Embeddedness of Social and Economic Relations in Systemic Transformation. Long-Term Evidence From the Post-Communist Transition in Poland, 1988–2003
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Yale University
Publication date: 2020-08-27
Polish Sociological Review 2009;165(1):81–106
This paper intervenes in the Granovetter-Polanyi debate by reassessing the level of embeddedness of social and economic relations under conditions of systemic transition. Using panel data collected in Poland, this analysis examines this relationship for three distinct periods of transition: initial (1988–1993), advanced (1993–1998), and post-transitional (1998–2003). This paper shows that during transition from communism to capitalism economic relations tended to disembed from social relations, but this relationship remained significant; friendship ties were conductive to an individual upward mobility, economic well-being and entrepreneurial activity. In contrast to Polanyi’s argument, however, entrepreneurship—the most marketable area of individual advancement—is found to exhibit the highest degree of social–economic embeddedness. These results do not directly support either Polanyi’s or Granovetter’s arguments, however they do accord with a neo-Polanyian argument, as advanced in this paper.
This paper’s manuscript was finalized when the author was affiliated with the Sociology Department at Yale University. Currently, KatarzynaWilk is a political adviser in the Bureau of European Policy Advisers (BEPA) at the European Commission. I am indebted to Ivan Szelenyi and Kazimierz M. Słomczyński for their advice and guidance. I also would like to thank the participants of the Comparative Research Workshop at Yale University, and the 2003 RC28/ICA meeting in Tokyo, for their helpful comments.