‘We, the People’: political discourses of ‘us’ and ‘them’ Poland in a comparative perspective

London School of Economics

Project summary

The project is a collaborative undertaking between the London School of Economics (LSE) and Collegium Civitas, Warsaw. It consists of two parts: 1) research project, and 2) network building.

Part 1 – Research: The research project will explore communicative strategies and the discursive construction of the ‘people’ in Polish political discourses across the political spectrum. It evaluates how the produced image sits within the broader historical discursive production of ‘Poles’ and their qualities. The project draws on the three-dimensional model of discourse analysis suggested by Fairclough (1995): 1) textual; 2) inter-textual; 3) contextual. The model is based on the principle that texts can only be understood in relation to the social context in which they are created.

Part 2 – Network: Through an international conference organised with LSE European and US Centres and International Association of Press Clubs (industry partner), the project will bring together experts to compare the Polish case study with other countries (Hungary, France, Germany, UK, US and the Netherlands) where populist ideas continue to re-define ‘the people.’


Principal Investigator
Professor Charlie Becket

Founding director of Polis, the think-tank for research and debate around international journalism and society in the Department of Media and Communications. Charlie is also director of the Media Policy Project and Lead Commissioner for the LSE Truth, Trust & Technology Commission (T3). As well as being spokesperson for Polis, Media Policy Project and T3, and a regular blogger, Charlie Beckett is a regular commentator on journalism and politics for the UK and International media. He is the author of ‘SuperMedia: Saving Journalism So It Can Save The World’ (Blackwell, 2008) and ‘WikiLeaks: News In The Networked Era’ (Polity, 2012). Prior to joining LSE, Charlie was a programme editor at ITN’s Channel 4 News editing coverage on 9/11, 7/7 and the RTS award-winning series of live News From Africa broadcasts before the G8 in 2005. Charlie was a senior producer and programme editor at BBC News and Current affairs for ten years making documentaries and news programmes at On The Record, Public Eye, Panorama, Breakfast News and News 24 as well as producing the BBC’s 1992 Election Documentary and the obituary film for Harold Wilson. He started his career on local newspapers in his native South London before starting in TV at LWT. Charlie is a trustee of the European Journalism Centre and a consultant on media issues to a variety of commercial and public service organisations.

Dr Eva Polonska

Research Fellow at the Department of Media and Communications, LSE, where she is working on the role of international broadcasting in Europe’s public diplomacy. Her research focuses on media democratic transitions, media policy and political communication. She published two books: Transitions Revisited: Central and Eastern Europe Twenty Years after the Soviet Union in 2012 and Culture, Identity and Trade: Regulation of Television Content in the Enlarged European Union in 2011. She obtained her PhD from the University of Melbourne where she studied media and audio-visual policy of the European Union. She lectured in media and communications as well as in European studies at Melbourne and Monash Universities, Australia.

Project Partner/Advisor
Professor Stanislaw Mocek

A sociologist and political scientist, Rector of Collegium Civitas. He was Professor of Political Studies at the Institute of Political Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences between 1990 and 2014. He is Editor-in-chief of “Animacja Życia Publicznego” quarterly and “Zoon Politikon” scientific annual. He studies the relationship between the media and various spheres of public life, the journalists’ elites, political ethics and elites in the public life, as well as the animation and participation in public life. He is author of numerous books. In 2011 , Prof. Mocek was a Visiting Fellow at the Department of Politics and International Relations,  Oxford University where he worked on the research project Media and Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe.

Dr Marek Troszynski

Head of the Observatory of the Digital Civilization at Collegium Civitas, Warsaw; Lecturer at the Polish–Japanese Academy of Information Technology. He is also the president of the Local Knowledge Foundation – a non-governmental organization that aims to support local government and other organizations by providing comprehensive solutions in the field of social research and in-depth analysis. As a sociologist, he deals with describing the social consequences of the digitization of culture and the use of methods of Natural Language Processing in sociological research on discourse.