Marta Kotwas

About me: I hold a Philosophy MA from University of Lodz, Poland. My current research focuses on socio-cultural interpretations of the rise of right-wing populism in CEE. In particular I work on modern Polish Catholicism, representations of patriotism and their influence on politics. As a pro-choice activist involved with a Polish grassroots movement Dziewuchy London I am also actively engaged in the public debate on reproductive rights and women’s rights in Poland as well as international feminist cooperation.

My research: My project is devoted to the cultural mechanisms that have contributed to the rise of right-wing populism in Poland. I want to develop an original framework suitable for analysing the connections and mutual influences between symbolic shifts in the “official” political discourses on the one hand, and the ever-evolving vernacular cultures, on the other hand. My framework will be constructed around the concept of kitsch, which I see as a key to defining cultural populism.

The difference my research makes: Investigating the mechanisms of populist support strike me as a pressing issue for present-day social sciences and I believe the Polish case presents itself as an excellent example which can be observed and analysed as the political situation unfolds. My interdisciplinary approach and focus on cultural mechanisms offer an opportunity to address the missing third element in the studies on populism and therefore complement the economic inequality and anti-liberal backlash theories.

Supervisors: Professor Jan Kubik and Dr Peter Zusi 

Pathway: Interdisciplinary Area Studies

Location: UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies


Twitter: @martakotwas