‘Amoral Familism,’ or on the Social Disintegration of Poland in the 1980s Cover Image

„Amoralny familizm”, czyli o dezintegracji społecznej w Polsce lat osiemdziesiątych
‘Amoral Familism,’ or on the Social Disintegration of Poland in the 1980s

Author(s): Elżbieta Tarkowska, Jacek Tarkowski
Subject(s): Sociology, Social history
Published by: Instytut Studiów Politycznych PAN
Keywords: amoral familism; amoralny familizm; anomy; anomia; Polish society; społeczeństwo polskie; family; rodzina; values; wartości

Summary/Abstract: In this article the authors reflect on human relations phenomena that were characteristic of Polish society in the second half of the 1980s. These phenomena were not new nor have they been observed solely in this society. They appear everywhere and are strengthened in times of scarcity. In Poland they were made more severe by the breakdown of the communist system and the crisis connected with the systemic transformation. This was characterized by a strong dualism involving: (1) the division of the social sphere into public and private; (2) the narrowing of the social sphere to the family, a network of friends, and informal ties—a division into ‘own’ and ‘other’; (3) a concentration on the present and on immediacy, with a dislike and inability to plan, think, or act in categories of the future; and (4) disintegrational, competitive, aggressive attitudes and behaviors, with a climate of distrust and enmity in human relations, and the application of a dual ethic—one for one’s ‘own’ people and another for ‘others.’ This amoral familism, which characterizes a society composed of a collection of extended small groups built around the family and enlarged by friends, neighbors, and colleagues, is opposed to the world of institutions and is conditioned by both history and culture. The authors consider it to be factor in social anomy.

  • Issue Year: 60/2016
  • Issue No: 4
  • Page Range: 7-28
  • Page Count: 22
  • Language: Polish