On December 10th Dr. Inta Mierina presented a paper: ‘Does national and religious identity facilitate collective action and contribution to public goods? The case of Poland’.


One of the factors whose potential for collective action and public goods has not been sufficiently explored in the existing literature on civil society and social activism, is national and religious identity. Poland is one of the most homogenous countries in Europe both ethnically and religiosly. This, I believe, can serve as a source of solidarity, contributing to pro-social behaviour: both due to rational expectations (I will be better of if the group is better of), and affective feelings (empathy and care about one’s „own people”). Thus, the goal of this paper is to test empirically whether strong national and religious identity, attachment to Poland, and – possibly – national chauvinism can facilitate civic activism.
Among the possible positive consequences of religiosity and nationalism for the „in-group” are stronger community ties and community attachment, higher trust and preference for cooperation, as well as empathy and propensity to help others. This, on the other hand, encourages people to contribute to public goods and to engage in collective action: to join different groups and associations and their activities (e.g., political groups, organizations mobilising people to act for local community matters etc.), to donate, vote, and engage in mobilized activities, i.e., sign petitions, join strikes, and participate in protest marches or demonstrations.
The analysis is based on data gathered in Poland as part of the recent “Public Goods through Private Eyes: Exploring Citizens’ Attitudes towards Public Goods and the State in East-Central Europe” project at the Institute of Sociology, University of Warsaw.