PSR 2(190)2015

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Two Periods of the Peripheric Capitalist Development: Pre-Communist and Post-Communist Eastern Europe in Comparison

In the long term perspective two post-communist decades in the Eastern Europe weremost recent attempt to close the economic development gap with the West after the communist “detour from the periphery to the periphery” (Iván Berend). The 1989 revolutions involved the restoration of capitalism and new integration into the capitalist world system. The paper compares the performance of post-communist capitalism in the reduction of the economic disparity with that of the pre-communist capitalism in 1913–1938. For almost all countries covered by the long-time diachronic comparison, the periods of catching up alternated with those of falling behind. All Eastern European countries except Romania decreased during pre-communist period their GDP gap separating them from the capitalist world system hegemonic power (U.S.). The catching-up performance of post-communist countries widely varies: best performers during post-communist time performed better than the best performers in the 1913–1938 period, while the worst failures under post-communism performed worse than the weakest performers in 1913–1938.

Keywords: Eastern Europe, catching-up development, pre-communism, communism, post-communism.

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Media Effects on Support for European Integration in Old and New EU Member States

The study measures the strength of media effects on attitudes to EU integration.Media exposure is the independent variable; support for European integration is the dependent variable; socio-economic conditions and cognitive-cultural variables are contextual variables. The analysis covers 27 EU member states at the time of 2009 EP election. Both micro-level variables and country-level effects were taken into consideration in hierarchical linear models. Data from the PIREDEU study was used. Analyses document weak influence of media exposure on attitudes. The overall positive effect is mostly concentrated in stable democracies with well-developed media systems.

Keywords: international public opinion, attitude to European Union integration, media effects.

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Polish Graduates: Migration and Its Media Representations

The aim of the paper is to present the results of research into the dominant media discourses on post-accession migration within the context of the economic and socio-cultural situation of Polish University graduates. The first part of the article—based on an analysis of statistical data and recent studies—relates to the historical context of the educational boom in the late 1990s that led to the ‘devaluation of the degree diploma’, an increase in unemployment and increased numbers of tertiary-level educated Poles leaving Poland post 2004. The second part relates to the media debate on young migrants understood as a significant sphere (Jeffrey Alexander) in the construction of ‘common knowledge’ on migration and the ‘trigger’ transferring particular issues of migration into the ‘civic sphere’. This part is based on an extensive content analysis of migration representations as seen in four weekly magazines between 2004 and 2012 and a narrative analysis of two TV series: ‘Londyńczycy’ and ‘Wyjechani’. The media debate includes such issues as: young migrants’ careers abroad, cultural capital accumulation waste, family break-ups, and the effects of migration at a local and national level. The analysis reveals the interplay between media representations/narratives and popular academic conceptualizations of the effect of migration on young graduates: the ‘crowding out hypothesis’ (Okólski) and double-marginalization (Iglicka) which are a part of the ‘brain waste versus brain gain’ discourse. The analysis reveals the main mechanisms of media representations: idealization (American Dream pattern of migrants’ careers), dramatization leading to ‘moral panics’ (Euro-orphans, family break-ups) and negotiation with the dominant conceptualizations in the ‘civic sphere’ (‘U-shape’ migrants’ careers).

Keywords: post-accession migration, graduates, media, representation, narrative, crowding-out.

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Auschwitz in the Perception of Contemporary Poles

Based upon survey research and drawing upon literature by historians and social scientists, this article discusses what Auschwitz means to Poles and how perceptions of it have changed since the 1990s. The article shows that Auschwitz means to nearly all Poles genocide, the Polish martyrdom, and the Jewish Holocaust at the same time. It also identifies and analyzes the processes thereby the number of Poles perceiving Auschwitz as primarily Jewish has increased from minimal to a relative majority and the number of those perceiving Auschwitz as primarily Polish, once being a relative majority, has decreased, albeit still remains fairly high. The article argues that the perception of Auschwitz in Poland has considerably become “Judaized,” “de-Polonized,” “de-nationalized,” and “de-Catholized.” It also draws conclusions from the case study of the changing perceptions of Auschwitz for social memory studies.

Keywords: Auschwitz, Holocaust, Poland, memory, surveys.

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Have Only Jews Suffered? Holocaust Remembrance and Polish National Resentment

In this article the term ‘resentment’, as used by Friedrich Nietzsche and then redefined by Max Scheler, is employed to explain anti-Semitic attitudes in Poland. The resentful attitude is based on the emotion of jealousy, which leads to a desire to degrade anyone with whom comparisons are made, in order to increase feelings of self-worth. This characteristic of the term was used to description of the group’s attitudes. In this article, modern anti-Semitism is portrayed as an inseparable element of a wider Catholic nationalist ideology, which creates the image of (symbolic) Jews as morally inferior and unfairly competing with (symbolic) Poles. In research conducted between 1992 and 2012 the author finds correlations between strong nationalist feelings and attitudes of jealousy and a desire to degrade Jewish people. The image produced by the empirical data is one in which the Jews are the enemy, directed by their own national (sic!) interests, and desiring to take advantage of the Poles, who are honest and idealistic, driving by theirs declarations and values, even against their own, actual interests.The author hopes the article can be a starting point for discussing the idea of resentment as a theoretical tool in research devoted not only to anti-Semitism, but also to xenophobia and attitudes to other groups in the democracy.

Keywords: resentment, resentful attitude, anti-Semitic attitudes, anti-Semitic ideology, national-catholic ideology.

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Neighbourhood Council as a Path of Political Career Development in Poland

The article discusses the role of sub-municipal (neighbourhood, city district) councils as a path to a political career in Polish big cities. The reported research is based on data from six Polish cities. The analysis of social composition of the group of neighbourhood councillors refers to Putnam’s law of increasing disproportionality. Through reference to various theoretical concepts, the process of selection is divided into three stages: self-selection, pre-selection (top-down selection) and bottom-up selection. The role of neighbourhood councils is considered in the context of the concepts of the “incubator” and “respirator” of a political career.

Keywords: neighbourhood council, political career, local democracy, local election.

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Differences in Leisure Time Physical Activity Predictors in Europe

This paper contributes to the literature by showing that discrepancies in leisure time Physical activity between transition and non-transition countries are mainly due to lower activity by persons, who are in relationship, are older, reside in rural areas and/or have a lower income. Unlike existing studies our results of logit models show that, controlling for all other variables, females are equally likely (in transition economies) or more likely (in non-transition economies) to be regularly active in their leisure time than males. We believe that the reason for differences in results is omitted variable bias, since papers that find women to be less active do not control for person’s income.

Keywords: leisure time physical activity, transition, policy measures, quality of life, predictors.

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