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Politics of Time: Dynamics of Identity in Post-Communist Poland

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Politics of Time

Dynamics of Identity in Post-Communist Poland

Leszek Koczanowicz

196 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-84545-510-1 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (August 2008)

eISBN 978-0-85745-045-6 eBook

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What has really happened in Poland since the election of 2005? After such spectacular events as the practice of lustration and the questioning of solidarity with the European Union, one has to ask: what is the nature of this newly emerging society? As with many of the recent developments in former communist countries that seem to be mysterious and irrational, the situation and ensuing problems are complex and the answers neither trivial nor easy. This book, by the distinguished Polish philosopher, addresses these complexities through the role of the communist past in post-communist Poland. It describes the events that led to the collapse of the Solidarity program and the growing influence of the nationalistic and religious parties in the government. The author investigates the nature of social and political temporality and develops a theoretical framework that allows him to apply his conclusions not only to Poland but also to other formerly communist countries.

Leszek Koczanowicz is Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Cultural Studies Department at University of Lower Silesia (DSW) in Wroclaw. His previous affiliations include Wroclaw University (1977–1997), Opole University (1997–2002), SUNY/Buffalo (1998–1999 and 2000–2001), and Columbia University (2004–2005) where he was Distinguished Professor at the School of International and Public Affairs. He is an author and editor of six books and numerous articles in Polish and English.

Subject: Sociology
Area: Central/Eastern Europe



Chapter 1. Political Time or the Past as a Political Issue

  • Memory of Politics, Politics of Memory: The Politics of the Past in Post-totalitarian Poland
  • Mechanisms of Exclusion and Inclusion
  • Liberating the Future from the Past: Liberating the Past from the Future
  • The Politics of Political Biography: Self-realization, Loyalty, and Political Change
  • Civil Society as an Ethical Challenge
  • Life as Simulacrum: Stanislaw Lem’s Science Fiction

Chapter 2. Social Time or the Ontology of Expectations

  • Ontology of Expectations
  • Genealogy of Expectations
  • The Myth of the Unity of the Nation
  • Marxism as a Way of Life: The Failure of an Impossible Project
  • The Mythologies of Solidarity

Chapter 3. Perspectives on Time: From Philosophy to Anthropology

  • The Problem of Time in Pragmatism and Phenomenology
  • Time, Dialogue, and Society
  • Time and Social Practices
  • Politics of Memory, Politics of Time

Epilogue: What has Happened to Us? The Rise of Post-post-communism

  • The Emergence of Post-post-communism or Populist Post-communism
  • What is Post-post-communism?
  • Democracy against Democracy or Who has Hijacked the Common Background?
  • Possible Scenarios and Two Conservatisms
  • New Tribalism, Post-post-communism, and the Politics of Time
  • Epilogue – Supplement

Appendix: Post-communism and Pop Music: Annihilation or Restoration of Memory in Disco-polo

  • Two Views on Disco-polo: Intellectuals’ “Horror Vacui” and the Nation’s Hope “All Poles” or What is Disco-polo?
  • The Glorious Past and the Slavic Soul
  • In Opposition to the West
  • Disco-polo and the Dilemmas of Polish Past and Present


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