Religious Pluralism in Poland, or How to Study the Non-Being?

Wednesday, 6 June 2012, 2:00pm - 3:30pm, IWM library

Seminar “Faces of Eastern Europe”

The paper that will be presented here discusses the conditions of religious pluralism in a predominantly Catholic country, Poland. In so doing, it inquires on the role the close relations between the Catholic Church and the Polish state play in shaping religious pluralism. The author looks into how do religious minorities respond to the state’s / church’s policies and discourses and how do they negotiate their position within the homogenous Polish realm.

By presenting the findings from an ethnographic study of a multireligious rural area, the paper aims at addressing three, deeply entangled, issues. Firstly, it asks what do local manifestations of religious pluralism tell us about a broader context of majority-minority relations: to what extent does the situation of non-Catholics in the studied area reflect some nation-wide phenomena. Second, while discussing the situation of religious minorities, it argues about the necessity to problematize the dichotomy ‘majority-minority’ and recognize those spheres of social life and those people’s experiences which contest religious divisions. This leads to the third point, namely the analysis of the post-1989 processes of history (re)writing and the question of their outcomes for the pluralism’s dynamics.

Agnieszka Pasieka holds a Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from the Martin Luther University, Halle/Saale. In the period 2007-2011 she was a fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle/Saale, and is currently a Junior Visiting Fellows at IWM.