Photo of Kinga Polynczuk-Alenius

Kinga Polynczuk-Alenius

Doctor of Social Sciences

  • PL 4 (Fabianinkatu 24)

    00014

    Finland

  • PO Box 54 (Unioninkatu 37)

    00014 Helsinki

    Finland

20142021

Research activity per year

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Personal profile

Description of research and teaching

I am on maternity leave until October 2021.

Racism without others: Everyday mediations in Poland (2018-2023)

In my postdoctoral project I cross-fertilise communication studies with disciplines such as sociology, history and social geography to understand racism in Poland where the racialised others are physically absent but continuously present in everyday communication. Decentring a recent racist turn in political and public discourses, I turn to the mundane communication avenues as sites where globally circulated racist discourses are articulated through the local socio-cultural and/or politico-historical repositories. In Foucauldian spirit, I examine how these discourses construct the racialised others as objects of knowledge and, in doing so, contribute to the augmentation of racist subjectivities in the Polish society. I theorise that in Poland racism is discursively instrumentalised to uphold the self-congratulatory national self-definition.  

The project pursues this proposition in three case studies. The first study probes how orientalist discourses prefigure representations of the racialised people and destinations that circulate in the blogosphere. The second study looks at how the discourse of threat, spuriously associated with multiculturalism, plays out in the national legacy media. The third study scrutinises how the discourse of un/worthiness of the racialised others intersects with the marginalisation of ethnic minorities in the built urban environment.

Project funding

May - December 2018 Finnish Cultural Foundation, Otto A. Malm Foundation

January - July 2019 Ella and Georg Ehrnrooth Foundation, Kone Foundation 

August 2019 - August 2021 Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies (Core Fellow)

September 2021 - June 2023 Kone Foundation

Teaching

Pedagogically, I am generally concerned with strengthening the critical thinking and media literacy skills of my students.

My teaching develops in two directions. In my primary discipline, media and communication studies, I have coordinated and taught in a Master's level course Finnish Media and Communication System (2016), developed and taught a Master's level small group method seminar on textual analysis (2017), acted as a tutor in the Globalizations: Politics, Economy and Communication Master's level course (2017) and as a guest lecturer in the Media, Culture and Society Bachelor's level course (2019). Most recently, I designed and coordinated the Bachelor level course Digital Media and Society (2020), which I will give again in a renewed format in spring 2021.

My second teaching area concerns the Polish society and politics, particularly as it figures in the broader context of East Central Europe. I have given a number of guest lectures in the Master’s Programme in East Central European, Balkan and Baltic Studies ('Refugee crisis' from the perspective of East and Central Europe: Representations and discourses of ‘refugee crisis’ in Poland, 2016; The Growth of Populism in Central Eastern Europe: Case Poland, 2019; Geopolitical imaginaries around the Baltic Sea: Mobility and migration, 2020), where I also taught a course on ‘Conspiracy theories and illiberalism in Central Eastern Europe’ in autumn 2020, which I had developed from scratch. 

Accordingly, I am available to supervise Bachelor and Master theses and co-supervise doctoral dissertations that deal with critical media and communication studies (especially in the area of digital media and technologies) and/or are interested in the Polish society and politics.

Research interests

I am a media and communication researcher interested in the role of communication and its contexts in addressing, or not, ethical challenges that face an increasingly globalised world. To study this issue, I promiscuously branch out into various adjacent disciplines, such as sociology, social and cultural anthropology, social geography, and literary studies. I defended my doctoral dissertation, titled Ethical trade communication as moral education, at the University of Helsinki in 2018. My articles have been published in academic journals such as 'Globalizations', 'International Journal of Cultural Studies', and 'Media and Communication'.

Education/Academic qualification

Media and Communication, Doctor of Social Sciences

1 Jan 201422 May 2018

Award Date: 22 May 2018

Fields of Science

  • 518 Media and communications
  • mediation
  • racism
  • nationalism
  • ethics of communication

International and National Collaboration

Publications and projects within past five years.
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