Homo Sovieticus Two Decades Later
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University of Warsaw
Publication date: 2010-01-05
Polish Sociological Review 2009;168(4):507–522
This article analyzes the concept of homo sovieticus. Its point of departure is Józef Tischner’s description of the syndrome know under this name. Many of Tischner’s general observations have been reflected in empirical research conducted by distinguished sociologists: Stefan Nowak, Mirosława Marody, Jan Lutyński or Edmund Wnuk-Lipiński. Two basic questions are formulated in this article: 1) Do the specific characteristics of Polish society which emerge from this research allow us to posit the existence of a specific type of human being with a distinct mentality, way of thinking and social functioning which Tischner portrayed? In other words, did communism really produce a “new man”? 2) Is the homo sovieticus attitude syndrome useful? Does it help to explain the various problems of systemic transformation?