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Urbanization: For and Against. Polish Discussions Between 1890 and 1947

Ewa Stawowy
Urban Anthropology
Vol. 12, No. 3/4, POLISH ETHNOGRAPHERS AND SOCIOLOGISTS (FALL-WINTER, 1983), pp. 319-336
Published by: The Institute, Inc.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40553014
Page Count: 18
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Urbanization: For and Against. Polish Discussions Between 1890 and 1947
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Abstract

At the end of the nineteenth century only 18 percent of Poles lived in towns and cities. The process of urbanization of traditionally agricultural Poland was vey slow. The reasons and consequences are described and evaluated. Until the second decade of the twentieth century urbanization in Poland was rarely studied by professional sociologists but rather by writers, journalists, and social philosophers. They were interested mainly in the negative aspects of the process. According to the positivistic social program, the negative phenomena were to disappear with economic growth. The existing social structure should have been retained, and the solidahstic social relationships strengthened. This program was contained in literary essays and novels. The radical working-class movement saw the sources of the negative aspects of urban life in capitalist, social and economic, relationships. The social revolution was considered the most effective solution. Another group of critics, the Bohemians, attacked middle-class morality. The process of urbanization had, however, its ideologists, too. Industrialization and urbanization were seen by them as the only way to avoid poor working and living conditions of the vast majority of Poles. The vision of Poland built of "glass houses" is an example of this attitude.

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