"We must keep up the fight for democracy": Emotions and collective memory work in the context of public gay and lesbian activism in Poland
School of Languages and Social Sciences Aston University Birmingham, United Kingdom
In this paper, I focus on the spatial and emotional constitution of protest in the context of gay and lesbian public activism in Poland, on the basis of case study of the Poznan March of Equality. The event took place on 19 November 2005, despite an earlier ban issued by the Mayor of the city, following the recent rise of right-wing parties in power. The brutal break-up of the peaceful demonstration by the police sparked a discussion on broader issues of freedom of assembly and the state of Polish democracy. Through the narratives of March of Equality organizers, I look at the ways in which the activists engaged in the practices of collective memory work and emotion work, focusing specifically on anger, fear and euphoria. I call for discussion of emotions of public protest in the context of sexual citizenship. In particular, I look at the ways in which the spatial and emotional context of collective memory work enabled the activists to inscribe the event into the narrative of Polish 1980s Solidarity activism. This way, my analysis contributes to research that looks at the ways in which less-privileged groups engage in collective memory work in order to challenge their subordination and reclaim citizenship.