The Polish Systemic Residue or the Question of the Role of the Countryside and the Peasantry in the Process of Systemie Transformation Cover Image
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The Polish Systemic Residue or the Question of the Role of the Countryside and the Peasantry in the Process of Systemie Transformation
The Polish Systemic Residue or the Question of the Role of the Countryside and the Peasantry in the Process of Systemie Transformation

Author(s): Krystyna Szafraniec
Subject(s): Social Sciences
Published by: Polskie Towarzystwo Socjologiczne
Keywords: peasants; countryside; social change; social development

Summary/Abstract: The Polacy (Poles) survey conducted in 1980-2000 gives rise to the thesis that the countryside and the peasantry are a specific form of systemie residue. This residue is our "sediment," our unresolved problem which has been passed on to each eonsecutive stage of social development and has weakened the system's structural willingness to undertake more and more complex tasks resulting from Poland's opening up to the West, world-wide economic trends etc. This article also argues that the Polish eountryside, and particularly the Polish peasants, are playing an extremely important if still ambivalent part in the process of social change. Just as in the post-World War II days, the days of "construction of socialism," the peasants are the moderators of profound and painful systemic change. By taking upon their shoulders a lion's share of the costs of transformation, they are softening the impact of social upheaval. And although they are the reason why the transformation, which could have been quicker and more dynamic, is merely proceeding at a very moderate pace and tending to be a bit fuzzy, they can also be credited for the fact that the transformation is less disruptive for the system and is not generating as much social tension as it might have. On the other hand, continual economic exploitation of the village has depleted its resources. Further change will depend to a much greater extent on the wider social context and above all on changes on the labour market and successful educational reform. Lack of an active and sensible policy will lead to the freezing of the current situation in the Polish village and Poland will enter its next phase of change carrying the burden of systemie residue, unable to meet new challenges and watching on as countries continue to overtake her.

  • Issue Year: 147/2004
  • Issue No: 3
  • Page Range: 219-243
  • Page Count: 25
  • Language: English