Friday, 31 March 2023 to Sunday, 2 April 2023

The power of belonging for (para)military security production in Poland

Sun2  Apr11:30am(15 mins)
Gilbert Scott Room 250


Bettina Bruns1
1 Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography, Germany


The annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014 and the current war of aggression against Ukraine have evoked militarization trends in many European societies. In Poland, too, new concepts of 'resilience' and 'comprehensive defense' have entered security discourse. On the one hand, this has led to new programs introduced by the state to engage citizens in defense and security, like the Territorial Defence Forces. Created in 2017, this part of the Polish Armed Forces consists of voluntary participants who engage in their free time in the military in order to support their own local communities and to strengthen patriotism. On the other hand, long existing, non-state paramilitary organisationslike rifle clubs (ZwińÖzki Strzeleckie) enjoy a revival of interest among the population. Both, state and non-state units, draw strongly on a sense of belonging in their military activities and their external media representation in order to recruit new members. Wearing the same uniform, referring to common symbols of the past or identifying strongly with the local community are example strategies to create a sense of belonging among the members of these (para)military formations. The presentation asks, which role the displayed sense of belonging within the two formations in the military sphere does play in their producing security and defense capability.