Ethnic Mobilization of the Kashubians after the Democratic Turn in Poland

Sunday, 10 July 2016: 13:00
Location: Hörsaal 5A G (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Magdalena LEMANCZYK, The Kashubian Institute, Poland
The Kashubian-Pomeranian movement is now one of the most – if not the most –  culturally rooted and recognizable group in Pomeranian Voivodship (Northern Poland). Its ethnic activity has a centuries-long tradition, including socio-cultural, political and economic aspects. It can be argued that over the years Kashubs developed attitudes and ideas of self-governance, self-organisation, and civic-mindedness – not only in Poland, but also in Canada and in USA. A crucial role in struggles around the rights of Kashubian plays the Kashubian-Pomeranian Association (Zrzeszenie Kaszubsko-Pomorskie, ZKP) whose members are engaged in the process of interaction with all levels of political agendas (local, regional, national). The best example is Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, former Prime Minister of Poland, and also co-founder and chairman of the Civic Platform (Platforma Obywatelska) party. Poland’s democratic breakthrough provided the Kashubian community with new opportunities and the ZKP started to play the role of a quasi-regional political movement but it must be pointed out that there has never been a Kashubian political party in Poland.

Civic engagement resulted in an increasing prestige of the community but it also led to internal debates about identity, the process of politicization, the commitment to culture and local activities etc.

Changes in the legal status of Kashubians were, on the one hand, an effect of democratisation

in Poland, on the other hand, a result of not always consistent regulations of the legal status of Kashubians, related to constitutional rights, educational and language issues, and access to the media.

The aim of this paper is to present the main trends of functioning the Kashubian-Pomeranian movement and its multidimensional effects that influenced symbolic and ethnic political representation, as well as the effects of the recognition of  the only regional language in Poland ie. Kashubian language (2005).