Suburbanization of the Self: Religious Revival and Socio‐Spatial Fragmentation in Contemporary Poland


In this article, I trace the elective affinity between planetary suburbanization and emergent forms of radical religiosity. I show how the centuries‐long spatial hegemony of the Catholic Church in Poland has recently been undermined by the ‘fundamentalist’ broadcaster Radio Maryja—the bellwether of the Polish right‐wing nationalist resurgence. I describe the twentieth‐century suburbanization of both the state and Catholicism in Poland, supported by an analysis of a village‐cum‐suburb in one of Poland’s largest agglomerations. I show how the latest wave of suburbanization, triggered by Poland’s opening up to global flows of capital in 2004, ran parallel to the emergence of a ‘post‐secular’, ‘individual’ and ‘intellectual’ strain of faith. I tie these in with the life stories and changes in gender and labour regimes of two key informants. I also show that the surge of right‐wing nationalism should not be understood as a backlash against neoliberalization, but that it represents instead a project of regime change and new elite formation.