Students as Journeymen between Cultures of Higher Education and Work.

A comparative European project on the

transition from higher education to work life.

Lars Owe Dahlgren, Madeleine Abrandt Dahlgren Håkan Hult, Helene Hård af Segerstad, Kristina Johansson, Linköpings universitet, Sweden

Gunnar Handal,Kirsten Hofgaard Lycke, Berit Karseth, Tone Dyrdal Solbrekke, Oslo University, Norway.

Tomasz Szkudlarek, Maria Mendel, Astrid Meczkowska, Malgorzata Cackowska, Anna Struzynska – Kujalowicz, University of Gdansk, Poland.

Manfred Bayer, Tarek Lababidi, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany

In this symposium the question of the feasibility of higher education in relationship to the demands of work life is addressed. The research is undertaken in a comparative context of four European countries. Sweden, Norway, Poland, and Germany.1 Students as Journeymen Between Communities of Higher Education and Work (The 5th Framework Programme, HPSE CT-2001-00068). In–depth interviews make up the data bank. Data are gathered among freshmen and seniors within Psychology and Political science about equally distributed over the four countries. The senior students are also interviewed after their first year of work life experience. To summarise the overall result of the project, professional programs in higher education as well as classical liberal arts studies still seem to produce a discipline-based identity among the students. Where notions of a professional role is developed, this seems to be accomplished during the later, sometimes applied, parts of the studies. The structure of the studies is sequential rather than integrated when it comes to disciplinary and professional knowledge. In this symposium, the issue of learning in transition between higher education and working life is addressed from different theoretical, methodological and empirical aspects against the backdrop of the Bologna process.

The transition from higher education to work life –

a theoretical framework for research

Berit Karseth, Madeleine Abrandt Dahlgren, Astrid Meczkowska,

Lars Owe Dahlgren, Håkan Hult

The first contribution of the symposium aims at developing a theoretical framework for research on the transition from higher education to work life. It sets out to do so, taking its point of departure in four discourses discernible in the literature about higher education and worklife. The analysis will focus on how research, higher education and worklife and their mutual relationships are constructed in these discourses. The first discourse concerns the call for knowledge production as a joint enterprise between universities and the surrounding society. The second discourse comprises the call for new research perspectives on the relationship between higher education and work life. The third discourse is the call for contextualising the research on higher education within the experiences of the students and problematises the notion of effects of education as a set of abilities developed within the students. The fourth discourse constitutes the call for an alternative pedagogy of transition between higher education and work life, arguing that the scholastic traditions do not meet the requirements of the process of transition between higher education and work life. Generic skills, like flexibility in relationship to change, capacity for co-operation and communication as well as foreign language skills, and intercultural competence and are other dimensions that should be included in the aims of higher education.

Discourse Analysis in Comparative Studies: Between Phenomenography and Hermeneutics. The example of discursive construction of professional limits in pre-service university training of the psychologists

Tomasz Szkudlarek, Maria Mendel, Astrid Meczkowska, Malgorzata Cackowska, Anna Struzynska – Kujalowicz, Kristina Johansson

The article presents the methodology applied in the project. A combination of phenomenography (individual conceptions of professional knowledge and skills, data concerning motivation, etc), discourse analysis (knowledge construction, transmission and power relations in institutional settings), and social hermeneutics (general understanding of the social contexts in the respective countries based on the insiders' knowledge of the researchers themselves) has been used. The rhetoric that is used by the students in the descriptions and argumentation in this case point to a discursive formation operating within the academia which we have called ‘a discourse of limited professionalism’. It is composed not only from discrepant expectations and academic offers, but also from discursive strategies operating within the institutions that discourage the students from their initial motivation and which form their new expectations, adapting them to the situation in which massive enrolment into higher education clashes with employment limits imposed by professional associations.

The strategy of data collection and subsequent interpretations presented in the paper, passing from phenomenography, through discourse analysis towards general, hermeneutical understanding of the phenomena, is typical of the whole Journeymen project. The proposed paper illustrates the methodology of the project using one of its findings as an exemplary ground.

Conceptions of professional responsibility

- From senior student to novice worker

Tone Dyrdal-Solbrekke, Oslo University

This paper discusses contemporary notions of professional responsibility among students in their ‘journeys’ from higher education to work. Examining issues of professional responsibility, as experienced by graduate students in Law and Psychology in their final term of study and after one year at work, provides a basis for identifying factors critical to formation of conceptions of professional responsibility. Using Steven Brint’s sociological concepts of ‘social trustee professionalism’ and ‘expert professionalism’, as an initial backdrop, the main discussion in the paper draws on the moral philosopher Larry May’s conception of professional responsibility as ‘legitimate negotiated compromises’. The results suggest that although there are substantial differences between the two programmes, the students’ conceptions of professional responsibility in both groups reflects elements ‘in between’ ‘social trustee professionalism’ and ‘expert professionalism’. Moreover, the findings show that conceptions of professional responsibility do not change profoundly in the ‘transition from senior student to novice worker’. However, it becomes evident that the novice workers’ conceptions are negotiated and renegotiated - contingent on the professional roles and positions they are expected to take on, their daily tasks and by the values, norms and practices of their new work contexts. In line with Larry May, I highlight that conceptions of professional responsibility must be understood as legitimate compromises in a ‘web of commitments’.

Professional programmes and employability as cultural practices

Berit Karseth, Madeleine Abrandt Dahlgren, Astrid Meczkowska

The expectations on universities to enhance the employability of graduates are at the very core of the contemporary European policy debate on higher education. It can be argued that employability is strongly connected to the global knowledge economy, and that there is a belief that discipline specific skills are significant different from broader employment-related skills. The aim of this article is to shed light on some aspects of this issues by investigating students’ visions on what they perceive as important competences in order to become a professional. The data is based on interviews with psychology students from three different programmes in three different countries. We analyse the data against the backdrop of three discourses of employability discernible in contemporary research and policy, as placed within 1)a disciplinary discourse, emphasising the cognitive dimension, 2) a cultural discourse, emphasising Bildung, and 3) the Bologna discourse, emphasising economic competetiveness. The disciplinary discourse viewing employability as something close to the disciplinary knowledge is supported by the students in all the three programmes. Secondly, we address the relationship between educational programmes and the profession and argue that the institutional discourses mirror the relationship between a particular educational programme and its profession situated within a specific national context.

Approaches to learning among senior students and

novice professionals in psychology and political science.

Gunnar Handal, Kirsten Hofgaard Lycke and Helene Hård af Segerstad.

This paper focuses on students’ approaches to learning in higher education and in work life. So far most research about learning has described learning in these two contexts separatly. The specific aims of this article are to identify approaches to learning reported by informants as senior students and as novice professionals, to analyse these learning approaches in relation to the different contexts (education and work) and the different programmes (psychology and political science), and to relate the results to different discourses of learning in higher education and work life.

The results indicate that students and novice professionals report using quite different approaches to learning. Reading texts from the disciplinary field and writing assignment papers are dominant and favoured approaches to learning at the university. These approaches are very rarely reported by the novice professionals who rather ask colleagues for information and advice. Partly similar and partly different approaches to learning can also be identified between disciplines and programmes.

Students’ approaches to learning may be understood in relation to differences in contexts for learning. Differences between education and work are discussed in relation to what is the primary activity in each of these two contexts, the type of competence that the persons involved are expected to master and the dominant discourses of learning. Differences between programmes are also discussed in relation to the degree of alignment between the higher education learning.

1 Sweden, Linköpings universitet, Norway, Oslo university, Poland, University of Gdansk, Germany, University of Duisburg-Essen.

Oppositional Politics and the Logic of Rhetorical Tropes in Social Movement Discourse: The Case of Poland’s Solidarity Movement

Tomasz Tabako, Ph.D., Professor of Rhetoric and Communication Studies, University of Iowa

MAIN THESES: The paper proposes a troppological approach to the rhetoric of popular protest, including the rhetoric of Poland’s Solidarity movement as it developed in the 1980s. More specifically, the paper (1) examines the role and function of tropes (such as metaphor and irony, among others) in oppositional discourse. (2) It presents a framework for the analysis of social movements, exploring the manner in which the rhetoric of a mass social movement tends to develop over time—in a tropologically patterned way. (3) It discusses the example of Poland’s Solidarity to show how the action of tropes is made manifest in the movement’s rhetorical biography. The paper’s more general claim is as follows: In this age of accelerated globalization on the one hand and the emergence of fundamentalisms and anti-globalization activism on the other, it is crucially important to have a better understanding of how the engines of social change, namely, social movements, operate; the tropological approach offers an informative insight into this link between social change and movement discourse.

ABSTRACT: Social movements, such as Poland’s Solidarity, are for the critic what elementary particles running through the accelerator are for the physicist: under the critic’s eye, the compressed dynamics of movements are studied to reveal the anatomy of change itself. With this in mind, the paper offers a tropological approach to the theme of change and resistance in general and to the rhetoric of popular protest (as made manifest in the rhetoric of Poland’s Solidarity movement as it developed in the 1980s) in particular. This approach stems from dissatisfaction with the existing frameworks for social movement analysis as presently available in political science, sociology, and communication studies, among other disciplines. Most social movement scholars have in large measure ignored a relationship between movements’ discursive (rhetorical) activities and social change. By viewing movements primarily as acts of the imagination, the paper locates much of the energy and potential for social change in movements’ rhetorical agency. Drawing on Vico’s concept of tropes (with metaphor and other tropes understood not as techniques of ornamentation but as modes of thinking) and Laclau’s theory of articulation (a meeting place of post-Marxism, psychoanalysis à la Jacques Lacan and deconstruction à la Jacques Derrida), the paper calls for a new branch of analysis--a tropology of social movements, one that identifies and describes some patterns of the rhetoric of mass protest as made manifest diachronically. Further, it investigates how the rhetoric of a movement brings together various, often unrelated social demands into a temporary unity, thus constructing a populist identity—“us, the people,” and while doing so, translating the discursive into the social and the institutional, thereby generating change. The paper suggests that a movement’s “formation-fragmentation” biography can be read as a chronicle of the movement of tropes, which discursively “edit” the movement’s accounts and constructions of social reality in a quasi-sequential way, from metaphor (inventing a new perspective) through synecdoche and metonymy (totalizing and universalizing political claims via the logic of “chain equivalence”) to irony (revealing gaps, contradictions, and a “lack” in the movement’s system of social knowledge). Inasmuch as this progression (if uninterrupted) falls into the scheme of a Weber-like/ideal model of movement evolution, the language games a populist movement is engaged in keep the movement’s political struggle open to a variety of discursive outcomes, including the collapse of the movement during any of its tropological stages. Consequently, in a poststructuralist fashion, the paper challenges a number of deterministic and essentialist assumptions about social change and the role social movements play in it.

In its application part, the paper explores the role of metaphor and other tropes in developing oppositional politics as embodied by Poland’s Solidarity movement. First, drawing on the work of George Lakoff and others, the paper discusses the power of conceptual metaphor in constituting political campaigns and catalyzing social change as paradigmatically embedded in Poland’s Committee for the Defense of Workers of the late 1970s. Developed with the help of “public poets,” the committee’s master metaphors helped to re-imagined reality by launching alternative vocabulary. They put the concepts of ‘freedom,’ ‘nation,’ and ‘the past in the context of the present’ in a new light and reinvigorated culturally significant myths, thereby neutralizing the newspeak of Poland’s authoritarian regime and undermining its claims to legitimacy. As an example, the metaphor of “freedom is your own genuine speech” facilitated the emergence of alternative and independent publishing circulation and the establishment of a free speech community within an authoritarian environment. Taken together, this and other metaphoric frames facilitated a spiritual takeover, a “charismatic coup”; they transformed the opposition into a legitimate challenger by effectively addressing people’s axiological hunger in a time of crisis. The remaining two sections of the paper will discuss the function of the rhetorical tropes of metonymy and synecdoche in the formation of the Solidarity movement in the early 1980s, as well as the operations of discursive irony in the process of Solidarity’s fragmentation in the late 1980s.

Image Making, the Creative Mind and Social Transformation

Pip Cotton
The learning Connexion & Massey University

In recent decades there appears to have been a major escalation in people engaging with the ‘arts’, and there has been a corresponding expansion in arts related education. Reflecting local and global forces which have shaped adult education over the last two to three decades, the New Zealand tertiary system has seen a major expansion in private education providers. This paper reports on a doctoral study which focuses on a small group of students at a private training establishment known as The Learning Connexion (TLC). This school delivers a program entitled ‘Art and Creativity’ and has gained recognition nationally as something of ‘an alternative art school’, with very strong philosophical and practical elements which distinguish it from the mainstream. The study reveals that many of the people engaging with TLC do so as part of a major period of transition, reorientation or reframing in their lives.

As the project unfolded, a ‘systemic’ perspective emerged to structure the methodology, with an emphasis on conceiving knowledge production as processes involving interdependencies between brain, mind and culture. Different ‘art’ forms in this view can be considered to be distinct knowledge systems based on unique configurations of brain, mind, and cultural elements and processes. I draw on material from developmental theory, evolutionary theory, neurology, and the origin of image-making within the Upper Palaeolithic to justify this view. I also suggest that the key elements which ‘cohere’ to produce forms of knowledge, relate to concepts of symbolism, identity and memory.

When these perspectives are used to analyse the research participants narratives, strong elements of symbolism, identity and memory are revealed, which can also be described in terms of a persons ‘artistic style’. The analysis suggests that for the research participants at least, engaging in activities of image-making within the environment provided by TLC resulted in very positive psychological outcomes. It also suggests that within a highly fluid, complex, and rapidly changing world that many of us are now experiencing, periods of ‘creativity orientated education’ may be one important way of contributing, not just to individual coherence, but to some levels of general social coherence as well. Reflecting these perspectives, the paper concludes with consideration of the question: are we becoming ‘our own artists’ as an adaptive response to change pressures?

About the Need of Theological Reconception and Renewal

Mirosław Patalon

The purpose of this address is to present the major elements of A.N. Whitehead’s philosophy (the oneness of reality as well as its dynamism and variability, the integration of apparent antagonisms and contradictions into a single whole, etc.) and the chief tenets of process theology (pragmatism, panexperimentalism, the relationality of God and other beings and their correspondence to the nature of the world, the atomistic concept of time) as the background for two examples of Polish theologians: Wacław Hryniewicz and Stanisław Obirek. Both of them deal with change issues in the context of Polish Catholicism still being one of the most important factors of socialization processes and at the same time characterized by a strong tendency to abide within the boundaries of ecclesiastical correctness. In the process perspective religious education is based on the idea of intertwining perspectives and maximally broad spectrum of worldviews since theology is construed socially. The examples of Hryniewicz and Obirek – although not connected directly with whiteheadian philosophy – display a number of points of convergence with this approach; the first one in his theological writings and the other in the practical dimension.

The future profession as a continuous learning or a will to be mobile:

The future profession as a continuous learning or a will to be mobile:
political scientists and psychologists transition from higher education to working life

Sofia Evertsson
Department of Behavioural Science
Linköping University

Today some would argue that we live in a society and economy of knowledge and globalization. This has implications for universities as well as for working life in terms of what knowledge that is produced and the employability and flexibility. It is reasonable to assume that this discourse of employability and flexibility also influences the students’ perceptions of studies and work. Therefore, this study focuses on senior students’ transition from higher education to working life in order to explore how these two communities of practice, with particular set of boundaries and traditions, influence graduates’ notion of their future profession. Research has up until now described the transition in rather general terms, e.g. the graduates’ employment, the graduates’ position in working life in a more quantitative and structural way. Therefore, there is still only limited knowledge about how graduates construe themselves as professionals and how they experience their future career.

The design of the empirical study is longitudinal, where graduates have been interviewed on three consecutive occasions: the last semester before graduation, the first and then the third year in working life. The graduates’ comes from two different Master’s programmes at Linköping University, Sweden; Political Science and Psychology. The specific aims are to: (i) explore graduates’ notion of their future profession and (ii), to what extent this notion changes in the transition from higher education to working life. The data analysis is inspired by a phenomenographic analysis with interest to explore the variations in conceptions of the phenomenon as well as the possible change over time.

The analysis yielded a set of descriptive categories; the future profession conceived as a continuous learning, to master a tool-box, to fulfil a commitment, to search for a professional field, to be mobile, and to have a long term commitment.

The results indicate at the first interview occasion that the senior students envisage a positive and a secure professional future, where knowledge mostly is seen as something technical and applicable. As first year and three year novices in working life they meet different demands and opportunities, such as demanding and/or challenging work tasks, reorganizations in the work place, unemployment, feeling of not being skilled enough which affect their professional identity as well as their notion of their future profession. They point to the future profession as a need for being changeable and mobile or something that needs continuous learning. This implies that the encounter with working life creates a need for an employability that, to some extent, is based in the values from the knowledge and global economy.

Adequacy of civil society concept in reality of post – communist societies

dr Rafał Riedel

This discussion paper deals with the problem present both in Polish as well as international social sciences literature concerning the adequacy of using civil society concept in analyzing the reality of post-communist societies.
In his analysis of social capital, it was Pierre Bourdieu who proposed to use the term political capital, when speaking about post-soviet societies. After him, many other academics: sociologists, political scientists, social psychologists developed the critics generating the whole new stream. The critical mass of the discussion was reached when Janusz Czapiński published his paper in “Nauka” (Science) entitled: “Poland – a state without society” (2006). This provocative thesis was formulated on the basis of rich and recognized research proving poor condition of trust and consequently inter-personal relations within Polish society.
This analysis comprises of synthetic view of major theoretical approaches on social capital and civil society, among them: Juergen Habermas, John Keane, Feliks Koneczny, Pierre Bourdieu, Robert Putnam, James Coleman, George Sorsos and Francis Fukuyama.
The opinions undermining the adequacy of using civil society as a concept and as a research tool in post-communist societies are presented, their argumentation put under critics. Major arguments and counterarguments are rooted in social survey results.
Author will support the opinion that to a high degree, Polish society as a transactional one, however this does not exclude it from the possibility of being analyzed with similar research methods as Dutch or American society.
The suggested problem is rather a result brought about by the fact that once civil society has become a “trendy” concept it gained so many theories that this category is so wide nowadays, that it represents much more rhetoric potential than scientific, explanatory power.
Conclusions formulated in the summary allow to free civil society idea from accusations of not being adequate in describing and understanding social processes in a society like Polish.

Immigrant Families in Transition: Consequences of and Alternatives to Dominant Representations

Ramona Fruja
Michigan State University
College of Education and Department of Sociology

Depending on which side of the interpretative spectrum one stands, globalization can be the catch-all phrase for either great loss or positive world transformations—as the root of all modern evil, in terms of hegemony and homogeneity, or as the source for the more benign global discourses of environmentalism, human rights and social justice, or strives for more economic equity. However, such dominant narratives tend to crowd out alternatives and the immediate interpretations—that can manifest themselves both in the popular imaginary and in academic research—can also apply to specific aspects of globalization (like the unprecedented scale of world migration) and their implications for certain social structures (such as the family). For example, in 1965, the Immigration and Nationality Act in the United States, has been amended to remove national origin quotas as a basis for granting immigrant visas. Today, the largest immigration streams in the United States are of national origins that previous legislation has specifically banned or severely restricted from the country, based on their presumed inability to integrate into the perceived mainstream. American society currently experiences the highest immigration wave in its history, and the incurring changing demographics parallel post-colonial and post-communist changes in European demographics. These global transformations reflect on the complexities of families at multiple levels, connecting with issues of race, ethnicity, religion, language, class, gender roles, political affiliation and other cultural manifestations. What does it take to be considered an immigrant family when the popular images of this category, in the United States, involve a group from Mexico or of people who do not fit a “white” phenotype? What are the implications for immigrant families in the middle of sweeping transformations, when both the Western European and, to a greater extent, the north-American historical construct of the immigrant include representations of “hard work ethic” and the “model minority myth”? Questions such as these exemplify the ways in which immigrant families in the United States and Western Europe stand at the intersection of seemingly contradictory situations: they are increasingly present while they may remain disturbingly othered both by not fitting into an expected mold of the “traditional” family, and by deviating from the constructions of what an immigrant family should be. Drawing on studies on immigrant families, as well as personal narratives, this presentation will focus on the social implications of such processes of differentiation in the definition of the family in the context of global migration, especially as they pertain to the relationship between immigrant families and schools. This is a crucial aspect to the healthy growth of immigrant youth, as they negotiate their simultaneous roles in families, schools, communities, and in the new societies.

Intercultural Education between Social Change and Resistance

prof dr hab. Manfred Bayer
Uniwersytet Gdanski & Universitat Duisburg-Essen Ed. & Social Sciences

After the World War IT there was an ongoing social change process in Germany, mainly due to the fact of a massive immigration, partly by refugees (mainly from Poland and Russia) and partly by migratory workers from Eastern and Southern parts of Europe.

This process has caused greatest trouble within the subdivided school system since neither the teachers nor the school administration was prepared for this enormous challenge.

Thus the setting up of the Deutscher Bildungsrat - an overall conference of progressive scientists and administrators from all German regions (Bundesländer) founded in the 19seventies - provided new curricula and methodologies for teacher training as well as for the different school systems.
What an enlightenment for our society!

This was the right moment for RESISTANCE: First of all, the Ministers of Education protested because of far too high costs for their limited budgets. Was there no other way as e. g. to remigrate the unnecessary foreign workers with their families? Or to invent national classes and special schools for migrant children, teaching them only in their mother tongue and repatriate them immediately after leaving school? Then new formations of conservative parents came with new regulations for protecting their own (German!) children against such a flood of undesired rivals. There were more uncounted social protest among the people, such as the famous "Ausländer raus!"

One of the very few positive reactions was the invention of an intercultural study module of 4-8 hours (but not any more) in the teacher education curriculum. This "innovative module" had to be implemented into heavily overloaded courses of studies at universities who had no qualified lecturers up to then for this purpose. This is why professors of traditional subjects entered long lists of protest against this "absurd invention" which seemed rather depriving students of their really needed, necessary qualifications. And so on, and so on ...

Because of this really disturbing resistance from various social groups against these obligatory courses for teachers and new school curricula for intercultural education this innovation had to be dropped - until something incomprehensible and horrible happened in the Netherlands:

The parallel social strata of disintegrated immigrants have been suddenly discovered in most European societies. The crucial question is now: Why did this happen?

Political Decisions and Their Social Costs. Estonia, Finland and Poland: Three Ways Out from Soviet Dominance. Comparative Case Study.

Wojciech Woźniak
Department of General Sociology
University of Lodz

Estonia, Finland and Poland underwent the process of crucial transformation during past two decades. The political and economic situation of these three countries, as well as their pathway through the process of transition vary substantially. It seems that only the starting point for the changeover could be considered as similar to some extent. The common feature for all of them was unquestioned fact of Soviet dominance during the communist period. The dominance that lasted at least until the beginning of nineties and could be treated as a motive force for numerous political decisions undertaken during the transition period.
Obviously, the scale of subjection of Estonia, Finland and Poland towards their powerful neighbour varied substantially and the process of liberating from it lead to different outcomes. It could be stated that in many aspects it was costly and that the biggest price has been paid by those named sometimes in public debate and academic publications as “victims of transformation”. The paper proposed is an attempt to present how the political decisions “shaped” the process of transformation and directed to the current state of affairs in each of the countries. The special attention will be paid to the social costs of political actions experienced by the occupants of various positions of social ladder and to the social policy in a broad meaning adopted in Estonia, Finland and Poland. These countries were chosen because of the fact that nevertheless the similar staring points and challenges faced at the beginning of transition period, they all have adopted entirely different solutions in political, economic and social spheres. The insight into these processes with the comparative approach seems promising. It could lead to the exposure of some implicit or undefined aspects of political transformation. For example, in many cases priorities and the way of implementation of social policy could be explained by ideological and/or political premises of policy-makers. Nevertheless, this procedure could be also reversed and analyses of various social policy measures can explicate and prove hidden and unspoken reasons for some political actions.

The main base for the article will be research evidence collected and knowledge gathered during the realization of the PROFIT project ( PROFIT (full title: Policy Responses Overcoming Factors in the Intergenerational Transmission of Inequalities) is a multidisciplinary comparative research project financed by the European Commission under the 6th Framework Programme. Studies in a frame of PROFIT have been conducted in 8 countries and the main area of research interest was policy impact on the process of inheritance of social inequalities. Nevertheless, some part of empirical data collected during the research process referred directly to the above mentioned topic of the presentation.

Coming to Terms with the Communist Past: Mourning, Trauma and Nostalgia in Krzysztof Kieślowski’s film Blue (1993) and Ivan Golev’s novel Dany (2005)

Teodora Atanasova
Georgetown University

Svetlana Boym’s The Future of Nostalgia and Charity Scribner’s Requiem for Communism are among the very few books in the field of cultural studies in the United States that have addressed the concept of nostalgia in the context of the post-communist transition to democracy. Boym freed the concept from the negative connotations that are usually associated with it, whereas Scribner showed that the communist system consisted of utopian elements, such as the socialist collective, which are worthy to be preserved even though the political system itself has lost all its credibility.
I will analyze Krzysztof Kieślowski’s film Blue (1993) and Ivan Golev’s novel Dany (2005) through the prism of Boym’s and Scribner’s theoretical approaches in order to demonstrate the important role that film and literature have played in the shift that has taken place in the discourse about the post-communist past in Central and Eastern Europe. Initially, discussions about post-communism oscillated between two diametrically opposed poles. On the one end of the spectrum were those who passionately supported the new democratic regimes. On the other end were all those who were unwilling to part with the security with which the communist system provided them.
In this paper I will argue that literary and cinematic works have generated a process of remembering the past by opening poetic spaces within which images of the past can be re-evaluated and reconstructed. In this way literature and film have acted as catalysts for a more critical and complex evaluation of the past. Blue and Dany will allow me to illustrate that the process of coming to terms with communism was a long and painful endeavor and therefore a lot of time will need to pass before the legacies of communism can be confronted, processed and transformed into assets for the future.

Poland in Northern Ireland, the artistic point of view


Title of the paper: Poland in Northern Ireland, the artistic point of view
Suggested topic: New social structures, new social divisions

In 2002, the five countries with the greatest number of work permit holders in Ireland were Latvia, Lithuania, Philippines, Poland and Romania. Together these countries constituted over 40% of all work permit holders in that year. Following enlargement, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland became full members of the European Union, while Romania as a candidate country is due for entry in 2007.
A reasonably good source of information on the number of immigrants arriving in Ireland is the number of Personal Public Service (PPS) numbers allocated. There were 25,222 such numbers issued to Polish nationals in 2004 and 64,766 in 2005.
This paper would like to have a look at several aspects of work migration from an artistic point of view.

Poland in Northern Ireland
Migration profoundly affects the sense of place of local communities.
Working in Northern Ireland means living in a post-conflict society among two very strong communities.
How are the interactions between migrants and local communities? How are the polish migrant experiences in Northern Ireland?
How are the reception and perceptions of newcomers in Ireland since 1996?
If the work migrants return: What are the issues of identity and belonging among polish work migrants? How are migrant emotions affected in the context of changing status positions?

Not only political- and social science are interested in migration processes. Migration as a subject also gets reflected in the works of artists, which try to find new ways for production and representation of this topic.
To what extend does the art fulfil meanwhile an important political and social role? Can art be “useful” in a civil society sense, if we are dealing with the real problems of migration? Or does the subject of migration help to re-vitalize old concepts of a national culture? Which cultural meaning and social effects has the topic of migration in Northern Ireland and for the extended EU?

This presentation will give several examples of artistic and media approaches to migrant communities in Northern Ireland, empowering a critical discussion about the approaches.

Internetfora and blogs by the polish community in Ireland:

Spending the youth during the transition period. Life stories of young adults from post-socialist countries.

Magdalena Rek
Institute of Sociology
University of Lodz, Poland

During last 17 years post-soviet societies have experienced deep changes. The transition from centrally-planned to free-market economy was accompanied by the emergence of mass unemployment, pauperization of diverse social groups and categories and growing inequalities in various spheres of social life. In consequence of transformation life opportunities of young generations have grown considerably, nevertheless this fact could not be treated as beneficial for all individuals who grow up during this period. Positive or negative assessment of social and economic changes depends on various factors, but particular attention should be paid to social policy schemes (in the field of education, labour market and welfare), as instruments to increase social mobility. Post-socialist states had to redefine their social policy regimes, which were unable to face entirely new challenges.
The presentation will be based on results of the PROFIT (full title: Policy Responses Overcoming Factors in the Intergenerational Transmission of Inequalities) research project, realized in the frames of 6th Framework Programme of European Union. The aim of the project is to conduct multidisciplinary comparative study on intergenerational inheritance of social inequalities in eight European countries. The outcomes can give and answer to the question about the most effective measures which can be used to improve social mobility.
One of the stages of the project was to identify the relative importance of different factors affecting social mobility of individuals.
The main empirical base for the presentation are in-depth interviews carried out in Poland, Bulgaria, Lithuania and Estonia with young adults (aged 25-29), who originated in low status families and live in middle size, economically deprived towns. Some of them inherited parents social position, but others experienced upward social mobility. The idea of the paper is to identify the determinants behind critical decisions concerning the transition from obligatory school to school of higher level, from school to work and from parental family to that established of its own. Of particular interest is importance of policies and informal networks (family, peers, significant “others”) at transition points in a life course of an individual.
Findings of the interviews will be supplemented by other data collected for the purposes of PROFIT project.

Change and Resistance: the discourse of post-communism: Who speaks and why? Company discourse- before and after 1989

Magdalena Bielenia
Institute of English
University of Gdańsk

The aim of this research is to discuss the discourse of post-communism in the vocational setting. An attempt will be made to elaborate on the issue of business discourse before and after 1989. We will start with the concept of Language for Special Purpose and its classification with regard to some economic activities and their time caesura. The next issue will deal with the notion of discourse community. This topic will also be discussed with relation to the change of the system. The discourse within a company will be presented by taking into consideration the age, sex and education of the interlocutors. We will also try to find out how not only the speech itself but the ways people behave due to their political or economic background determine the performance of the studied companies. To highlight this aspect of this research we will quote the studies conducted in some international companies which are ruled by foreign managers. We will also try to compare the attitude presented by Polish managers with the ones shared by their foreign colleagues. The next aspect which will be discussed in this study is whether the state of post-communism discourse is the same within the researched areas of economics. Thus, some novel domains such as investment banking or venture capital which were absent before 1989 will be presented in this research. The aim of this part is to show whether even the new domains have traces of post-communism discourse. What is more, an attempt will be made to predict the potential scenarios of the discussed economic discourse in the future.

The Polish market of children’s picture books as a field of intertwined discourse formations.

Małgorzata Cackowska
University of Gdańsk

Main thesis:

- The Polish market of picture books for children has changed into totally liberal, where economic capital dominates over cultural life.
- The low quality of content and form of picture books in Poland depends on a socially constructed power of mass aesthetic judgment and adults’ permission for the dominating mass culture.


The paper focuses on socio-cultural circumstances affecting present production of picture books for children in Poland in the context of the past (during communism conditions) and globalization. Picture book is therefore distinct as the first meaningful medium connecting a young person with culture and useful for identity-formation, while at the same time, the primary reader position is almost absolutely taken by adults. This is the main reason of researching all adult intermediators who have influence on the content, form I analyze the power/knowledge relations and discourse formations constructing the field of cultural production, distribution and re-production in children’s picture books' market. In accordance with P. Bourdieu’s concept of the field, I examine a relational network of diverse points of individual and inter-subjective concepts of significance in picture books and also aesthetic judgment (occurring in parents’, early education teachers’, children’s and artists’ (illustrators) reflections and experiences) and institutions represented by small- and large-scale editors and publishers from the Polish market of picture books. I based the study of mechanisms in the field and its subfields with its power mechanisms and relations of different points of view, on empirical material collected in Gdańsk and other places in Poland during the years 2004-2006. The methodology applied in the project consists mostly of phenomenography (interviews) and discourse analysis. It aims at understanding picture book construction, re-production and power relations among institutional (publishing houses) and surrounding cultural settings.

Production of Urban Public Space

Production of Urban Public Space.

The case of Półwiejska Street Transformation, 1989-2006

Konrad Miciukiewicz

Institute of Sociology

Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan

The paper is aimed at finding and interpreting the processes of structuring and restructuring contemporary urban public spaces on the case of Półwiejska St. (Poznań) transformation, 1989-2006. Półwiejska St., known mostly of the “Old Brewery” shopping centre and the minority demonstration called “the March of Equality”, has become the leading example of ongoing urban change in Poznań. The founding idea of the empirical research is to look at some of its transformations with particular reference to the processes of privatization, commercialization, gentrification and militarization of space, as well as to the site specific consequences of urban developments on the networks of human interaction. The author tries to answer questions concerning the production of semi-public urban spaces, the construction of the counter-spaces of city politics, cultural urban practices, and everyday life. These questions are to be answered on the basis of the empirical findings from press analysis and field work on Półwiejska St., where 30 in-depth interviews have been conducted.

Educating for the social change – a historical reappraisal of higher education sector in Nordic welfare states

Dr Kazimierz Musiał

University of Gdańsk

Higher education is generally believed to equip students with a capacity for change. Not only do they possess the necessary qualifications to progress and succeed in the highly competitive modern society. The university graduates are trained to adjust to the changing needs of the labour market nowadays and they are more willing to practice mobility when looking for new jobs and challenges.

Through stipulating certain systemic solutions in higher education and organising the educational policy in a given way states influence their citizens’ ability to deal with the social change. Even though modern society seems to favour individuals with a strictly defined life purpose, it is often the experience of collective learning and the practice of free and open dialogue experienced during the study period at the university that makes it easier for the graduates to form creative communities. The longer the process of education with an experience of higher education, the more prepared the individuals are to collaborate towards peaceful solutions when encountering problems. Needles to say, they are better prepared to serve and participate in their community.

In the Nordic countries the long lasting tradition and practice of life-long learning and extensive access to higher education provide good foundations for preparing individuals to cope with the vagaries of modern societies. Furthermore, the whole idea of the Nordic welfare state being a progressive model of social engineering, it offered social change as an inevitable component of the social system. By providing good conditions for attaining higher education, the state has created a class of highly educated citizenry that was able to generate and support the social change and social engineering.

Dealing with the Nordic countries and the welfare state ideology is interesting as some authors considered their solutions as possible export goods to implant in Central and Eastern Europe after the fall of communism in the late 1980s. The missing component that often goes unattended has been the level of education that could guarantee a broad qualified dialogue and compromise instead of principal resistance.

This paper will ascertain the importance of higher education sector in the Nordic countries in the context of peaceful conflict resolution so widely practiced in these countries. It will be analysed to what extent their welfare state and public policy in general have stimulated or are a product of the expansion of higher education. Higher education as a means of social advancement and a means of fostering dialogue in a welfare state will be studied and the broad Nordic context considered.

Post-communism nostalgia in Poland. Nostalgia for Polish People's Republic

Karolina Slovenko
University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn

"Communism is haunting post-communist societies from the grave."

Piotr Sztompka

For last decade Poland has traveled the road from dictatorship to democracy, from monopoly to pluralism, from the status of a satellite country to a sovereign country, from the Warsaw Pact to NATO, from an economy of scarcity and a planned economy to a market economy and economic growth, from censorship to freedom, from closed borders to open borders, from state ownership to privatization.

The reaction to this is a nostalgia for…communism. As the process of market transition in Eastern and Central Europe (also in Poland) continues, the proportion of people who report that they favor the socialist system has grown. Nostalgia for the communist past is often defined as the feeling that life under communist rule is preferable to life under the democratic rule of the present. It is difficult to understand, especially difficult for people who fought against communism and rejected it.

Post-communism nostalgia can be in some part a kind of proof that the transformation process in this region of Europe is still unfinished and Poland (among other countries) has stood astride between socialism and capitalism. It can be also a result of the unfulfilled expectations of a new and better future for the newly liberated nations. Nostalgia for communism has important roots. First, it is the longing for safety. It is the longing for a situation in which the state assumes a considerable part of care for the fate of its citizens. And this whole ethos of the market economy is a challenge to be responsible for one's own fate, but at the same time it is also the reflection of large social groups, and the placement of these groups into greater risk. The source of nostalgic attitudes is the merging of economic and social status that has occurred in the course of transformation. Under socialism, many occupations enjoyed extraordinary social prestige, despite low salaries. The ongoing fusion of social and economic status gives those less financially successful a feeling of being deprived of both social position and of economic well-being. This hypothesis was verified through a series of interviews and through the analysis of alternative explanations of nostalgia, for example, theories claiming that post-socialist societies have been affected by collective amnesia. Post-communist nostalgia might have also substantive reasons.

In addition, nostalgia for communism in some part is a result of positive memories related with youth – for many Poles period of Polish People`s Republic is time of their childhood and youth. Time also relieves memories about situations in “real socialism”. This kind of subjectivism garble memory of communism past.

The communist regime can be preferred negatively, positively or fully – and people can become negatively, positively or fully nostalgic about pre-democratic life. At this same moment we can ask what role does nostalgia for the communist past play in consolidating new democracies in East and Central Europe, also in Poland? Do ordinary citizens feel nostalgic toward more than one aspect of life under communism? Toward what aspects of communist life do they feel most and least nostalgic – for the political, economic and other domains of their lives? It is also interesting and important to distinguish those who experience nostalgia from those who do not in terms of demographic, socio-economic and other personal characteristics.

The post-communism nostalgia is visible in some aspects of Central and East European life as politics, society, and culture. In Poland this nostalgia become also popular, become as a kind of style which gets new face. Reality of Polish People`s Republic comes back in films, some people collect things which are related with this period (siphon bottle, glass bottle for milk, old cards, medals, bank-notes, placard, etc) and they have more and more opportunities to visit museums (there is also Museum of Polish People`s Republic on the Internet, in close future in Warsaw will be Museum of Communism “Socland”), galleries (for example Gallery of Socrealism Arts in Kozłówka) or go to pubs, clubs where time has stopped and where they can listen to Bierut`s or Gomułka`s speeches, see sculptures, pictures and parts of TV programmes, films from those times, sit on old furniture and try orangeade, etc. People can also experience communism tours with “crazy guide” during which they visit places related with that epoch (even flat which is adapted to communism times), drive old car like trabant or fiat 125p and eat in milk bar. But for whom it is all? Maybe is it mainly offer for young people who do not remember communism period, some kind of nowadays quest, hunt for fashion?

Nostalgia for communism can be also perceived as “a burden and a problem”, one of the “unresolved problems” that will need to be dealt with in the future together with unemployment, wide gaps in social status, etc. Matter of post-communism nostalgia is complex. One thing is certain. The country without history is like man without memory. Memory about past is important for individuals and for whole society, and it should be use in a constructive way.

Political illusions in Poland from psychological perspective

Jarosław Klebaniuk

Instytut of Psychology

Wroclaw University

Main thesis

Polish political scene seems to be divided in a way known elsewhere

This is illusion: the right-left division is non-existent in Poland

Voters are faced by a right-right choice

Mass propaganda is responsible for the phenomenon

Cognitive mechanisms’ perspective could be employed to explain propaganda efficiency

Some personality orientations are responsible for the acceptance of the right-right effect


In the paper a short analysis of the main political parties’ practice of ruling, programmes and propaganda means will be presented. Than the right-wing bias will be described as a specific phenomenon of Polish politics. Some propaganda theories (cultivation perspective by G. Gerbner, spiral of silence by E. Noelle-Neumann) will be cited to explain the effect. Finally, some personality orientations (right-wing authoritarianism by B. Altemeyer, social dominance orientation by J. Sidanius and F. Pratto) will be drawn upon as possible psychological explanatory variables. The acceptance of the current state of political affairs is therefore the consequence of (jointly): exposure to the mainstream mass propaganda and some personality traits making the acceptance of political parties and socio-economic system easier. Some empirical evidence is available (and will be cited) concerning the Polish voter 2005 behaviour and preferences.

The above diagnosis could be subject to amendments as the political situation is ever changing (and some new theoretical ideas come up sometimes, too).

Urban and regional governance – post-communist or global condition of fuzziness?

Iwona Sagan
University of Gdańsk

In recent years, political spaces are rescaled very intensively by a combination of multifold processes defined as globalization, economic, political and social neoliberalism, systemic transformations. The discussion is dominated by the themes of changing role of the state, of political (re)construction of the regional tier or the cities’ renaissance. The paper focuses on four main issues. First, the growing differentiation and fragmentation of social demands and, in a further result, of political scene makes the contradiction of particularity of interests and universality of principles imprinted in democratic system a specially complicated problem. Second, there is commonly expressed necessity of active participation of civil society organizations in governance practices. However the general conviction that civic organizations are the right actors to represent the community interests and the only social force able to balance the domination of neoliberal economy seems to hang in a political vacuum. Third, in the institutional approach the development possibilities are perceived as a result of not so much the capital accumulation but of the institutional embeddedness. The approach is not free of shortages and ambiguity stemming from a danger of separation of the power from the representation and from the responsibility. Still prevailing sectoral organization of institutional structures negatively influences the effectiveness of institutional transformation into the more integrative governance structures. Fourth, the problem of scale in relation to the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ governance is a problem of negotiating the right scale for evaluating the priorities of development.

Tuning to the rhythm of IT

Tuning to the rhythm of IT : new temporal synchronizers and their effects on learning in vocational education

Ingrid de Saint-Georges
Home university: University of Geneva

This paper examines changes in learning and knowledge production resulting from Western societies’s tuning to « new synchronizers » of activities. Activities in industrial and post-industrial societies were very much organized by the clock. Information Technologies have created new synchronizers alongside clock time. In many social spheres, social activities are entrained today to the infinitely more rapid beat of computer devices, able to work to the nanosecond. Because of this built-in fast temporality, information technologies (IT), Hassan (2003) argues, have created a “buzz of flickering present” and raised “speed to a metaphysical status”, with consequences for social life as a whole. In the realm of education, in particular, the new synchronizers transform not only how we learn but also what is learned and how knowledge is produced.
The paper seeks to better understand the consequences of tuning to the pace of IT for vocational education. Theoretically and methodologically, it draws concepts from various discourse analytical framework concerned with social transformation and change: the Vienna discourse historical approach (Wodak, 2001), the nexus analysis approach (Scollon & Scollon, 2004) and the frame of social semiotics (Lemke, 2000). Empirically, it examines video-taped interactions documenting the work of apprentices and their co-workers in a Geneva car repair shop.
The study begins by contextualizing briefly the situation examined in its wider societal, historical and economical context. The world of the car industry constitutes a particularly relevant environment to study interrelations between time, work and learning. Its short history merges with that of modern times and the industrial revolution. It has affected modes of life and promoted new forms of organization of work (cfr. fordism, toyotism). It has also been at the forefront of the IT revolution when Fordism as a mode of production started to show signs of decline. The various temporalities associated with these technological changes traverse the local “timescapes” of the workplace examined (Adam, 1998). For example, apprentices are paid by the hour, and clock in and out of work. The corporation imposes strict guidelines regarding the time allotted to car servicing, diagnosis, parts replacement, etc.. Software used for diagnoses connect more and more car mechanics’ work to the IT revolution. In this context, the analysis consists in identifying different synchronizers to which apprentices align and to examine how they affect situated learning. It shows that while learning occurs, the various time pressures existing in the context constraint opportunities for learning and inquiry. It also make clear that while the apprentices and their co-workers develop coping strategies of time management, the interstitial opportunities left for learning and other non-productive temporalities tend to be reduced to a minimum.
On the methodological level, the paper insists on the importance of “opening up the circumference of discourse analysis” (Scollon & Scollon, 2004) and integrating historical sources when seeking to grasp the complexity of even a simple moment of learning. It also insists on the importance of not “flattening time” but analyzing the entrainment effect of various pace-setters (Scollon, 2005) when seeking to understand social issues. It finally questions which temporalities and which time-scales we should work on to “reclaim time” for learning and for critical inquiry.
Adam, B. (1998). Timescapes of Modernity. The Environment and Invisible Hazards, London and New York: Routledge.
Hassan, R. (2003). The Chronoscopic Society: Globalization, Time and Knowledge in the Network Economy, New York: Peter Lang.
Lemke, J. (2000). Across the Scales of Time: Artifacts, Activities, and Meanings in Ecosocial Systems Mind, culture and activity, 7(4), 273-290.
Scollon, R. (2005). The rhythmic integration of action and discourse: work, the body and the earth. In S. Norris & R. H. Jones (Eds.), Discourse in action: introducing mediated discourse analysis (pp.20-31). London and New York: Routledge.
Scollon, R., & Scollon, S. W. (2004). Nexus analysis: discourse and the emerging internet. London and New York: Routledge.
Wodak, R. (2001). The discourse-historical approach. In R. Wodak & M. Meyer (Eds.), Methods of critical discourse analysis (pp. 63-94). London: Sage.

Constructing the ‘Revolution’

Constructing the ‘Revolution’: Social change, national commemoration and the management of accountability and legitimacy in Romanian political discourse

Cristian Tileaga
University of East London

This paper addresses the various ways in which the ‘Revolution of 1989’ has been represented and constructed by political leaders who were at the heart of the December events, during several relatively recent commemorative addresses in the Romanian parliament. A critical discursive analysis of political discourse based on ideological rhetorical analysis (Billig, 2004; Chilton, 2004; Chilton and Schaffner,1997) and insights from membership categorization analysis (Sacks, 1995; Eglin and Hester, 2003) was used. Several political speeches were analysed leading to the identification of a series of descriptive features: a) the idea of ‘revolution’ as a general, historical process and, b) essential stage in the development of a unified Romanian nation. These features were embedded in narratives of comprehensive political change and future of the nation. It is argued that their main ideological function is that of framing/reframing, controlling the various interpretations, public (categorical) reformulations of the event(s). It is also argued that such a discourse disconnects the ‘revolution’ from its controversial particulars and delegitimizes criticism. This is a preliminary attempt to critically examine the Romanian political imaginary regarding one of its most controversial historical events. Implications for a political psychology of social change, political legitimacy and representativeness are drawn.

On the Track of a Socio Cultural Learning Discourse?

Brit Ballangrud,
Buskerud University College

Background for this paper is the newest reform in Norway “Knowledge Promotion”. As a part of the reform the government has made a special strategy for developing competences needed for implementing the reform. This strategy for competence development is described in a special document from The Ministry of Education and Research. "Competence for Development. Strategy for Competence Development in Compulsory Schools 2005 – 2008” (my translation) (Utdannings- og forskningsdepartementet, 2005).

This paper deals with a discourse analysis of the document called the “The Competence Strategy”. The aim of this paper is; An Analysis of “The Competence Strategy” in the Norwegian Reform “Knowledge Promotion” by a description of the discourse of collaboration and learning.

Norman Fairclough has developed a three dimensional model for his approach, Critical Discourse Analysis (Fairclough, 1995). This model will be used for analysing the text of the Competence Strategy document as a discourse. The first part will be a description of the Competence Strategy and its meaning. Linguistic elements will be used. In the next part some patterns in the text describing the discourse, will be presented. In the last part the meaning and the rules of the discourse practice will be discussed in connection with analysing the learning discourse in the text. By using Fairclough`s model, the Strategy will be described as a common foundation for collaboration, with new roles for different actors and special responsibility for the school owner. The learning activities are learning for meeting practical challenges in the reform, and developing schools as learning organisations through leadership. In the text it may be find patterns connected to the text as genre. The Strategy as a common foundation is resting on different discourses. Not very much is said about the schools and schools leadership. They have a very little position in the text, but the text emphasizes leadership in learning processes bridging the schools learning. The analysis shows that it is possible to read the text from a socio cultural position and find elements in the Strategy which harmonize with a situated perspective.

Discursive divisions in postcommunist politics. The case of right wing anticommunism in Poland

Artur Lipiński,
Institute of Political Science, Kazimierz Wielki University, Bydgoszcz, Poland

The data strongly supports the existence in Poland of a profound elite cleavage based primarily on the political past and reinforced by corresponding links to organized religion. This cleavage concerns not only political elites but also the whole society. Anticommunism as the effect of the discursive construction of the enemy, was (and in fact, although slightly less salient, still is) an important topic in each electoral campaign, it played a significant role as a determining factor in coalition making processes, it influenced the activities of right-wing politicians and hence contributed to the unity of left-wing politicians who perceived anticommunism as a threat to their political position. The main idea is that conflicts over anticommunism were a crucial factor in the political conflicts during the years after the collapse of the communist regime in Poland.
My paper is going to be devoted to the one of the most significant conflicts permeating Polish society and dividing it in respect of attitude towards the non-democratic, communist regime. This division has shaped a public discourse, the construction of political and party system, and trajectory of most of the conflicts which ignited political struggles.
Anticommunism in contemporary Poland serves as a tool of depreciation of political opponents from the left wing. It is an exclusionary discourse which makes it possible to create or revive the division between "we" and "they" (the term “anticommunism” as such implies this division) and sustain the antagonism. If we accept the thesis that political discourse has three functions: creation of a positive image of oneself, creation of a negative image of the opponent and mobilization of support, we will see the cause of the political strength of anticommunism.
In the paper I’m going to study the content of anticommunism which is perceived as the outcome of intellectual, doctrinal, programmatic or broadly speaking discoursive activity of political subjects: parties, groupings and candidates. I assume that they are important actors pretending to control public discourse, to impose particular definition of reality and evaluation of status quo, to sustain, intensify and modify conflicts which have already existed within society. From this point of view, the presence, significance and character of anticommunism in the society is mainly the effect of discursive activities of political objects.
I also take premise that anticommunism should not be regarded as a cohesive, fixed phenomenon similar to a political doctrine, but rather as a loose set of ideas, which are rooted in the generalized rejection of communism. I’m going to analyze internal diversity of anticommunism which, on the most general level, manifests itself through four dimensions. I’ve distinguished: temporal orientation, emotional register, object of discourse and ontological dimension. A four dimensional discourse analytical matrix helps me to show that anticommunism not only tended to delegitimize left wing, but also served as an instrument of internal struggle among right wing agents.

Evolution of the Polish political discourse after September 2005

Łukasz Orylski
Uniwersytet Gdański

In contrast with the economic indicators or the election pools, changes in the public discourse are not easy to grasp. Transformation process among the symbolic elites after the parliamentary and presidential election in Poland in 2005 caused the incorporation of the political ideas and statements, previously considered to be marginal, into the mainstream of the political life. The division between the “liberal Poland” and “solidary Poland” which has been created during the election campaigns seem to invalidate the distinction between post-communists and the successors of the democratic opposition’s tradition. In my opinion such situation can be described as a consequence of the previous hegemonic position of the “non-rightist” discourse as well as the tendency of the present government leaders to interpret the political reality as the creation of System which is antagonistic to the society but also deep-rooted in it’s structure. To what extend the evolution that has been remarked here screw the previous transformation? Can it create the new type of social engineering which aim is not to promote the consumer model of politics – as in the other countries with strong liberal traditions – but to create the fundamental philosophical conflict? Can the specific Polish conservatism become a source of inspiration for the organizations which similarly to the ones described by Claus Offe as the new social movements will concentrate on the issue of identity and “the world of life”, but understood in a completely different way? I would like to try to answer these questions during my speech.

Everyday Life, Social Change, and Cultural Revolution - Henri Lefebvre's Heritage

Heinz Sünker

Henri Lefebvre, the outstanding representative of Western Marxism, analysed structures and contents of every day life (which is encompassing the Marxian critique of political economy) in late capitalism in the interest of answering the question of chances of real social changes, i.e. social transformations aiming at a real revolution - and not only the exchange of ruling powers/pseudoelites. The paper deals with Lefebvre's analysis of everyday life showing the relevance of the category 'ambiguity' for social anylsis.

In a second step the papers deals with analysing Lefebvre's perspective of a cultural revolution.It is shown that only the mediation of Lefebvre's analyses with the German concept of 'Bildung' may be able to solve the question of a real revolution.

Democracy, Education and Conflict: Rethinking the Place of the Ethical

Carl Anders Säfström
Mälardalen university

Sharon Todd
Stockholm Institute of Education

One of the cornerstones of a democratic education is a basic notion of respect for others who hold different points of view from ourselves. Yet, within an increasingly divergent public discourse about values, rights, and equality, especially gender equality, democratic education needs to concern itself with practices that not only encourage respect, but that can negotiate through the very troubled relations that often afflict classrooms and schools. Models of how to encourage respect often centre on creating a conflict-free atmosphere through appeals to deliberation, dialogue, conversation, consensus, and/or a combination of these. Indeed, conflict is often perceived as not simply being counter-productive to dialogue and conversation, but as being indicative of communicative breakdown itself. In this way, conflict becomes the symptom of social ills through which recourse to some form of dialogue supposedly acts as the remedy. The idea of conflict has become so antithetical to democratic education that little has been written on the inevitability and importance of some kinds of conflict for legitimising the possibility of democracy itself.

The purpose of this paper is to explore the significance of cross-cultural conflict for democratic education and to propose an ethical orientation which seeks to make space for conflict as an integral part of learning democracy. The paper puts forth two ideas: a) that certain relations of conflict, particularly those identified by Chantal Mouffe (2005) as “agonistic relations,” are necessary for the very existence of democratic politics and can serve as starting points for reconsidering how schools situate themselves in relation to cross-cultural dilemmas; and b) that an ethical orientation to conflict requires the affirmation of the other as a form of hospitality through which democratic projects might be more fully realised.

Drawing on Chantal Mouffe (2005), Emmanuel Levinas (1969) and Jacques Derrida (1999), this paper discusses both the political and ethical dimensions of conflict in education. Specifically, Mouffe’s model of “agonistic relations,” which takes pluralism as a condition for politics, offers a unique perspective on how some forms of conflict might be reconceived as essential to democratic education. In wishing to extend her views, we build upon the notion of hospitality and the ethical relation to the other as expressed by Levinas and Derrida in order to highlight how agonistic relations demand a form of ethical response which lies beyond respect.

Through this investigation we seek not to provide a model of conflict resolution, but an ethical orientation to conflict that recognizes its centrality in the creation of a vibrant democratic engagement with difference. The place of the ethical is not in our view about a normative imperative of what we should do in order to reach consensus, but about how we live with the “endless betterment” of the state (Critchley, 2004) through the possibility of upheaval and disturbance that the ethical relation to the other brings.

Critchley, Simon. (2004) “Five Problems in Levinas’s View of Politics and the Sketch of a Solution to Them.” Political Theory 32, no. 2.

Derrida, Jacques. (1999) “A Word of Welcome” in Adieu to Emmanuel Levinas, trans P-A Brault and M. Naas, Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Levinas, Emmanuel. (1969) Totality and Infinity: An Essay on Exteriority, trans. A. Lingis, Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press.

Mouffe, Chantal. (2005) On the Political. London: Routledge.

Change and Resistance in Minoritised Linguistic Landscapes

Michael Hornsby

University of Southampton, UK

In many parts of Europe, minority and minoritised languages are currently experiencing higher profiles than ever before. At the same time, the use of these languages has spread from traditional strongholds (where, in many cases, it is in sharp decline) to use in domains never previously imagined. This paper aims to explore the nature of these transformations and the conditions which explain them. These can be attributed to the present period of globalisation and 'High Modernity' (Giddens, 1991) which 'seemingly paradoxically, produces both fragmentation and uniformization' (Heller, 1999: 33). The resulting struggles include treating minority languages as commodities, rather than an index of identity and the use of 'authenticity' (Gal & Woolard, 2001) in exercising control over how these languages are defined. Language commodification and the deliberate creation of sites are exemplified in one minority language situation, that of Breton, either in a symbolic way or in the constituting of linguistic Communities of Practice (CofPs). In this paper, I argue that the creation of Breton-language sites is a very different phenomenon from the much more visible commodification of the language but, being a grass-roots initiative, is more likely to hold the key for the possible long-term survival of the language. With the current higher visibility of the Breton language on the linguistic landscape, attitudes among young Breton speakers to its symbolic use is explored, focussing on their simultaneous appreciation and rejection of such changes. This situation is mirrored in many other minoritised language settings.

Remaking People and People’s Resistance in the Neoliberal Postsocialism

Michał Buchowski

I will examine the way advocates of the neoliberal order in postsocialism try to impose new system of values that can reorient people’s attitudes towards social reality. These efforts are aimed, inter alia, at the creation of a ‘new person’ that neatly matches emerging market principles. On the one hand, the reconstruction of a person involves his/her de-construction as a member of a tightly- knit social network. On the other hand, it implies a creation of a person that perceives himself/herself as an individual that can be gauged and valued according to the principles of market economy. This already well-advanced process has profoundly modified everyday practices of families, communities, and collectivities of peopele working together. However, it also triggers resistance of ordinary people who want to preserve their time-honored values and their dignity embedded in past experience.

These phenoemena also ask for an analysis of the way the hegemony of those in power and intellectual elite stimulate everyday resistance of the subalterns and how this hegemony conditions the protests of politically organized movements. Opposition to the discourse of dominant culture assumes various shapes. It starts with the daily small disobedience, this ‘weapon of the weak’ (as James Scott put it), through which people neutralize disciplining efforts of the state. Resistance is also detectable in the nationalist and religious rebuttal of values perceived as endangering nation’s endurance (e.g. sovietization in the past or licentious Western lifestyle today). The opposition to the dominant practices and discourses was also expressed through spectacular actions of the youth protesting against oppressive communist state and through road blockades staged by anti-liberal ‘populists’ or anti-globalists’ demonstrations. This spectrum of modes and motives of resistance does not preclude the existence of patterned forms of its articulation.

Paradoxically, resistance can lead to the dialectical process called the ‘jujitsu of domination and resistance’ (Michael Kearny’s expression). In politics, jujitsu forms of domination (here, the disciplining discourses and practices advancing neoliberalism) mobilize the active efforts in self-defense which, in turn, provide the energy deployed in subalterns’ subjugation. By contesting dominant cultures those who contest changes, reinforce the negative images about themselves as stubborn and obliterating progress. I will discuss in what way this intricate social dialectics is presented both in political discourses and scholarly accounts

The promotion of knowledge

Janicke Heldal Stray

Institute for Educational Research, The Faculty of Education
University of Oslo

The Norwegian school reform of 2006 is named the “Promotion of Knowledge”. In this presentation I want to explore the main trends in this reform, especially those concerned the construction of meaning making when it comes to the school as an institution for passing democratic values and virtues to the young. The Norwegian school reform must be understood both in a national and an international context, and the mediation between this two levels through “local adjustments”. My main question is how democratic citizenship is understood in this reform, and how democracy is connected to the concepts of knowledge economy, knowledge society, social capital and human capital in the Norwegian context. I am using critical discourse analysis as the tool for investigating these questions.

Polish changes 1990-2005 in Polish pop music lyrics

Witold Jakubowski

University of Wrocław

Popular culture ceases to be treated as a ‘worse’ part of the cultural reality. It is a space in which people respond more sincere than in the questionnaires. Popular culture (understood here as the folk culture of post-industrial societies) is authentic, and in a spontaneous way comments on the everyday life.

Pop music is its important part. Dilemmas and uneasiness not only of the new generations are most often articulated there. Taking into consideration the fact that a lyrics is a text directed to a wide, heterogeneous public, it is naturally characterized by a high degree of simplicity. Pop music lyrics are cultural texts and thus they can be read as pedagogical texts.

Scholars claim that the choice of a theme by a pop singer gives it a definite place in the hierarchy of importance. As a result, if a lyrics deals with propaganda, it reveals at the same time that the theme constitutes an important problem for its author. The lyrics becomes thus an elaboration, a commentary on those aspects of reality that are important for the author. The interpretation of the texts reveals the meanings that are common for the receiver and the singer. An attentive listening of the texts makes it possible to understand what the younger generation wants to tell and this, in turn, are painful and accurate diagnosis of the reality. The lyrics reflect what is important for the young generation, what irritates them, what they live by, and what they give meaning to.

In my paper I want to give a picture of Polish changes in the political system as seen in the Polish pop music lyrics. I shall pay special attention to the context of changes that are accentuated there, which aspects of the changes are commented on and on the discussed consequences of the changes.

Resistance or Complicity?

Resistance or Complicity?: Writing on Academic Publishing in the pre-1989 Czech Republic

Libora Oates-Indruchová, Masaryk University, Brno

Despite the attention paid to the censoring practices of state socialist institutions by post-state-socialist scholarship, academic censorship remains an under-researched area. Moreover, in the case of the Czech Republic there is little available written material on these practices from the pre-1989 era, because official censoring measures did not extend to academic publishing and censorship: this occurred in multiple unofficial and “undercover” ways. In my research, I draw mostly on interviews with academics who published during the so-called “Normalization” (i.e. 1969-1989) within official publishing channels and who are still today respected members of the academic community. That means that I excluded those who obviously condoned the repressive measures of the system (the “Normalizers” and “Party-liners”) and also those who expressed open resistance to the system by publishing in samizdat. Apart from the interviews having revealed an intricate texture of censoring and coping strategies, as stories they speak of self-censorship, self-fashioning, pain and resistance, among others. In fact, their nature was so rich, on the one hand, and so contradictory, on the other, that as research material they resisted the conventions of the academic writing mode. In my paper, I will focus on relating the issues of post-state socialist research on state-socialist censorship and reporting on such a project. I will propose that a non-traditional writing mode may help preserve the tensions inherent in the interviews, and instrumental in this process can be foregrounding of the relationship between the researcher (an outsider from the post-state-socialist times) and her informants (insiders of the state-socialist times and people with their reputations at stake in the post-state-socialist times), and of the research process.

The Paradox of Special Vocational Schools

Alicja Sadownik

Institute of Education

University of Gdansk

The Paradox of Special Vocational Schools:

An Empirical Example of Post-communist Fossils in the New Social Structure

Special Vocational Schools appeared in polish communist reality as natural consequence of the obligation of work and the segregation politics in education. The Special Vocational Schools aimed to prepare good workers for state-owned industries and factories.

Obligation of work and politics of segregation, made the world of work very clear (especially for people with disabilities). The medical or psychological diagnosis of special disability determined the special way of life and work of the person with disability, for ex. here, in Gdansk, the blinds were producing scrubbing-brushes, the mentally disabled women were sewing the second-quality clothes in the “FALA” factory, and the mentally disabled men were cleaning and keeping in order simple tools in the Shipyard.

After the social change the factories were closed, the integration in education has started and the obligation of work as well as the chance for employment in state-owned factories, collapsed. But the special vocational schools survived. Who and what are the teaching now? Are they fossils of communism? How do the teachers define their mission nowadays? What do the students think about their special vocational education and their future? What does “mental disability” mean in post-communist context?

In my article I will try to answer and discuss these questions, by showing the results of my research. The tentative results of my research, as well as, the main theses of my article, are:

  1. The Special Vocational Schools are teaching for the past, reproducing delusion of socialist structure of work and live. That is why, they gathered people, who are not adjusted to the new reality, students, whose families didn’t follow the transformation.

  2. Most of the students of Special Vocational Schools are from very poor, alcoholic and long-term unemployed families. The students, asked about the future, answers: “What future? I have no chance for job with a special school certificate!”

  3. The teachers exist in a schizophrenic logic. They claim they know, that their students have no chance for (well-paid) job and “normal live”, but they keep motivating them to learn and work.

  4. The students, understanding that they are excluded and deluded by the system at the same time, concern on “here and now”; claiming they have “nothing to lose”, they become aggressive (even to each other) and starts risky games with the teachers, law and the police.

  5. Slightly Mental Disability in post-communist context is strongly connected with poverty, long-term unemployment and felony.

  6. The social change in Poland (and in polish system of education) is still at the beginning. We adjust our social, political and mental structures to new reality, as well as we accept and reproduce “paradoxical monsters”, post-communist fossils, like Special Vocational Schools.

New space for our children: discourses of NGO

Igor Nosál, Ph.D.

Masaryk University

Faculty of Social Studies

Department of Sociology


The rhetoric and practices of the governing state bureaucracy and political elites in the field of childhood and family life are often challenged by non-governmental activists and organization, which demand for more autonomy for children, their parents and families. The paper focuses on the discursive constructions of social space for children in the “alternative” sphere of NGO during last decade in the Czech Republic. Specifically it analyses discursive events concerning domestic space (of “home” and substitute home) and the space of school. It focuses on spatial aspects of social control over children. The focus on the production of the “alternative” knowledge/power and its linguistic aspects (in the tradition of Foucault’s discourse analysis and CDA) has to explore power relations, conflict and resistance in the discursive field of post-socialist childhood. It also analyses the role of NGO as actors of change/resistance in the processes of the post-socialist social change. It also explicates the discursive practices as the tool of maintenance/change of power relations in the post-socialist era. The discursive practices are applied not only to govern the children, which are treated as the object of the state or “alternative” policy, but also to govern their parents, families and intimate life.

Tourist trips of Poles to the post-communist East: (re)creating Other, (re)constructing Self

Anna Horolets

The destinations of tourism are a matter of individual choices. Simultaneously, they are outcomes of (national) cultural politics and collective imagery of “other lands”. The interplay between one’s own “land” and “other lands” crystallizes the discourses of identity. The fashions replace some destinations with others thus the work on identity is carried out each time within new framework. Alternatively, different narratives are attached to the very same destination thus exerting different kind of influence on tourists’ identities.

In the paper based on a small scale qualitative research project I am going to address the issues of changing and ambiguous images of the post-communist “East” (e.g. Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia) as a destination for young Polish tourists. The motivations of choosing post-communist countries as a tourism destination deserve attention and analysis. The narratives about travel routines as well as imagery preceding and accompanying the journey obtained in the course of in-depth unstructured interviews will be analyzed by means of discourse analysis. The memories of the past (tourists’ own as well as their families) will the studied. Moreover, the narratives about the journeys to the East will be contrasted with the narratives about the journeys to the West. I will present the analysis of bodily practices involved in traveling to the post-communist East. Special attention will be given to the images of the institutional and personal obstacles to traveling, as well as incentives to travel. Travel outcomes (in form of articles in travel magazines, diaries, web-sites) will be subject to analysis. The institutionalization and codification of the tourism to these destinations will also be an object of scrutiny.

The aim of the paper is to address the question of the construction of the Other and of the search of identities in the rapidly modernizing and Europeanizing (Westernizing) post-communist Poland. The images of the Self and the Other obtained and constructed during (repeated) journeys to the post-communist East of Poland will be the means of studying the processes of identity change as well as taping down the enclaves of resistance to change in the generation to which “real socialism” is still a personal yet fading memory.