The Unplanned Society: Poland During and After Communism by Janine Wedel (Hardback, 1992)
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About this product
- DescriptionSuccess always leaves behind a residue of yearning for what used to be and an aversion to the forces that did away with it. -Kazimierz Wyka, 1945 In 1945, after the devastation of World War Two and German occupation of Poland, prominent literary critic Kazimierz Wyka foretold and warned of the results of society repressed by impersonal government and excluded from ecomic decisions. His essay, The Excluded Ecomy, Clarifies the story of endless intrigue, manipulation, and accommodation in the name of survival. The parallels between occupied Poland and Communist Poland are apropos to Poland today, after Communism and Solidarity. The Unplanned Society begins with Wyka's linchpin essay as a focus for each of the other contributors. These newly translated voices of Polish sociologists, political and religious leaders, and journalists expose Polish society for the first time to Western readers by showing: oppositionists explaining their own elitism and their long reliance on Western funding; the proliferation of handel, or informal bartering that is the most dynamic phemen in the Polish ecomy: freelance traders whose ecomic clout helps shape political decisions and whose informal deal-making and loyalties have operated successfully for more than fifty years; the Church's ties to the Communist regime, its political ambitions, and the current anti-Church backlash in a staunchly Catholic nation; solidarity, as it dies the same death as Communism, in the throes of the anti-Solidarity backlash. In the wake of Communism's sudden collapse, Western experts have offered numerous plans for helping Poland reconstruct itself along democratic, free-market line. None will succeed, say Wedel and her writers, unless they also take account of these key themes. Wedel, who lived and studied in Poland as an anthropologist, has examined these inner workings of Polish society firsthand. She challenges Sovietologists who have explained Polish transition from Communism by the obvious visible institutions: the armed and police forces and state-owned corporations. Now that those establishments has disappeared, Sovietology is bankrupt, without models. The vital social networks have allowed the Poles to cope with the vagaries of the government system, Wedel argues, and the under-the-surface personal workings of these groups must be studied. These informal institutions are described in this readable and accessible book, revealing the transition from Communist domination after nearly half a century. The Unplanned Society gives Sovietologists, scholars, and political analysts detailed material to compare the Polish case with today's other East European examples for accurate assessment of the future of these changing nations.
- Author BiographyA Fulbright scholar, anthropologist, and journalist who began studying Eastern Europe before the emergence of Solidarity, Janine R. Wedel has lived in Poland observing the changes of this paradoxical nation. She is the author of the acclaimed The Private Poland: An Antrhopologist's Look at Everyday Life.
- Author(s)Janine Wedel
- PublisherColumbia University Press
- Date of Publication21/05/1992
- SubjectRegional History
- Place of PublicationNew York
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintColumbia University Press
- Content NoteIll.
- Weight681 g
- Width203 mm
- Height254 mm
- Spine0 mm
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