Elite research in Poland: 1989–1995

  • Jacek Wasilewski


For forty years it was Marxism which dominated the social sciences in Poland as well as in the other countries of the Soviet block. More serious studies on elites were not possible. Yet, contrary to the majority of the communist countries in Poland, the absolute domination of Marxist and strict ideological control of the Party over the social sciences lasted for a relatively short time: during the years 1948–55. Later Marxists still had a privileged position, but it became more open, and sometimes even critical towards the regime (revisionism). Orthodox marxism and the orthodox Marxists were removed to the margin of the academic environment, though they still exerted political influence. Non-Marxist theories of society, power, politics and state were present in university curricula, particularly in departments of sociology. Polish sociologists, basing on pre-war traditions and constant contacts with the West (broken only during the Stalinist period), managed to defend their discipline from that intellectual limitation. Theories of stratification, authority, bureaucracy, elites, social mobility, were taught in Polish universities. The works by Weber, Pareto, Mosca, Michels, and Mills were discussed and disputed (e.g. Wesolowski 1962, 1985; Zyromski, 1984; Ortolani 1986), though, apart from a few exceptions, they were not translated into Polish1.


Civil Society Political Party Social Movement Political Elite Political Study 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Recent collective works

  1. Elity polityczne w Polsce. Wydawnictwo pokonferencyjne, Kazimierz Dolny 19–21 listopada 1992; 1992, (Political Elites in Poland. Proceedings of the 19–21 November; 1992 Conference at Kazimierz Dolny), ed. by Krzysztof Palecki. Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Adam MarszalekGoogle Scholar
  2. Poczqtki parlamentarnej elity. Poslowie kontraktowego Sejmu; 1992, (The Beginnings of Parliamentary Elite. Deputies to the Contract-based Diet), ed. by Jacek Wasilewski and Wlodzimierz Wesolowski. Warszawa: Wydawnictwo IFiS PANGoogle Scholar
  3. Konsolidacja elit politycznych w Polsce 1991–93; 1994, (Consolidation of Political Elites in Poland 1991–93), ed. by Jacek Wasilewski. Warszawa: Instytut Studiów Politycznych PANGoogle Scholar
  4. Swiat elity politycznej; 1995, (The World of the Political Elite), ed. by Wlodzimierz Wesolowski and Irena Panków. Warszawa: Wydawnictwo IFiS PANGoogle Scholar
  5. Elity w Polsce, w Rosji i na Wggrzech. Wymiana cry reprodukcja?; 1995, (Elites in Poland, Russia, and Hungary. Circulation or Reproduction?), ed. by Ivan Szelenyi, Don Treiman, Edmund Wnuk-Lipinski. Warszawa: Instytut Studiów Politycznych PAN. (Revised version forthcoming in English as a special issue of „Theory and Society“)Google Scholar

The remaining publications on elites and works referred to in the text

  1. Balcerowicz, Leszek; 1992, 800 dni. Szok kontrolowany (Eight Hundred Days. Shock Under Control). Warszawa: Polska Oficyna Wydawnicza BGWGoogle Scholar
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  4. Biernat, Tadeusz; 1992, „Miedzy aktywem a elit4. Struktura wladzy w okresie tranzycji - uwarunkowania kulturowe“ (Between Activists and Elite. Power Structure in the Period of Transition: Cultural Determinants), in: Elity polityczne w Polsce,pp. 286–292Google Scholar
  5. Bitwa o Belweder,1991, (Battle of Belweder), ed. by Miroslawa Grabowska and Ireneusz Krzeminski. Krakow: Wydawnictwo LiterackieGoogle Scholar
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