The Social Functions of “Solidarity”
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University of Warsaw
Publication date: 2006-03-30
Polish Sociological Review 2006;153(1):111–128
The paper from 1981 on the social functions of “Solidarity” is re-published and commented from the 2006 perspective. In the original paper five pairs of the opposed functions were discussed: 1) activation vs. totalisation; 2) unification vs. polarization; 3) civilization of the opponent vs. demystification of the opponent; 4) non-egalitarian egalitarianisation; and 5) institutionalization of the change. In 2006 the author observes the continuing social function of the “Solidarity,” again the conflicting way, as the positive myth that more and more serves as normative reference in current political debates, and as the real political actor that compromised itself through the active participation in politics. The significance of the old functions is discussed in reference to the complexity of non-egalitarian egalitarianism that seems to undermine the whole transformation since 1989 and went to the fore today. The value of the “dialectical functionalism” is thus reasserted.