Civic and Uncivic Values in Poland

Value Transformation, Education, and Culture
$100.00 / €90.00 / £79.00
Publication date: 
386 pages, 19 Figures; 22 Tables

Poland, like many societies across the world, is becoming more polarized in diverse areas of life, as contending forces seek to advance incompatible agendas. The polarization over values in Polish politics was evident already before communism collapsed but became more obvious in the following years and reached a crescendo after the October 2015 parliamentary elections, which brought a right-wing party into power.

This volume focuses on the years since 1989, looking at the clash between civic values (the rule of law, individual rights, tolerance, respect for the harm principle, equality, and neutrality of the state in matters of religion) and uncivic values (the rule of a dictator or dictatorial party, contempt for individual rights, bigotry, disrespect for the harm principle, unequal treatment of people whether through discrimination or through exploitation, and state favoritism of one religion over others). The authors address voting behavior, political parties, anti-Semitism, homophobia, the role of the Catholic Church, and reflections in history textbooks, fi lm, and even rock music. This volume makes clear that for the foreseeable future the conflict in Poland between traditional, conservative values and liberal, civic values is likely to continue, provoking tensions and protests.


Acronyms used in this book


1. Civic and Uncivic Values: an introduction – Sabrina P. Ramet (The Norwegian University of Science & Technology, NTNU)


2. Polish politics, April 1989-October 2015 – Aleksander Zdravkovski (The Norwegian University of Science & Technology, NTNU)

3. Party system and voting behavior in Poland – Michał Sƚowikowski and Michał Pierzgalski (both: University of Łódź)

4. European values in Poland: The special case of ethnic and national minorities – Katarzyna Dośpiał-Borysiak, Agata Włodarska-Frykowska, and Michał Klonowski (all: University of Łódź)


5. Polish civic values in a European context – Kristen Ringdal (The Norwegian University of Science & Technology, NTNU)

6. Religion in public life – Maciej Potz (University of Łódź)

7. Religiosity, Tolerance of Homosexuality, and Support for Gay and Lesbian Rights in Poland: The present and likely future(s) – Ewa Golebiowska (Wayne State University)

8. National – Catholic Impact on Anti-Semitism in Poland: Report of the significant results of empirical research – Ireneusz Krzemiński (University of Warsaw)


9. Civic education: Controversies surrounding socialization factors and mechanisms – Renata Siemieńska (University of Warsaw)

10. History textbooks in Poland since 1989: a dialogue between the past and the present – Sylwia Bobryk (University of Portsmouth) and Thomas Strobel (Georg-Eckert Institute)

11. Rock music and politics in Poland: Lyrics of protest and resistance – Sabrina P. Ramet (The Norwegian University of Science & Technology, NTNU)

12. Film and values: Polish cinema of national remembrance – Elżbieta Durys (University of Łódź)

13. Poland’s Media: Learning from the past and fitting a new mold –Jane Leftwich Curry (Santa Clara University)


14. Past and Present in the Struggle for Polish Democracy – A postscript – Sabrina P. Ramet (The Norwegian University of Science & Technology, NTNU)

About the editors and contributors

For further reading

"The editors of this book aim to analyse the values of Polish society in the period following the political transformation after the fall of communism. The task is quite difficult because it covers a very broad and vague subject matter. In addition, the book is a collective work consisting of articles by authors representing various disciplines and approaches. To sum up, the book gives a fairly comprehensive picture of democratic and anti-democratic tendencies in Polish society. The book is written in clear and accessible language. It may be useful especially for those readers who do not know much about Poland, as well as for students."
"All chapters included in the monograph, despite a fairly wide range of subjects, make one unique complete narrative. They discuss important topics, ranging from the issue of the political and electoral system functioning, the role of minorities and religion in the lives of the Poles, and ending with art and television. The basis of the book is common ground concerning the way in which Polish society perceives key values that, on the one hand, identify society and, on the other, cause its polarisation. The reviewed book is an attempt to answer questions about the specifics and legitimacy of the existence of key values declared by Polish society, often referred to as liberal. This question, according to the authors, is particularly relevant after the victory in the parliamentary elections in 2015 of Law and Justice, whose manner of governance raises numerous concerns related to violation of the rule of law. To sum up, it should be acknowledged that this monograph, by presenting... more
"The book includes contributions of fifteen scholars, political scientists, sociologists, and experts in gender and cultural studies; a well-balanced representation of perspectives from the US, western Europe, and Poland. The editors organized the material well, divided into three parts: 'The System,' 'Values in Poland,' and 'Vehicles of Socialization,' with a heavy emphasis on the necessary historical background that is essential for the general audience. Understandably the most thoroughly-explored theme is the impact of Catholicism and the Church as an institution on the value and belief systems of Poles."