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Title: Klasa średnia : wypełnianie piramidy
Authors: Szczepański, Marek S.
Keywords: klasa średnia; Górny Śląsk; Zagłębie; badania empiryczne
Issue Date: 2001
Publisher: Katowice : Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego
Citation: W. Jacher (red.), "Eseje socjologiczne" (S. 190-200). Katowice : Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego
Abstract: The paper is devoted to the middle class arising in the process of the Polish transformation. The eulogy of that class, expressed for the first time by Aristotle, was repeated, usually without a reference to the antique philosopher, among numerous sociologists and political scientists interested in the Polish transformation. The participants of the debate usually agree that the protoplast of the contemporary weakly and undervalued Polish middle class was first of all the bourgeoisie. That group consisted of the people permanently connected with the town — by profession, by family, but also emotionally ascribed to a certain lifestyle, placed somewhere between the poor and the richest. At the time of the real socialism bourgeoisie became, keeping all the proportions, a dead class and the middle-class man was replaced by the townsman inscribed within the space of the concrete blocks of flats. The critical and exaggerated evaluation of some features of the local bourgeoisie and the city Philistine from the inter-bellum period was multiplied after 1945, and the negative features were treated as representative features. Hence, probably, such notions as bourgeoisie hypocrisy, meanness, smugness, or even neo-smugness. The scantiness of the middle class is particularly well visible in those regions of the country which, in the already fallen socialist formation, had been defined as the industrial centers constituting the fundament of the working class. The ideological ascription of the civilizational mission to that class, the financial depreciation of higher education against the highest economic status and prestige of the graduates of schools for workers, frequently functional illiterates, deepened the distortion of the pyramid. The Katowice region provides good examples of such processes. Additionally, the history of Upper Silesia, especially in the last two hundred years, made the regional educational elites, middle classes, and upper classes very scanty. What is more, their historical members frequently by force or freely underwent a national conversion, which made the social and professional success much easier. In such typical regions of the real socialism the construction and expansion of the middle class will surely be difficult, though possible, taking into consideration their intellectual, demographic or economic potential. The arising middle class can be easier described than precisely defined. There are, however, numerous features which can be ascribed to that social group, and among the most important ones I would count education, ways of earning money, the level of income, the family oriented life strategy, professional success and, finally, the standard and the style of living. I would also assume that its members are characterized by the investment-consumptive life attitude rather than that of contestation. An important distinguishing feature of that class are the phenomena of individualism, self- development, and creativity.
ISBN: 8322610556
Appears in Collections:Książki/rozdziały (WNS)

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