'antiQcommunism'is'discussed' towards'the'
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and'resultant'relative'invisibility'of'the'dependence'of'Central'and'Eastern' Europe'from'the'
called' a' “cultural' reductionism”' of' the' critical' discourses' related' to' problems' of' Central'
Europe.' These' dominant' culturalist' images' of' the' region' may' be' linked' to' mechanisms' of'
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The' chapter' introduces' the' notion' of' the' “intelligentsia' doxa”,' which' refers' to' the'
naturalization'and'resultant'relative' invisibility'of'the'privileged'role' of' the'intelligentsia,'in'
particular' in' the' countries' of' Central' Europe.' ' The' special' status' of' the' intelligentsia' is'
in'peripheral'regions.'The'chapter'discusses' the' role' of' the' intelligentsia' from' the' point' of'
The'chapter'discusses'Central'European' uses' of' postQcolonial' theory'with'special'reference'
to' Poland.' Such' uses' are' seen' as' recontextualizations' of' an' imported' academic' discourse'
into'a'new'context,' which'is'marked'by'a'specific' configuration' of'political'oppositions'and'
ideological' biases.' Consequently,' two' key' parallel' reinterpretations' of' postQcolonial' theory'
liberal' recontextualization.' Finally,' a' view' of' postQcolonial' theory' is' presented' as' a' new'
The' chapter' discusses' the' heritage' and' contemporary' uses' of' the' soQcalled' “Kresy”'
during' the' period' of' the' First' Rzeczpospolita' and' the' PolishQLithuanian' Commonwealth.'
Along' with' that' discussion,' contemporary' discourses' critical' of' the' Kresy' myth' are' also'
analyzed'and'some'of' the' questionable' assumptions' of' those' discourses' are' revealed.' The'
new' liberal' discourse' of' borderlands' is' analyzed' and' interpreted,' in' this' chapter,' as' an'
conclusion,' it' is' suggested' that' the' new' borderlands' discourse' may' be' seen' as' playing' an'
The'chapter'presents' contemporary' Eastern' Poland' as' a' case' study'of'the'reproduction'of'
old' ideologies' of' eastness' and' the' application' of' their' new' forms.' It' begins' with' a' short'
The'author'links' this'geoQeconomic'context'to'the'reproduction'of' orientalist'images'of'the'
region.' The' chapter' concludes' with' an' overview' of' internal' images' of' the' region,' with' a'
focus'on'new'discourses'of'regional'identity'within'the'three'metropolitan' areas'of'Eastern'
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in' particular' those' referring' to' the' region' between' Poland' and' Russia,' and' discourses' of'
countries'which' share'a'common'historical'heritage'with'Poland:'Belarus,'Lithuania'and'the'
intellectuals.' A' short' overview' of' the' uses' of' postQcolonial' theory' in' the' region' is' also'
them' to' some' of' the' key' debates' of' contemporary' Western' critical' theory.' It' argues,' in'
particular,' that' the' case' of' Central' and' Eastern' Europe' does' a' good' job' of' exposing' the'
ambiguous' status' and' implications' of' the' uses' of' contemporary' Western' critical' theory' in'
peripheral' settings.' Idealism' of' critical' approaches' may' unintentionally' reinforce' and'
... The use of postcolonial theory in Polish social science has grown dynamically in the last two decades, and it has been argued on many sides that the postcolonial perspective can enrich the understanding of Polish society in a historical and comparative perspective, especially focusing on the East-Central European regional context (Cavanagh 2004;Deltecheva 1998;Janion 2006;Kuus 2004;Owczarzak 2009;Skórczewski 2006;Mayblin 2016). Postcolonial theory has a number of proponents in sociology of Polish society, notably in historical sociology using the centre and periphery idiom and exploring the "people's histories"5 (Zarycki 2005(Zarycki , 2007(Zarycki , 2011(Zarycki , 2014Sowa 2011;Leder 2013;Rauszer 2020;Leszczyński 2020;Pobłocki 2021; for a critical review, see Thompson 2011;Gospodarczyk & Kożuchowski 2021). The analyses of the uses of postcolonial references and concepts by the political Right are also increasing in numbers, exploring, among other things, the postcolonial affinities of the images of the West, of the European Union andespecially -of Germany in the discourses of right-wing media, intellectuals, political parties and their supporters (Wise 2010;Bill 2014;Kajta 2020). ...
... That is why it is more useful to perceive them as parts of a framing process which does not lead to any predetermined selection of contents, but which displays certain clear structural properties. Postcolonial framing of national-conservatives in Poland may be simultaneously fueled by populist resentment (da Silva & Vieira 2019), search for authenticity (Bill 2014), "Polish postcolonial syndrome" (see Sowa 2011;Zarycki 2011Zarycki , 2014, or what Clare Cavanagh (2004: 88) referred to as a "distinctively Polish but unmistakably postcolonial sensibility". ...
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.
Mainly based on secondary literature and public sources, this chapter briefly introduces the profile and the programmes of the Open Society Foundation (OSI). The Soros Foundation was a crucial nexus for training and legitimating the new, Western-oriented, intellectual and political elites in post-socialist Eastern Europe. Through entangled channels such as an innovating gender studies programme and a funding line aimed at supporting activities of women’s rights organisations (NGOs), the Foundation integrated people and ideas structured within the Network of East-West Women, which had been one of its funding recipients. The OSI appropriated and circulated feminist activist concerns, while Eastern European “gender experts” in-the-making were amongst its grants recipients and collaborators.
Chapter 1 builds on the state of the art in the scholarship on women, gender and (post)socialism to introduce the epistemological and methodological options in which research for the present book was grounded. Framed as a complex, historically situated sociological object, the learning of “gender” after the Cold War interweaves transnational feminist mobilizations and East-West debates on the “woman question”, international programmes intended to the liberalisation of the former socialist countries, higher education reforms as well as circulations of people and ideas across borders and activity sectors. Original multi-sited empirical investigation focused on the 1990–2000 decade and on the social trajectories of Eastern European “pioneers” of “gender”. Their scholarly and activist work epitomises the processes that led to both the establishment of “gender expertise” in the post-socialist region and to the affirmation of women from the former socialist countries as a peripheral voice in the arenas of “global feminism”.KeywordsPost-socialismEastern EuropeGender expertiseTransnational feminismHigher educationInternational circulationsSociology of knowledge productionTransatlantic debatesEast-West divideDemocratisationLiberalisationGlobalisationTransnationalisationLocal-globalCritical geographyOther-ing processesSocialisation platform
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Providing a new picture of the socio-economic map of central Europe, focusing on Poland after several years of transformation, this book gives an account of the major problems of regional restructuring. The author identifies the opportunities and problems faced by particular regions, relating the Polish experience to the experiences of other central European countries, and provides a general picture of spatial patterns of transformation in this part of Europe. Successive chapters deal with: the general processes of transformation; the historic heritage of socio-economic space; the regional patterns of transformation; and the regional potential and regional policies. -Publisher
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