Seeking ‘the New Normal’? Troubled Spaces of Encountering Visible Differences in Warsaw
Aneta Piekut 1  
,   Ulrike M. Vieten 2  
,   Gill Valentine 1  
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University of Sheffield
University of Luxembourg,
Publication date: 2014-12-31
Polish Sociological Review 2014;188(4):541–558
In times of globalisation and super-mobility, ideas of normality are in turmoil. In different societies in, across and beyond Europe, we face the challenge of undoing specific notions of normality and creating more inclusive societies with an open culture of learning to live with differences. The scope of the paper is to introduce some findings on encounters with difference and negotiations of social values in relation to a growing visibility of difference after 1989 in Poland, on the background of a critique of normality/normalisation and normalcy.On the basis of interviews conducted inWarsaw, we investigate how normality/normalisation discourses of visible homosexuality and physical disability are incorporated into individual self-reflections and justifications of prejudices (homophobia and disabilism). More specifically we argue that there are moments of ‚cultural transgressions’ present in everyday practices towards ‚visible’ sexual and (dis)ability difference.
We are grateful to the European Research Council for funding the research on which this paper is based as part of the project “Living with Difference in Europe: making communities out of strangers in an era of super mobility and super diversity”—a European Research Council Advanced Investigator Award to Professor Gill Valentine (grant agreement no. 249658).We also would like to thank two anonymous reviewers for their useful comments.