My first article in Social Policy&Society is published within a Themed Section Populism, Religion and Social Policy, ed. by Rana Jawad, Daniel Béland and Emmanuele Pavolini as Editors.
This article analyses two cases of populist mobilisation – namely, one against a primary school entry-age reform and another against WHO sexuality education and the concept of gender – that took place in Poland between 2008 and 2019. Both campaigns had a populist character and were oriented towards restoring social justice taken away from ‘the people’ by a morally corrupted ‘elite’. There are differences between the cases that can be analytically delineated by assessing whether a religious mobilisation has an overt or a covert character. While the series of protests against the school-age reform represents a case of mobilisation with covert religious symbolism, the campaigns against sexuality education and the use of the concept of gender are characterised by overt religious populism. To characterise the dynamics of the two campaigns, the study uses the concept of a moral panic, emphasising the importance of moral entrepreneurs waging ideological war against the government and/or liberal experts conceived of as ‘folk devils’.