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Poland's Self-Limiting Revolution

Jadwiga Staniszkis

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Sozialwissenschaften, Recht, Wirtschaft / Politikwissenschaft


This book is not only an explanation of the political dynamic that led to the Polish "revolution" and the birth of Solidarity in 1980 and 1981 but an extremely important analysis of postwar East Central Europe. Although intimately involved with various aspects of Solidarity's activities, Jadwiga Staniszkis maintains a detached and critical attitutde toward the movement. Dr. Saniszkis was one of seven advisers allowed in the Gdansk shipyard during the strikes of August 1980, negotiating on behalf of the workers. Offering interpretations of events made virtually as they were occurring, she is still able to weave these interpretations into an analytic scheme that is clearly the work of a profound and original sociologist.
The author demonstrates how the authoritarian regime of Poland succeeded in incorporating and, as it were, domesticating developments that would be seen by a less astute observer (or by a traditional social scientist) as disruptive or threatening to the system's stability. Moving beyond analyses derived from totalitarian and interest group models for the study of "socialist" societies, she attempts to understand present-day Poland as a corporatist society. A sociologist of organizations, she clarifies the intricate system of mechanisms that compensates for the irrationalities produced by the ideological restrictions of Polish society. Sensitive to the symbolic manipulation in social control, she analyzes such phenomena as simulation of interest group representation and ritualization of the periodic crises of the regime. This work is a major contribution to our understanding of the so-called people's democracies.
Jadwiga Staniszkis received her Ph.D. and habilitation (Docent) in sociology at the University of Warsaw. Her dissertation, "Pathologies of Organizational Structure," won the Polish Sociological Association Prize in 1976. Dr. Staniszkis visited the United States twice, as the fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies and as a recipient of the Eisenhower Fellowship, Jan T. Gross is the author of Polish Society under German Occupation (Princeton).

Originally published in 1984.

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