Threatening or Benevolent Hegemon?

How Polish Political Elites Frame Their Discourse on “German Hegemony”

in German Politics and Society
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  • 1 Political Science, University of Leipzig, Germany
  • 2 Political Science, Willy Brandt Center for German and European Studies, University of Wrocław, Poland
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In the political science literature, we can find various approaches to Germany's “alleged” hegemony. In the article we examine the images of Germany among the Polish political parties between 2014 and 2017 to better understand their different attitudes toward Germany in the context of Polish foreign policy. We distinguish four types of images of Germany: benevolent hegemon, malicious hegemon, tamed hegemon, and non-hegemon. The left and center parties (the Nowoczesna, the po, the sld) viewed Germany as a benevolent hegemon, strengthening Poland's position at the international level, and also as a tamed hegemon (restricted by the eu and nato). The right-wing and nationalist parties (the Kukiz 15, the PiS, the sp) perceived Germany as a malicious hegemon that conducts hostile foreign policy against Poland. Two remaining parties adopted “peculiar” approaches toward Germany: the psl treated Germany simultaneously as a benevolent and malicious hegemon, whereas tr treated Germany only as a tamed one.

Contributor Notes

Ireneusz Pawel Karolewski is a Professor of Political Theory and Democracy Research at the University of Leipzig (Germany). His main areas of research are democracy, collective identity, and nationalism in Europe

Maciej Olejnik is an Assistant Professor in the Chair of Political Science at the Willy Brandt Center for German and European Studies, University of Wrocław (Poland). His research covers the topics of lobbying and industrial relations as well as processes of democratization in the Central and Eastern European countries.