An Ethnography of Memory of the People’s Republic of Poland Wojciech Burszta, Anna Jawor, Mirosław Pęczak, Michał Rauszer, Piotr Zańko Everyday Culture in Postwar Poland 1956–1989 Translated by Jędrzej Burszta

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Opis

 

Cultural participation was seen as a source of prestige, and the requirement of personal development, of becoming a cultured person, gained popularity and became almost an inherent element of the model of social advancement. The intelligentsia was expected to elevate the cultural level of the country, primarily by introducing the less educated parts of society to the national culture. […]

In our study of socialist Poland we wanted to focus primarily on the memories of everyday life of those who lived in that period. Our perspective refers therefore not to the experience of a witness of history, understood as a sequence of significant events, but rather simply to the everyday life of people who lived in this historical epoch. The aim of the study is to show not the functioning of the People’s Republic of Poland but how individual sought to “find themselves within it,” especially ways of dealing with problems, of living and experiencing. That is why we are not concentrating on studying the cultural memory of socialist Poland; rather, we are attempting to refer to the communicative memory of that period. A memory collected in the form of personal and biographical accounts, one analogous to narrative memory.

 

Rok wydania: 2021 

Wydanie pierwsze

Format 130 x 208 mm

Liczba stron: 208

Oprawa broszurowa

ISBN 978-83-66056-84-8

e-ISBN 978-83-66056-85-5

Cena katalogowa 19,50

 

Projekt okładki i stron tytułowych Ireneusz Sakowski

 

 

Table of Contents

7 Introduction

 

19 Model of a Cultured Person

23 Savoir Vivre

31 Appearance and Table Manners

35 Ms. Pharmacist, Mr. Engineer

39 A Class in Itself

43 In the Beginning Was the Word

49 Books and Theater

52 Cultural Participation—Continued

57 Idealism

 

60 What Was Valued, What Was Despised: Hierarchy of

Culture

63 Atlas of Culture

68 High and Low Culture

78 The Audiences: Recipients of Culture

84 Folklorism

90 Propaganda and the Alternative

 

96 Youth and Alternative Culture

122 Free Time or Times of Freedom?

124 Does Free Time Exist?

129 Dimensions of Leisure

135 Holidays and (Working) Class

138 Leisure, Additional Resources and Gender

140 Leisure of Children and Youths

143 Free and Non-Free Time

 

145 Culinary Culture

150 Restaurants

152 Milk Bars and Canteens

155 Cooking at Home

156 Food Provisioning

 

161 Memory, Things, Everyday Life

164 Two Types of Nostalgia for Things

167 From Nostalgia to DIY

170 Absence and DIY

172 Objects in a Network

176 Circulations of Things and Their Impact on Independent Culture

177 Things and Status

181 Things and Memory of Everyday Life

 

183 Conclusion: Remembering the People’s Republic of Poland

 

189 References

 

197 Index

 

 

 

 

Introduction

(excerpts)

 

The main aim of this book is to offer a reconstruction and an interpretation of popular culture of the People’s Republic of Poland (PRL) as it exists in the generational and individual memories of its participants and recipients. The interviewees of our study were people who experienced the period between 1956 and 1989 as adults (18+ years old). […]

 

A new normative model began to be adopted after 1956, which stated that the socialist man should be a cultured man. Cultural participation was seen as a source of prestige, and the requirement of personal development, of becoming a cultured person, gained popularity and became almost an inherent element of the model of social advancement.⁸ The intelligentsia

was expected to elevate the cultural level of the country, primarily by introducing the less educated parts of society to the national culture. […]

 

An intellectual in socialist Poland was expected to be curious about the cultural, artistic and mental life of the West. Limits on travel to foreign countries resulted in a responsibility to share observations and experiences after returning to the country with as many people as possible. […]

 

Another crucial factor in the formation of popular culture was the migration from rural areas

to cities, connected with the processes of adopting urban models of leisure, which got shaped by and at the same time influenced the state-sanctioned popular culture. […]

 

In our study of socialist Poland we wanted to focus primarily on the memories of everyday life of those who lived in that period. Our perspective refers therefore not to the experience

of a witness of history, understood as a sequence of significant events, but rather simply to the everyday life of people who lived in this historical epoch. The aim of the study is to show not the functioning of the People’s Republic of Poland but how individual sought to “find themselves within it,” especially ways of dealing with problems, of living and experiencing. That is why we are not concentrating on studying the cultural memory of socialist Poland; rather, we are attempting to refer to the communicative memory of that period. A memory collected in the form of personal and biographical accounts, one analogous to narrative memory.

 

 

 

 

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