Survival or Self-Actualization? Meanings of Work in Contemporary Poland
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University of Warsaw
Submission date: 2020-09-14
Final revision date: 2021-03-02
Publication date: 2021-06-18
Polish Sociological Review 2021;214(2):199–220
This paper analyzes the meanings attributed to work in contemporary Polish society in the context of Inglehart and Welzel’s claim regarding the passage from survival to self-expression values. Research has documented a systematic decline in the position of work on the list of the most important values. However, work is also documented as being of fundamental importance for identity, self-esteem, and the delimitation of social categories. The authors offer a mixed-methods approach to the issue of work. Based on quantitative data gathered through the EVS, they place Poland in the context of European trends pertaining to the significance and centrality of work. Using qualitative evidence, the authors identify and reconstruct the key social representations employed to think about and discuss work-related issues. In conclusion, they point to structural elements of the social imaginary of work that result in the coexistence of different (often contradictory) perceptions of this sphere of social life.
The research for this text was supported by a grant from the National Science Centre, Poland, project no. 2016/21//B/HS6/03199.