Górnośląskie Studia Socjologiczne, Nr 5 (2014), s. 22-41
The purpose of this article is to present the origin of the formation and transformation of
Silesian values since the mid‑nineteenth
century to the present day. Based on historical and sociological
studies and the Author’s own research, an attempt will be made to trace the process of shaping,
strengthening, and changes in the Silesian values: work, family and religion. As the experience of
other western communities have shown, in time of strong industrialization and urbanization there is
a secularization and laicite of society and the breakdown of family relationships, however a different
phenomenon occurred in Silesia.
Firstly, the period of the First World War, when Silesia belonged to the German state will be analyzed.
German Protestant work ethic and actions of Kulturkampf contributed in this period of time
to the formation of Silesian work ethos and values of the family and religion. Secondly, the interwar
period will be discussed, when the three values were subject to change under the influence of both
external and internal factors, taking place in the communities of Silesia. With the passage of time
those values either strengthened or changed their character. Thirdly, in the period of real socialism,
a destruction of the ethos of work and its “duality” is described in detail, in relation to the persistence
of family values and religion.
In conclusion, the changes which have occurred in the 20 years of systemic transformation are
shown, when there was a weakening of the value of religion, a redefining of the value of family and
a strengthening of the value of work in the same time.