EEGA Affiliate Researcher Bettina Bruns at the EUGEO Congress „On the Geography of Europe“
The ruling national conservative party PiS in Poland sees the country’s national interests and its sovereignty within the EU framework more and more suppressed. Particularly visible was this attitude in 2015 when confronted with the „dual crisis“ (Ágh 2016), namely Russia’s agression against Ukraine and the high number of refugees reaching the EU. These external political developments are perceived as putting Polish sovereignty at risk. Hence, the Polish government has stressed antagonisms between EU interests and Poland’s ones, using discursive security threats which have considerable influence on the population by calling on their subjective security perception (see Cap 2018).
This has resulted, among other things, in an increase in popularity of paramilitary groups overall in Poland. These groups operate on a voluntary basis. Originally formed as a grassroots underground organisation at the beginning of the 20th century, in 2016 these paramilitary units partly were incorporated officially into the Polish army as the so called “Territorial Defence Forces”. They are assigned to explicitly support their own local communities, to strengthen patriotism and to provide a feeling of security among the local population. These “low-budget-soldiers” (Schmidt 2017) who engage in their defending activities in their free time, shall also minimise dangers originating in terrorism and illegal migration.
Employing the concepts of “everyday security” (Crawford, Hutchinson 2016) and “securityscapes” (von Boemcken et al. 2015), this presentation deals with the ways local paramilitary’s security making is intertwined with national and supranational security policies and securitisations processes. What does the inclusion of non-state actors into the state’s security strategy in the light of observed supranational security threats tell us about the linkages between state sovereignty, territoriality, and security?
The lecture is part of the session „1.6. Geopolitics of Europe and European integration“ of the EUGEO Congress (Virtual Hall 6). For more information, please click here.