Post Colonial Debate In Poland And Its Relationship to Different visions of Modernity

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Post Colonial Debate In Poland And Its Relationship to Different visions of Modernity

  1. 1. “ Post-colonial Debate in Poland and its Relationship to Different Visions of Modernity” Session “Post-Colonialism, Multiple Modernities and Historical-Comparative Sociology” at the 38th IIS World Congress , Budapest 2008 . Tomasz ZARYCKI Insitute for Social Studies University of Warsaw www.iss.uw.edu.pl/zarycki
  2. 2. Applications of the post-colonial theory to the interpretation of Poland’s history <ul><li>Poland as a Colony </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The „partition period” – (1795 – 1918) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The communist period – Poland as a Soviet colony </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The post-commun is t period – Western domination (periphery, semi-periphery) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Poland as an Empire </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Ist Republic (Rzeczpospolita) period (pre-1795) . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The inter-war period (1918-1939) . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The post-communist period (symbolic colonialism) </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. The partition period (1795-1918) <ul><li>Polish lands divided between three empires: Austrian, Prussian and Russian </li></ul><ul><li>Three different modes of colonization rarely seen as colonization . </li></ul><ul><li>Constant debate regarding the asses e ment of the heritage of each of the empires. Three regions and their „modernization readiness” </li></ul><ul><li>Tomasz Zarycki (2007) History and regional development. A controversy over the ‘right’ interpretation of the role of history in the development of the Polish regions. Geoforum, 38 , 485–493. </li></ul>
  4. 4. The three post-colonial regions of Poland <ul><li>The former Austrian zone (Galicja or Małopolska – Little Poland) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Relatively positive image, appreciation of multi-national modernity of the Empire seen as a model for post-national Europe. Economic backwardness criticized, </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The former Prussian zone (Wielkopolska – Greater Poland) </li></ul><ul><li>- Relatively positive image. Appreciation of modernity of Prussia, rule of law, efficiency. Critici s m of Germanization politcies. </li></ul><ul><li>The former Russian zone (Kongresówka – the Congress Kingdom) </li></ul><ul><li>- Negative, one-sided image of authoritarian even barbarian and backward state. </li></ul>
  5. 5. The communist period <ul><li>Attitude towards the communist past as the dominating cleavage of the post-communist period. </li></ul><ul><li>(Post)-communists radically against (post)-colonial interpretation of the communist period. Rather call for communism as a remedy for Poland’s dependence on the West. Emphasis on positive aspects of Soviet imposed modernization program. </li></ul><ul><li>Anti-communists much more open to the post-colonial interpretation. Soviet Union viewed as colonial power. </li></ul><ul><li>Modernization visions should consider communist period solutions as non-acceptable. </li></ul><ul><li>Tomasz Zarycki (2000) Politics in the periphery: Political cleavages in Poland interpreted in their historical and international context. Europe-Asia Studies, 52 (5), 851-873. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Poland as a colony of Russia and the Soviet Union <ul><li>Poland’s obsession with the Russian/Soviet domination. Russia as Poland’s significant other. </li></ul><ul><li>Ru s sian/Soviet domination seen as a source of most problems of the country, society and economy. </li></ul><ul><li>Russia/Soviet Union as a political and symbolic hegenom, in pa r ticular in the international arena. </li></ul><ul><li>Polish voice silenced, and dominated by Russian voices. Need of building of a strong economy and strong state as conditions for regaining of an independent, well recognized Polish voice . </li></ul><ul><li>Ewa M. Tho m pson (2000) Imperial Knowledge. Russian Literature and Colonialism , Greenwood Press . </li></ul>
  7. 7. Post-communist period <ul><li>The post-colonial theory embraced by the anti-communist conservative right wing . Main authors : Ewa M.Tho m pson and Zdzisław Krasnodębski </li></ul><ul><li>Critic is ms of Poland’s post-communist and liberal intellectual elites as colonial elites , „clients” of the West. </li></ul><ul><li>The West as a „ substitute hegemon ” after the colapse of the Soviet Union . </li></ul><ul><li>Post-colonial frustration, pessimism, helplessness, looking for a heg e mon, patron typical for post-communist Poland . Lack of confidence in own count r y and its people. Dependence on Western ideas and elites. </li></ul><ul><li>Ewa M. Thompson (2005) Said a sprawa polska. Przeciwko kulturowej bezsilności peryferii. Europa, 29 June 2005 , 11. </li></ul>
  8. 8. The conservative modernization program <ul><li>Need of overcoming the post-colonial syndrome, including: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Attain i g self-confidence in the international scene. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reinforcement of the state and its support for national culture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Abandoning of the modernization programs based on modernization. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Recognition of Poland’s specificities and traditions including traditional ambiguity towards Enlightenment and revolutions, role of the Catholic Church. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Revival of the glorious traditions of the First Rzeczpospolita </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Krasnodębski, Z. (2004). Democracy at the Periphery. Sarmatian Review, XXIV (2). </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Leftist criticism of post-communist Poland <ul><li>Critic i sm of the zealousness of the liberal elites in unreflexive implementation of neo-liberal economic reforms as behaviour of post-colonial elites trying to fit to domination discourse in the new Western center. </li></ul><ul><li>Criticsm of self-orientalization: depiction of Poles (with the exception of the libe r al elite) as homo-sovieticuses , backward, populist, Eastern, prisoners of anti-modern traditions. </li></ul><ul><li>Michał Buchowski (2006). The Specter of Orientalism in Europe: From Exotic Other to Stigmatized Brother. Anthropological Quarterly, 79 (3), 463-482. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Poland as an Empire <ul><li>Ambiguities of Poland’s role, because of its historical domination of much of the contemporary Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia and Ukraine. </li></ul><ul><li>Also specific attitude to Russia, considered as politically and economically dominant but cultura r ly inferior. </li></ul><ul><li>Poland’s double role of an oppressor and a victim. </li></ul><ul><li>First reference s to post-colonia l theory: </li></ul><ul><li>Claire Cavanagh (2004) Postcolonial Poland. Common Knowledge, 10 (1), 82-92. </li></ul><ul><li>Dariusz Skórczewski (2006) Modern Polish Literature Through a Postcolonial Lens. Sarmatian Review, XXVI (3). </li></ul>
  11. 11. Criti c ism of the Polish post-Imperial discou r se. <ul><li>Russia as the Polish underdog and the synonym of the Orient. Polish disc o u r se on Russia a compensation of (post-)colonial dependence on the West </li></ul><ul><li>Modernization as cleansing of Russian/Soviet elements in all spheres of social reality, including language and memory. </li></ul><ul><li>Moving West towards modernity = Moving away from Russia. </li></ul><ul><li>Maxim K.Waldstein (2002) Observing Imperium: A Postcolonial Reading of Ryszard Kapuscinskis Account of Soviet and Post-Soviet Russia. Social Identities, 8 (3), 481-499. </li></ul><ul><li>Tomasz Zarycki (2004) Uses of Russia: The role of Russia in the modern Polish national identity. East European Politics and Societies, 18 (4), 595-627. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Criti c ism of the Polish post-Imperial discou r se (continued) <ul><li>Polish discourse of „Kresy” – the former „Borderland” zone. </li></ul><ul><li>Seen as typical post-colonial nostalgic and idealized image of a former colony. </li></ul><ul><li>Debate concerns to what extend the Kresy discourse deserves condemnation, and to what extend it is a justified revival of lost memories </li></ul><ul><li>Bogusław Bakuła (2006) Kolonialne i postkolonialne aspekty polskiego dyskursu kresoznawczego (zarys problematyki). Teksty Drugie, 6 , 11-33. </li></ul><ul><li>Daniel Beauvois (2006) „Kresomania”, Wywiad z Danielem Beauvois. Tygodnik Powszechny, 26 marca 2006 r. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Poland’s imperial history as a source of two modernization models. Two tradit i onal projects of rebuild i ng and modernization of the Polish state <ul><li>The Dmowski model: national homogenization, Polonization of minorities with the help of the Catholic Church. </li></ul><ul><li>Based on Western „modern nation state” models, partly implemented during the communist period (pro-Russian) </li></ul><ul><li>The Piłsudski model: multi-national country, with a clear Chu r ch-state separation. </li></ul><ul><li>Based on the First Rzeczpospolita Model (anti-Russian). </li></ul>
  14. 14. Contraditions: <ul><li>The Dmowski model largely discredited. </li></ul><ul><li>But both models can be accused of colonial ambitions. </li></ul><ul><li>The Piłsudski model often seen as implemented in the post-communist period, stimulating hegemonic aspirations e.g. Poland’s involvement in the Orange Revolution. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Thank you for you attention! Session “Post-Colonialism, Multiple Modernities and Historical-Comparative Sociology” at the 38th IIS World Congress , Budapest 2008 . Tomasz ZARYCKI Insitute for Social Studies University of Warsaw www.iss.uw.edu.pl/zarycki

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