Polishness and Eurostyle in EU Brussels

Struggles over Europe in Bodily Performances among Polish EU Civil Servants

in Ethnologia Europaea
Paweł Lewicki Europa-Universität Viadrina lewicki@europa-uni.de

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By looking at the bodily performances of Polish EU civil servants in Brussels, I aim to show the colonial and racial legacy of Europe. I trace this legacy in struggles over an implicit and dominant European style that emerges in distinctions governing bodily performances in Brussels. This “Eurostyle” is firm but variable; it reflects national specificities and the modernity of Europe. Europe’s colonial power also comes into view through challenges to the Eurostyle, in performances of a resistant and more “religious” Polish body reflecting a self-imposed mission to re-Christianize Europe. Building on observations and interviews, my ethnography shows that a focus on Polishness in Brussels may explain ideological tensions in Poland stipulated by nationalistic and moralistic rhetoric as opposed to that of liberal and secular Europe. 

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