Defining National Belonging in the Post-National Era: The Case of Polish Repatriates and Privileged Naturalisation in Poland

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 8:48 AM
Room: 315
Oral Presentation
Katarzyna ANDREJUK , Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences 525-21-00-471, Warsaw, Poland

European countries are subject to many processes which deconstruct the traditional category of “national belonging” and make the political community more inclusive towards foreigners (developing the category of the European Union citizenship, mass migration flows). However, the notion of an ethnic community and the importance of ethno-national dimension still prevail. This is confirmed by political and legal measures, enacted by different European states which aim at enabling particular ethnic groups to obtain the citizenship of their ancestors. The objective of the presentation is to explore how various groups are included and excluded from a national community defined in ethnic terms. The paper involves an analysis of institutional arrangements regarding the privileged access to Polish citizenship, which have been developed in order to enable faster naturalisation for some groups of immigrants coming to Poland. The analysis will focus on the normative features of the privileged naturalisation and how they are interpreted by state officials. Various conditions of being acceptable for privileged naturalisation are depicted in the Law on Repatriation and include a mix of objective and subjective criteria which refer to ethnic, cultural and historical aspects of a nation. These measures, addressed to the descendants of Polish exiles, indicate how the category of “belonging to a nation” is constructed on the political and legal level. The presentation, set in a comparative perspective, also aims to answer the question why the policies of privileged naturalisation are commonly accepted in some countries (Poland) and contested in others (Hungary, Germany).