Changes in Class Structure in Poland, 1988–2003: Crystallization of the Winners—Losers’ Divide
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Ohio State University
Polish Academy of Sciences
Publication date: 2007-04-26
Polish Sociological Review 2007;157(1):45–64
This paper builds on the work of Słomczyn´ski and Janicka (2005) and examines changes in the social structure in Poland, and the role of social classes on public opinion formation. The main hypothesis is that the divide between winners and losers crystallizes over time, as the social distance that separates these categories solidifies, and their reaction to economic and political transformation becomes increasingly divergent. Using data from the Polish panel survey POLPAN, conducted in 1988, 1993, 1998 and 2003, we find that the main changes in the class structure in Poland occurred between 1988 and 1993. Following 1993, the patterns of the post-communist social structure start to settle, becoming, by 2003, typical of a capitalist society. Results further show substantial and significant differences between the privileged and the disadvantaged in evaluation of socialism, as well as in their subjective assessment of changes in life, and active and passive support for the institution of elections.
This paper is based on a study supported by grants from the (Polish)Committee on Scientific Research,the NorwegianResearch Council, and the (US)National Council for Eurasia and East EuropeanResearch. It includes materials from Słomczynski and Janicka (2005).Kazimierz M. Słomczynski is Professor of Sociology and Political Science at Ohio State University. He and and Krystyna Janicka (Professor of Sociology) lead the research team on comparative social inequality at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, the Polish Academy of Sciences. Goldie Shabad is Professor of Political Science at Ohio State University. Irina Tomescu-Dubrow is affiliated with the Mershon Center on International Security Studies, Ohio State University.