UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


Linkages between civil and political society in Poland: Women’s mobilisation and liberal democracy

16 May 2019, 6:00 pm–8:00 pm

EU Protest

This event is part of the SSEES Research Student Seminar Series. Join us to hear SSEES research students discuss their projects. On the 22nd November, Carolin Heilig with : Linkages between civil and political society in Poland: Women’s mobilisation and liberal democracy and Paulina Lenik with Where is the red line? Determinants of Economic Populism in Central and Eastern Europe.

This event is free.

Event Information

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Engineering Front Executive Suite 103

The main objective of my project is to investigate the role of civil society actors and political parties in the democratic regression and the struggle for sustaining liberal democracy in Poland. The project wants to examine the linkages between civic and political actors, using women’s mobilisation as a specific field of civil society that stretches across the whole ideological spectrum. While the importance of women and traditional gender roles in Polish national identity is acknowledged in the literature, comparatively little has been researched regarding their active agency when it comes to the phenomena of populism and democratic regression.

This project further wants to contribute to the academic debate on intersection of political parties and civil society actors for sustaining or endangering liberal democracy. Employing Social Network Analysis (SNA) on the case study of the city of Kraków, this project wants to identify who acts as gatekeeper or mediator within and among ideologically different subgroups, allowing for comparison between these. As attributes of individual actors can be accounted for in SNA, this can also help to evaluate the power balance between political and civil society actors. To achieve a deeper understanding of the linkages between the identified actors this project will further rely on qualitative in-depth interviews and potentially further ethnographic methods, such as participant observation.

About the Speaker

Carolin Heilig


Carolin Heilig is a MPhil candidate and an Early Stage Researcher in the Horizon 2020 “FATIGUE: Delayed Transformational Fatigue in Central and Eastern Europe: Responding to the Rise of Illiberalism/Populism” project. In 2018, she graduated from St Antony’s College, University of Oxford, where she studied Russian and East European Studies (MSc) at the School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies and where her research focused on women’s rights activism in Poland. Her research interests focus on civil society and liberal democracy in Poland.