National Memory and Divisive Narrative Building in Poland's 2010 Presidential Election
This paper employs the 2010 Polish presidential election as a case study to explore the implications of memory politics, examining the Law and Justice party's (PiS) use of national memory ahead of the June election. Through process tracing, this paper finds that the Smolensk Air Crash became the central theme of this race, which pitted Civic Platform (PO) candidate Bronisław Komorowski against the late President Lech Kaczynski's twin brother, PiS's Jarosław Kaczynski. Amplifi ed by the media, PiS selectively drew on easily recognisable events and figures from Polish history to construct an "Us versus Them" conflict of "true Polish patriots" - those who supported the party and its anti-Russian stance - and "Others" - those who, although sympathetic to the crash victims, favoured Tusk and his push for renewed Polish-Russian relations. The primary goal of this paper is to demonstrate how a historical memory approach can inform the study of contemporary politics - a subject which is too oft en left solely to social scientists. (original abstract)
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