© Bartek Molga


Karolina Wigura, Dr.

Sociology, Journalism

Kultura Liberalna Foundation, University of Warsaw

Born in 1980 in Warsaw
Studied Sociology, Philosophy, and Political Science at the University of Warsaw and the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich


Emotions in Politics

Emotions are an ever more important component of contemporary politics. This is partly due to the rise of illiberal politics where the use of emotion-based strategies is typical, and partly to a broader emotional turn in politics in general: a phenomenon that Pierre Hassner has called the "revenge of passions". Strategies based on fear, disgust, nostalgia, hope or love, are used by politicians all over Europe to mobilize people socially.
The number of studies of emotions has been growing rapidly since the 1970s. Some of these studies have been devoted to emotions in politics - the most important are the works by Jon Elster, Robert Solomon, Martha Nussbaum, and Ronald de Sousa. There are, however, no comparative studies of emotions-based strategies used in various countries in the European Union within a given framework and political context. Also, the humanities and mainstream comparative politics have been slow to explore the role of emotions in political competition among actors.
During my stay at the Wissenschaftskolleg I will focus on a project that fills these gaps 1) by providing a novel theoretical framework for understanding the importance of emotions in comparative politics and 2) by using this framework to analyse a few case studies, understood as speeches of leading politicians, involving the politics of emotions within four nation states in relation to the refugee crisis - Austria, Germany, Poland, and the UK. My research objectives are these: 1) to articulate a new theoretical framework for understanding the importance of emotions for politics; 2) to document, from a comparative European perspective, the extent to which emotion-based strategies shape the pursuit and exercise of power.

Recommended Reading

Wigura, Karolina. Wynalazek nowoczesnego serca: Filozoficzne zródla wspólczesnego myslenia o emocjach. Warsaw: Wydawnictwo Naukowe Scholar, 2019.
-. "Declarations of Forgiveness and Remorse in European Politics." European Legacy: Toward New Paradigms 22, 1 (2017): 16-30.
-. "Alternative Historical Narrative: ‘Polish Bishops' Appeal to their German Colleagues' of 18 November 1965." East European Politics and Societies 27, 3 (2012): 400-412.

Publications from the Fellows' Library

Wigura, Karolina ( Warszawa, 2019)
Wynalazek nowoczesnego serca : filozoficzne źródła współczesnego myślenia o emocjach

Wigura, Karolina ( Essex, 2017)
Declarations of forgiveness and remorse in European politics

Wigura, Karolina ( Berlin, 2016)
Dämonologie : Polen vor vier verlorenen Jahren

Wigura, Karolina ( 2015)
Helle und dunkle Solidarität - Polens Blick auf die Ukraine

Wigura, Karolina ( Göttingen, 2015)
Gefährdete Nachbarschaften - Ukraine, Russland, Europäische Union Valerio ; 17 (2015)

Wigura, Karolina ( Thousand Oaks, Calif., 2012)
Alternative historical narrative : “Polish Bishops’ Appeal to Their German Colleagues” of 18 November 1965

Wigura, Karolina ( Gdańsk [u.a.], 2011)
Wina narodów : przebaczenie jako strategia prowadzenia polityki


'Guter Wandel' oder neuer Autoritarismus? Polens Demokratie in der Bewährungsprobe



19 89 19 - Thirty Years after the Round Tables


Thursday Colloquium12/12/19

Can Emotions Help Us Think about Politics? From the History of Ideas to Political Philosophy (and back)