Our Man in Warszawa
Written by a Brit who has lived in Poland for more than twenty years, this book challenges some accepted thinking in the West about Poland and about the rise of Law and Justice (PiS) as the ruling party in 2015. It is a remarkable account of the Polish post-1989 transition and contemporary politics, combining personal views and experience with careful fact and material collections. The result is a vivid description of the events and scrupulous explanations of the political processes, and all this with an interesting twist – a perspective of a foreigner and insider at the same time. Settled in the position of participant observer, Jo Harper combines the methods of macro and micro analysis with CDA, critical discourse analysis. He presents and interprets the constituent elements and issues of contemporary Poland: the main political forces, the Church, the media, issues of gender, the Russian connection, the much-disputed judicial reform and many others.
A special feature of the book is the detailed examination of the coverage of the Poland’s latest two elections, one in 2019 (parliamentary) and the other in 2020 (presidential) in the British media, an insightful and witty specimen of comparative cultural and political analysis.
On page 166 of the book Our Man in Warszawa, in an excerpt from an article published in the Financial Times on 21 June, 2020, Ben Stanley was indicated as the author of the text. The person quoted in the Financial Times article was in fact Rafał Trzaskowski. This correction has been made for future editions of the book.
Foreword by Urszula Chowaniec
How to read the book
PART I: A personal voice
Chapter 1: Mr Kaczyński, The Guardian and me
Chapter 2: At her Majesty’s service!
PART II: An academic voice
Chapter 3: Modern Poland’s political blocs
Chapter 4: Post-post-colonial?
Chapter 5: The confused hopes of ‘civil society’
Chapter 6: Class struggles
Chapter 7: An imported middle class
PART III: A reporter’s voice
Chapter 8: Election-year issues
- Playing the race card
- When a man loves a woman
- Don't shoot the messenger!
- Still the economy, stupid!
- History: War and PiS
- Brussels and death
- Culture: reaching for the revolver
- Between Iraq and a hard place
PART IV: A lay voice
Chapter 9: Diary of British media coverage of the October 2019 parliamentary election
- Part 1: Floating frames
- Part 2: “Some losers”
- Part 3: Post-mortem
Chapter 10: Hiatus—the election that wasn’t, May 2020
Chapter 11: Diary of British media coverage of the June 2020 presidential elections
- Part 1: Britain’s centrist media picks its Polish horse
- Part 2: Round two
Chapter 12: Synthesis: Finding a voice between the sublime and the ridiculous