This paper seeks to offer an assessment of the nature of identity among Poland's German minority and to investigate why since 1950 large numbers of that minority have migrated to Germany. It does so by examining the nature of identity in the historic Polish-German borderlands, by recounting the experiences of those Germans who remained behind in Poland after the post World War Two expulsion process was completed in 1949, and by examining the continued salience of negative stereotypes of Germans and Germany among elements of Polish society. The paper highlights a number of salient factors of importance for members of the minority in deciding whether or not to stay in Poland or to migrate to Germany.
Despite several breakthroughs that indicate radical right parties' significant electoral potential, they remain highly volatile players in both Poland and eastern Germany. This is puzzling because radical right competitors can benefit from favorable politico-cultural conditions shaped by postcommunist legacies. The electoral markets in Poland and the eastern German Länder show low levels of affective party identification and low levels of political trust in mainstream parties and government institutions. Most importantly, there is a sizeable, yet largely unrepresented segment of voters who share salient counter-cosmopolitan preferences. They point to a “silent counterrevolution“ against globalization and cosmopolitan value change that displays substantive affinities to radical right ideology. Offering a transborder regional comparison of the four most relevant radical right parties and their conditions for electoral mobilization in Poland and eastern Germany, this article argues that the radical right's crossnational volatility-and often underperformance-in elections is mainly caused by internal supply side factors. They range from organizational deficiencies, leadership issues, and internal feuds, to strategic failures and a lack of democratic responsiveness. In turn, the disequilibrium between counter-cosmopolitan demand and its political representation is likely to be reduced if radical right competitors become more effective agents of electoral mobilization-or new, better organized ones emerge.
One of the most important developments in the incipient Berlin Republic's memory regime has been the return of the memory of German suffering from the end and aftermath of World War II. Elite discourses about the bombing of German cities, the mass rape of German women by members of the Red Army, and, above all, the expulsion of Germans from then-Eastern Germany and elsewhere in Central and Eastern Europe have gained massive visibility in the last decade. Although many voices have lauded these developments as liberating, many others within Germany and especially in Poland—from where the vast majority of Germans were expelled—have reacted with fear. Yet, do these elite voices resonate with mass publics? Have these arguments had demonstrable effects on public opinion? This paper delves into these questions by looking at survey results from both countries. It finds that there has been a disjuncture between the criticisms of elites and average citizens, but that the barrage of elite criticisms leveled at German expellees and their initiatives now may be affecting mass attitudes in all cases.
On 25 October 2015, Law and Justice (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość), a political force championing nationalist and Christian values, won the parliamentary elections in Poland by a large majority. It ran a platform built on conservative Roman Catholicism
The Motorway as a Space of Neoliberalism
The article surveys a giant infrastructural construction project in Poland: the A2 motorway, connecting Poznan´ and Warsaw with the Polish-German border. It was the first private motorway in Poland, and the biggest European infrastructural project, and was realized in a public-private partnership system. The last section of A2 was opened on 1 December 2011, which can be seen as a key moment in Polish socioeconomic transformation. I examine it on two levels: (1) a discourse between government and private investors in which the motorway was the medium of economic and social development and infrastructural “the end” modernization of Poland; (2) practices and opinions of local communities, living along the new motorway. On the first level, the construction of A2 was seen as an impetus for the economic and social development of the regions where the motorway was built. But on the second level, I observe almost universal disappointment and a deep crisis experienced by local economies.
Gothic Ecology in Algernon Blackwood’s Pan’s Garden: A Volume of Nature Stories
In order to understand Earth’s increasingly unpredictable climate, we must accept natural chaos and anthropogenic disturbance as a key component of our ecological and social future. Just as Heidi C.M. Scott’s Chaos and Cosmos (2014) powerfully demonstrates that a postmodern view of chaotic nature is shown to have been harbouring Romantic and Victorian literary foundations, this article further suggests that chaos ecology also has its roots in the Gothic. Drawing on Algernon Blackwood’s collection Pan’s Garden: A Volume of Nature Stories (1912), it tentatively begins to unearth some of the ways in which ‘walking with Pan’ could be anticipatory of ecological concepts recognised today. By rereading transcendental Pan from the context of a ‘Gothic ecology’, it explores how Blackwood transforms nature into a supernaturally powerful, inviting and terrifying character. In doing so, it becomes clear that disturbing Pan’s garden may have far greater consequences for Blackwood’s human wayfarers than for nature itself.
A Forgotten Moment in Postwar History
Robert L. Cohn
Long overshadowed by the regnant Jewish memory of postwar Poland as a vast graveyard from which anyone who could would flee, the little-told story of the revival of Jewish life in the 'Recovered Territories' of western Poland reveals what its backers saw as an alternative to Israel in Palestine for Polish Jewish survivors. Abetted by both Zionist and American narratives, that dominant memory has suppressed a tale of courage and determination among the most downtrodden of people to recreate a Jewish life on Polish soil. It is a tale of people who believed that Jews not only had the right to claim citizenship in the new Poland but also could fulfill there their Jewish national aspirations. Led by the industrious Jacob Egit, the Jewish survivors in Lower Silesia in the earliest postwar years developed industries and cultural institutions that could have sustained a renewed Jewish community. That their efforts were cut short by the forces of antisemitism and Communism does not vitiate their remarkable though short-lived achievement.
Analysis of the Spread and Reception of a Sociological Classic
In 2006 a Polish translation of Émile Durkheim’s Le suicide was published in Warsaw. Polish sociology is one of the most active in the European sociological tradition, both drawing and contributing to this, and has developed in close touch with the world’s centres of sociology. Yet Le suicide was not translated into Polish until more than one hundred years after the original edition. The paper explores this paradoxical situation, and traces the work’s career from its early reception in Poland, through the inter-war years, the post-Stalinist ‘thaw’ after 1956, the Solidarity movement and the crisis of the 1980s, up to the present day. But also, in taking the example of Le suicide and Poland, it aims to show how a classic work created in the centre of Europe spreads across other countries; which paths it takes; how it reaches a country situated far from the metropolis; how it is perceived there, accepted or rejected; how it is assimilated and included in the body of public and scientific work.
A Postmortem of the Climate Change Negotiations
Tim Cadman, Klaus Radunsky, Andrea Simonelli, and Tek Maraseni
This article tracks the intergovernmental negotiations aimed at combatting human-induced greenhouse gas emissions under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change from COP21 and the creation of the Paris Agreement in 2015 to COP24 in Katowice, Poland in 2018. These conferences are explored in detail, focusing on the Paris Rulebook negotiations around how to implement market- and nonmarket-based approaches to mitigating climate change, as set out in Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, and the tensions regarding the inclusion of negotiating text safeguarding human rights. A concluding section comments on the collapse of Article 6 discussions and the implications for climate justice and social quality for the Paris Agreement going forward.
This article is based on the findings of an empirical study that is being conducted in Austria, Poland, and Germany. The material consists of a total of sixty group discussions with families, people of different age groups, as well as individuals dealing professionally with history and memory, including historians, teachers, politicians, journalists, displaced persons, and Jewish communities. Even if there are differences within every country, one clearly can observe dominant country-specific ways of speaking about the past. The German discourse could be described as a meta-narrative. Germans do not speak mainly about the past itself, but rather about how it should or should not be represented. The narrations are highly skeptical and unheroic. By contrast, the Polish discourse is almost devoid of skeptical narratives. Notions such as “historical truth,” “national pride” and “national history” were dominant in the discussions. The article concludes by noting that even though the modes of narrating the past are different in Germany and Poland, its function remains untouched: the past is always a resource for the construction of coherence and meaning.