The Making of Satanic Collective Identities in Poland

Rafal Smoczynski

in The Devil’s Party

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199779239
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979646 | DOI:
The Making of Satanic Collective Identities in Poland

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This chapter examines the recent developments of modern Satanism in Poland through the lens of post-structural theory. A central thesis is that the collective identities of Satanists, especially online, are formed in dialogue with prevalent public articulations of moral panic. The anti-cult and anti-satanic stereotypes thus form an important symbolic background for identity work, forcing Satanists to define what they are not. This in turn is reflected in the positive ascriptions of Satanism, understood as an adversarial space appropriating well-established ideologies of emancipation and reason in contrast to the transgressions of “anti-Christians”. The chapter further relates these developments to post-foundational theory and asks the question whether this is Satanism at all, and whether the collective identities can be elaborated by turning to theories on new social movements. To discuss this, Durkheim's concept of solidarity is invoked to explain the move from “mechanic” groups espousing LaVey to more heterogeneous “organic” networks of post-Satanism.

Keywords: Satanism; Poland; cyber-Satanism; anti-cult idiom; satanic identities; discourse analysis; post-foundational theory; Emile Durkheim

Chapter.  5669 words. 

Subjects: East Asian Religions

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