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Even after the conversation could have ended, after I brought pani Genowefa back to her room and was sitting quietly in the hallway, pani Joanna was the one who kept the story going for so long that her meal became cold. Moreover, I was struck by the many connections across time and space that pani Joanna was making: During this conversation, these faraway places and times were all made as present as the garden outside the window.

I also found it remarkable that pani Joanna framed herself as someone who remembers these times and places. When we met inshe was 62 years old; she was born inmeaning that she had not lived through World War II itself. She was, in fact, one of the younger people at the rehab center, and younger than I would expect for someone who framed herself as remembering the old days, as a keeper of memory. In fact, I was struck by the similarity of her story to those of women in their late nineties with whom I had spoken.

In these stories about the past, 30 years difference in age seemed almost irrelevant. The final, and seemingly most transparent, aspect of pani Joanna s story was the degree to which it recapitulated the romantic, messianic national myth of Poland as the Christ of nations.

This story, in simplified form, is that Poland has suffered oppression by foreign powers for centuries and has valiantly resisted this oppression. For centuries Poles have fought for their own and for others freedom. These struggles would be in vain, since Poland has often lost such struggles, except that to be Polish is to be Catholic, such that Poles have been defending Catholicism as well as Poland in these fights.

Poland is a nation chosen by God to suffer, and in that suffering finds redemption: Poland, the Christ of nations. This messianic myth can take gendered dimensions in the figure of Matka-Polka, or Mother-Pole, who both protects the nation 5 30 through nurturing its members, and also bears its suffering. The Matka-Polka s suffering is the suffering of the Polish nation. Like many national myths, this story contains elements of truth.

The territory of contemporary Poland has indeed been ruled by many powers over the centuries; most importantly for this mythic formulation, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was partitioned into three by the Russian, Prussian, and Austro-Hungarian empires in the late 18th century. The last partition was in ; an independent Polish state did not exist until after World War I in Poles did indeed fight foreign rule.

During the partition period, there were many uprisings powstania against the foreign rulers, and some Polish insurrectionists did indeed fight in revolutionary movements abroad. Revolutionary movements also characterized Polish political life in the first half of the 20th century, in both World Wars I and II. The control of post-war Poland by the Soviet Union marked another loss of Polish independence, but in labor strikes, most notably in the s and s, Poles fought against Soviet control.

Poland s link with Catholicism dates to the acceptance of Latin Christianity by Mieszko I inand Poland and Catholicism have been closely linked by political connections for centuries.

This understanding of Polish nationalism is a historical construct that draws primarily on 19th century Polish Romantic nationalist ideals, and its creation has more to do with lateth and earlyth century Polish politics than with how people actually understood themselves during the 19th century Porter Erased from this history are centuries of linguistically, ethnically, and religiously diverse populations living in the territory of contemporary Poland.

Moreover, in contemporary Polish politics, this narrative is 11 This is a drastically shortened description of centuries of history. For an overview of Polish history, see Lukowski and Zawadzki For a history of partitioned Poland, see Wandycz []. Crucially, this messianic narrative is also tied to the history of the Polish nobility. In other words, this version of Polish history is an elite history of Poland, made possible by the interwar Polish state s need for a national myth.

Since the gentry s version of history was the only available version after partitions that is, since elites were the ones who could write history the interwar state, against popular leftist and democratic movements, adopted this narrative as its own Jakubowska Polish messianic mythology is thus coterminously national-political and socioeconomic Jakubowska It is possible, then, that contemporary manifestations of this messianic narrative still bear traces of this noble history.

I found it remarkable to hear pani Joanna recite this story, relatively unprompted, and in a way that was deeply connected to her life at the rehab center. Why did she begin telling this story when I mentioned age and memory? Why did pani Genowefa join the conversation at the mention of remembering, and not at a different moment? Why did pani Joanna wheel her chair towards me to keep talking?

An easy answer to these questions would be to say that pani Joanna and pani Genowefa are lonely old women who like to complain, whether about themselves or about Poland, or that they are followers of political and religious groups that repeat this narrative ad infinitum. And perhaps both these explanations are true. But these answers also feel partial, as neither explains the particularity of this story in this moment between this set of individuals.

I seek to articulate an answer to these questions that does not immediately construct these women as stereotypical old voices or as passive receptacles for nationalist messages. Rather, in this dissertation, I aim to answer these questions more ethnographically by more fully taking into 7 32 account the experiences, structures, histories, and social relations within which these women and other older Poles live. For indeed, I felt that pani Joanna was telling a story about life, and how to live it.

Bound up in pani Joanna s narrative connections between different times and places are concerns for the relationship between persons and places, and the kinds of lives that have been, are, and might be possible in each place.

Pani Joanna was both proud that her son had the opportunity to live and work in Ireland, but also worried that he was living so far away from her and their other kin. For pani Joanna and others in her generation who came of age during socialism or before, the chance to travel and work in western Europe is a sign that Poland is free and no longer under Soviet rule. However, the prospect of her son building a life in Ireland is also deeply fraught for pani Joanna, for she feels that living abroad threatens his ability to maintain kin relations in Poland, and weakens his ties to Poland itself.

The narrative juxtaposition of her son s life abroad with the past suffering of Poles in Siberia and the destruction of Polish cities during World War II suggests that for pani Joanna, these moments in time are linked. Her lament that her grandchildren do not understand the times in which she lived echoes her lament over younger people leaving Poland for work abroad.

The places that have significance for pani Joanna do not carry equal weight for her children and grandchildren, who live with physical distance from Poland and emotional distance from stories about Poland s history. Pani Joanna understands her own life and that of her children as following a path that is tied to the life of the nation. The possibility that her children and grandchildren could live their lives without such a close connection disrupts the very core of pani Joanna s understanding of how life should proceed.

The potential severing of the bond between the life course of her children and grandchildren and that of Poland is a potential severing of the bonds between 8 33 persons, places, and temporalities. Pani Joanna s affirmation of the importance of having Polish history written down correctly, in books, can be read as an attempt to pass on knowledge to me, certainly, but perhaps also to her children and grandchildren, should they want to listen.

For pani Joanna, this rupture between life courses, places, and times threatens the very meaning of what it is to be a person and a Pole. This type of narrative practice occurred again and again throughout my fieldwork in a range of contexts.

People ranging in age from 60 to over 90 would describe their lives as inextricable from the history and geography of Poland, and lament their children s lack of interest in such knowledge.

Entreaties for me to learn this history were common. These stories were complex, filled with concerns for how one becomes a good person, what kinds of social relations one should have, who has access to the possibilities of creating a good life, and in which places one should live at which stage in life in order to be the proper sort of person. Common tropes reappeared throughout my fieldwork, but there were also moments of disagreement and varied opinions on the matters at hand.

Older people s complex life histories, social relations, health status, and class positions and aspirations played a role in these debates, which could grow contentious in both private and public spheres. Generational differences were key to interpreting these stories; younger staff at institutions and personal friends often dismissed such stories about Polish history as legacies of the socialist past that were irrelevant to contemporary life, but sometimes valorized the stories of certain individuals they saw as particularly sympathetic or endearing.

At risk, then, in such conversations about growing old about remembering the past, evaluating the present, and hoping for the future is the dehumanization of older Poles themselves.

Whether one could be recognized as a sympathetic, endearing, and lovable elder with wisdom to pass on, or instead is seen as belonging to times that 9 34 are long-gone and places that no longer exist, is shaped by a complex intertwining of sociocultural, bodily, political-economic, and historical factors. It is to the elucidation of these factors as a way to understand the connection between the value of persons, times, and places that this dissertation is devoted. Yet in the midst of such risky situations, some older Poles showed, through stories and other practices, that they could adapt to imperfect bodies, social relations, and places.

In other words, some people transformed difficult and potentially dehumanizing circumstances into situations in which they could become more fully human. It is to this set of persons and practices that I pay special attention to in this dissertation, for I contend that attention to such small moments of achievement can lend insight into ameliorating larger structural inequalities that devalue many older Poles in sociocultural, political-economic, and bodily ways.

Throughout my fieldwork, place of residence emerged as a crucial factor that was linked to the thriving or devaluation of older Poles. Many people I met in institutional care were not glad to be there; they would have preferred to be taken care of at home, by kin. Beyond the physical problems that required the care of others, older Poles were dissatisfied with the facts of the places themselves.

However, there are key exceptions related to class; for people who had been caregivers their whole lives, being taken care of by others could be a privilege. Still, it is fair to say that institutional care is not where older Poles imagine growing old. Older Poles in institutions are not 12 Indeed, a recent poll shows that, in old age, 64 percent of Poles would like to live in their own home with shortterm care from kin, while 15 percent would like to live with children or other relatives.

Only five percent preferred living in an institution, and only three percent reported never having considered it. In seemingly stark opposition to medical institutions are educational institutions Universities of the Third Age Uniwersytety Trzeciego Wieku where relatively healthy and mobile older Poles attend lectures, classes, and workshops.

In comparing the groups of people I knew who attend these institutions and those who live in institutional care, there are likely to be more people of higher socioeconomic status at the Universities of the Third Age than in institutional care.

There are exceptions, of course, and I did meet former bureaucrats and engineers in institutional care, and former manual laborers at educational institutions. Still, it is fair to say that there are differences in class between these institutions, and that these class differences roughly correspond to differences in health. Through recognizing the wisdom they have accumulated throughout their lives and acquiring new skills that align with contemporary ideas of a globalized, capitalist, and democratic Poland, older people in these institutions can improve their standing in Polish society by becoming both a wise, sympathetic elder and a modern, relevant senior.

Older Poles who attend educational institutions, then, not only have opportunities to engage in meaningful experiences, but are also likely to have these experiences positively valued by others. Across this seeming gulf, however, are similarities in practices of storytelling, remembering, learning, and exchange. That is, despite the very real differences among the populations at medical and educational institutions in terms of health, class, and how people are 11 36 perceived, I found striking similarities in the ways that people narrate their lives, remember Polish history, learn new skills or cultivate old ones, and share in food and drink.

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In this dissertation, I will elucidate the similarities in these practices and the effects of these practices on the possible connections between the value of persons, places, and times. Before presenting an ethnographic case that illustrates this seeming divide between medical and educational institutions, I will pause to give a sketch of the places where I conducted fieldwork. This overview will be more fully elaborated later in this chapter, but I aim to provide here the ranges of places for which these cases are exemplars.

Because the kinds of institutions they are tended to matter more than in which city they were located, I list them by type here. Besides the rehab center run by the sisters of St. In each city, the educational institutions were the Universities of the Third Age Uniwersytety Trzeciego Wiekucontinuing-education institutions specifically for retirees. It is to these institutions that I now turn.

I was going to attend the weekly lecture of the University 12 37 of the Third Age to introduce myself in the hope of finding people to interview. This was a part of the city that I did not know well, so I was unsure which stop was mine. As we went over the Saint Roch bridge, I prepared to exit the tram. As I moved towards the door, I noticed many older people do the same I was then sure I was in the right place.

I followed the group of mostly older women across the street and up the stairs of a large building, outside of which a group of young students were smoking and chatting. The people from the tram joined a large group of older people filling the hallway outside a ground-floor classroom, which was still full of young students. As the lecture ended, the younger students began leaving the classroom and the older people began to enter, everyone jostling to move forward in the direction they wanted.

The hectic movement settled down as people took their seats in the lecture hall, but the noise remained as people chatted with the people around them. The room felt smaller than it was, as almost all seats were full; there were perhaps people.

After a staff member from the University of the Third Age asked the crowd to quiet down, she described my project and invited people to talk with me after the lecture to sign up for interview times. I then took my seat in the audience and prepared to listen to the day s lecture, entitled The rebuilding of the Bishop Jordan bridge Odbudowa mostu biskupa Jordanagiven by an emeritus professor of engineering at the politechnika. The cathedral is one of the oldest churches in Poland, dating to the time of Mieszko I in the 10th century.

Some sort of bridge had been in this 13 38 location since the middle ages; since the 19th century, the bridge has been built, destroyed, and rebuilt several times, in conjunction with the wars that occurred during these years.

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As the professor described these successive destructions and reconstructions of these bridges, showing pictures of old maps, design plans, and more recent construction images, people in the audience listened attentively, if not quietly. The topics could be relatively academic, with seemingly little connection to issues of aging per se, or they could be explicitly about aging, such as one lecture on adaptive strategies for problems in late life from a psychological perspective.

Regardless of the topic of these lectures, they were always wellattended, always full of older people engaging with people around them, clamoring to be heard. No one was in a 14 39 wheelchair, although some did use canes. Other activities at the University of the Third Age, such as English or computer classes, were similarly busy and social.

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Women in particular told me they enjoyed time to do something for themselves dla siebie after lifetimes of working and caring for others. In many ways, these University of the Third Age gatherings were a stark contrast to the intense quiet of some moments at the rehab center or social welfare home, the seeming opposite of pani Joanna and pani Genowefa, in wheelchairs, sitting quietly by the window overlooking the garden. Yet in all these cases, I see older people connecting with others through the telling of stories, be they stories about past and present suffering, that day s tour of the local brewery, or future travel plans; the learning of skills, be they skills to operate a wheelchair, walk, learn English or use a computer; and the sharing of food and drink, be they Styrofoam cups of coffee in a university cafeteria or afternoon snacks carried in by nurses aides.

Through remembering, imagining, learning, and commensality, older people across these sites were forming new social relations of friendship and care. These meaningful social relations with non-kin have the power to shape the ways in which older people understand themselves and are understood by others through refashioning the connections between persons, places, and times.

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Throughout my fieldwork, the most important place to which older people connected their own lives and to which their worth as persons was connected by others was the Polish 15 40 nation itself. In order to give a sense of the public and national stakes of such connections between older people and the Polish nation, in the next section I will describe recent moments of tension in which the value of older Poles as persons is linked to the construction of the Polish nation.

Vote, or else they ll do it for you! Two moments during the last decade demonstrate particularly well this connection between older people and the nation in Poland. In contemporary Poland, talk about older people in both the media and daily life can become evaluative conversations about the state of the Polish nation. These are often deeply gendered discourses Graff ; McClintock ; Mosse In other words, older women become figures of the nation see Cohen for related connections between old women and the nation in India.

These two historical moments demonstrate the degree to which the figure of the old woman is associated with a nationalist Catholic understanding of the Polish nation. The first example discusses Polish national elections, which in recent years have shown the extent to which age and generation can index political worldviews. As has been welldocumented across eastern Europe e. In postsocialist Poland, denouncing the socialist past is still a common move among far-right politicians, who draw on the historical legacy of partitioned Poland and Soviet rule to champion an independent Polish nation that is ethnically Polish, Catholic, and ardently anti-communist.

PiS came to power on an anticorruption, anti-communist, and ardently Catholic platform. For PiS, to be a proper Polish citizen is to uphold traditional family values, epitomized in the performance of clearly demarcated patriarchal gender roles Graff Because PiS did not win a large enough percentage on their own, they had to form a governing coalition; their coalition partners were the League of Polish Families Liga Polskich Rodzin, or LPR party, an extremist nationalist religious party, and Self-Defense Samoobrona, or SOthe so-called peasants party.

Support for these parties among older people was extremely high, especially among older women from more rural, eastern regions of Poland. This coalition government ultimately proved unstable, and PiS lost parliamentary elections in to the more center-right pro-business Civic Platform Platforma Obywatelska, or PO party.

This political instability manifested in generational terms in the months leading up to the parliamentary elections. The link between older women and the conservative nationalism of PiS took the figure of the moherowe berety mohair berets.

This term refers to the wool caps that many older Polish women wear, and has come to stand for groups of older rural women who support PiS and listen to the conservative nationalist Catholic radio station Radio Maryja, the flagship member of a media conglomerate run by the controversial, conservative priest Father Tadeusz Rydzyk.

Another ad urged, take your grandmother s identity card! One is the feminine third-person plural form, indicating that this is specifically directed towards women. In other words, in the popular imagination in Poland it is particularly older women who are associated with the conservative nationalist views of PiS and Radio Maryja.

Significantly, it is when these older women come together as part of a voting bloc that they become dangerous; one individual older woman who listens to Radio Maryja is harmless, but hundreds of such women are dangerous. It soon became clear that the party of the late president and his supporters understood this as the latest event in Polish national martyrdom.

After the crash, public spaces throughout the country were filled with memorials of flowers, candles, pictures, and messages. Outside the presidential palace in Warsaw, girl and boy scouts erected a large wooden cross as a memorial.

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The rock band Big Cyc also had a song entitled Moherowe berety ; at the time of writing, there is no working link to the song. These protests sparked a counter-protest by people who wanted the cross moved. In August, after a failed attempt at moving the cross to the church, explicit conflict broke out between the two protest groups. Leszek Koczanowicz describes these in generational terms: One crowd consisted of young people who organized a kind of carnival playing popular songs and performing short scenes that in eyes of the second crowd were on the verge of blasphemy, for instance, making a cross out of beer cans.

The second crowd consisted largely of older people praying, listening to priests and speakers, and singing religious songs. Certainly not all who wanted the cross to stay were old, or all who wanted to remove it were young, but given the broader political context of Poland, it seems clear that important national ideological differences have generational fault lines.

In both events, older Poles, and especially older women, are central figures in public discourse about the future of the country. This popular dismissal of older Poles as out-of-touch was echoed in conversations I had with Poles of roughly my own age in their late twenties or early thirtieswho would explain anti-semitic, racist, or conservative religious comments made by an older person by saying things like, these older people just need to die off.

Our society won t move forward until the older generations are gone. See the 16 December edition of This American Life accessed 25 August for an English-language popular media description of the controversies after the plane crash in April See Zubrzycki for an analysis of a past controversy at Auschwitz about the placement of crosses 19 44 grandparents.

That is, the animosity towards the anonymous or unknown older person, or the elderly en masse, contrasts with the warmth that people feel for specific older people that they know. In these conversations with Poles of my own age, exactly which part of the past made older people problematic for the national future was not always clear.

Regardless, it was always their association with the past that made their future inclusion suspect. This link between older people and the socialist past, and younger people and the capitalist, democratic, and globalized present and future, is one that will recur throughout this dissertation.

That age should be so caught up with politics in Poland is perhaps not surprising, given the large-scale political-economic and sociocultural transformations that have occurred during the lifetimes of the oldest generations. Indeed, two of my research participants were born before World War I; one of these women was married to a man 25 years her senior, meaning that he was born in the late 19th century. This is a vast span of history to experience oneself or through one s spouse.

But even my research participants in their sixties had lived through the post-war years, all of state socialism, the postsocialist transformation, and more recent EU membership see Caldwell for a related discussion of age in Russia.

These are all transformations that have had profound effect on people s daily lives and ways of imagining themselves Berdahl et al. Given that age often becomes an important concern to society during periods of social change Cole and Durham ; Edmunds and Turnerit makes sense that these generational differences are particularly prominent in contemporary Poland and eastern Europe. But what exactly is at stake in discussing aging and 20 45 generational transformation in Poland? In a place where collective memory is constantly debated, and where the keepers of that memory the oldest generations are increasing in number but decreasing in social importance, how do people actually experience and imagine old age?

How do experiences of aging intersect with personal and national memories of the past and visions for the future? As demographic and state fiscal concerns grow, and political life becomes increasingly stratified by age, how do older Poles imagine their place in society? What constitutes or threatens a good old age, and where does responsibility for care lie?

Defining moral personhood Thus far in the dissertation I have largely resisted common anthropological analytic categories, instead trying to describe the phenomena with which this project is concerned in terms that feel closer to the experiences and interactions that I witnessed during fieldwork.

However, in order to attempt to answer the above questions, throughout the dissertation I will draw on comparative literature, thus making the use of analytic categories essential.

Here I introduce two key terms that I will use throughout the dissertation to refer to the complexity of the phenomena I have just presented. To analyze the variations in how older people understand themselves and can be understood by others, I will use the term personhood.

I intend for the category of personhood to encompass fundamental anthropological ideas about the person namely, that personhood is not given but is always created through social relations that occur within meaningful cultural frameworks see Mauss [] for a classic exposition of this concept; see Kaufman and Morgan The preceding discussions have shown how personhood in old age in Poland encompasses people s understandings of how to live a good life at all stages, how this ideal matches up with their own experiences and that of their kin, and how such ideals and experiences are inextricable from the sociocultural and political-economic contexts in which they live.

In using the term moral, then, I am trying to emphasize the ways that personhood is bound up with social relations, political economies, and cosmologies. In this use of moral, I am influenced by key strands of anthropological writing that view morality as something that, like personhood, is not given but rather created according to indigenous concepts and practices, and encompasses worlds both lived and imagined.

Like authors in the edited volume The Anthropology of Moralities Heintzwho follow the work of T. Beidelman []I understand morality to emerge through a complex and fraught set of social relations. Beidelman characterizes the relationship between sociality and morality thus: Social life is both rewarding and constricting, our benefits secured at the price of accepting, even embracing limitations and some pain and frustration.

These rewards and punishments are epitomized by choices, and in our concomitant expectations that others will make similar choices. These choices of action, in turn, derive from others, from judgments about what the world is and should be.

Our morality, then, is embedded in a cosmology as well as in our emotions, and both inform and impel our judgments. This is also true of our awareness and expectations of both ourselves and others. To interact with others we must imagine what their own needs and views may be, often working through a process combining projection and introspection. The obligations, duties, rewards, and pleasures of social relations are not neatly isolated, but rather inhere in the relations themselves.

By framing morality as within cosmologies and as related to emotions, Beidelman s concept spans scales both broad and intimate. I aim to combine this concern for the complexity of social interactions with the perspectives of authors in the edited volume The Ethnography of Moralities Howell 22 47who view moralities as inextricable from categories and hierarchies of personhood, and therefore as related to the production of inequality and difference.

The study of moralities thus emerges as a way to integrate people s sense of themselves, others evaluations of them, and historical political-economic structures that make kinds of personhood available to some and not others.

I intend for the use of moral personhood, then, to allow for an investigation of exactly the sorts of imaginative, political-economic, and historical questions that ethnographic investigations of old age in contemporary Poland raise. Studying older Poles moral personhood thus has ramifications for understanding how the wars and dramatic sociocultural and politicaleconomic transformations of the last centuries have shaped both individual lives and generational expectations of the life course.

This dissertation aims to investigate these issues through ethnographic study of the social interactions through which older Poles link themselves to particular times and places, and were linked by others to these times and places. I see these connections of persons to times and places as moral acts that shape the personhood of older Poles.

Such relations between age, temporality, and evaluations of past and future can also be seen as moral discourses that are tied to the contemporary political-economic transformations in Poland.

In this dissertation, I aim to integrate literature from kinship studies, medical anthropology, and postsocialist studies to inform my analysis of the range of possibilities for moral personhood for older Poles.

I aim for this focus on social relations in place and time to mediate tension between structural and phenomenological perspectives, incorporate central perspectives from both, while also working to maintain a historical perspective.

Ultimately, I aim for this research to provide a perspective on aging in Poland that is theoretically capacious 23 Wydawnictwo DG,pp 16 Staff from to Pilsudski was integral to the definition of Polish nationalism in the Second Republic; he was Poland's greatest romantic hero, Poland's white lmight and saviour.

Waclaw Sicroszewsla, et al. Bibliotcka Dzial Naukowyc h,p On the p d clections of the electioris w m heid only in those arcas b t were controlled by the Poiish armyset: The Assaciation was also hown as "Number 8" "OKmka" becsure it happened to occupy the eighth place on the ballot The Christian National Unity Association took out of the avaiiable seats m the Sejm For details on the rcsults of the elections, sec: PoIonsky, Politics in Independent Puland, pp. Iwona Malinowska, "Polskie centmm pariamentame ".

For a brief English-language introduction to the political divisions in the k t decadc of the Republic, see: On the prcsideniiai elections, sec: Hoha, Mozaikri poliryczna, pp 17 Narutowicz's victory sparked violent Street demonstrations and riots by the nationalist right.

Just one week after his election, white he was attending an art opening in Warsaw, President Narutowicz was assasstnattd by Eligiusz Niewiadornskia supporter of National Democracy and a passionate opponent of ils sud ski.

Pohd signecl a Minoritics Treaty on 28 June Set: Groth, 'The Legacy of k e Crises", pp On minonties, set: The President had no powm of veto, and codd not dissolve the Sejm unless he had the consent of thrre-fifths of the Senate. For a rcview of the process for electing the Pmident of the Republic, sec: The Polish Poets Rcss,p.

Biografia polityuna do roh Szatcia. For contcmporary analyses of Stmnbki sec: Majan Porczak, Rewolucja majowa i jejshtki Krakow: Od Witosa do Sfowka Paris: Instytut Literacki,pp For the Polisb Socialist Party's views of the assassination, sec the articles rrprinted hm The Worker Robotnik in Nala Nie szabla lea pio- pp For an eyewitaess account of the assassination, see: Jacek Biesiada and Aleksandra Woszqiska Warsaw: The whole of Poland condemns this act [the assassination].

We must cleanse this atmosphere if we wish to maintain unity and the independence of the country. The assassination in of the first President of the newly independent nation marked a turning point in the Republic's short history, and further poisoned an already tense political and social environment.

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Independence was fast becoming, as Gombrowicz had suggested, "more humiliating than bondage". Though some measure of calm was achieved by January ofnew tensions soon cmerged.

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On 17 Maythe right-nationalist People's National Union, Christian Democracy, and the right-wing branch of the Polish peasant movement, the Piasts, signed the Lanckorona Pact Pakt Lanckmuriski for the purpose of establishing a government.

Maciej Rataj,cd. The rtferencc to "enernics" cornes hm Wieshw Wbdyka, "smied prezydenta - grudzicxi ", in ibid 19the Christian National Unity Association or pejoratively, "Chjeno-Piast" ; it served under the Remiership of the Piast leader, Wincenty Witos " from May to December The coalition was marked by a desire to create a "Polish national character" in the state and in educational institutions, by deep chauvinisrn, anti- Semitism and virulent anti-communism.

The new government also outlined plans to introduce basic changes to the structure of military command. In general, the Lanckorona government raised the ire of the political left, of the national minorities, and especially of Pibudski and his supporters.

He stated ptainiy that he could not and would not participate in a political system which was burdened with what he referred to as "the moral responsibility" for the assassination of President Narutowicz; he resigned from his post as Chief of the General Staff, left active political life, and began a period of On Witos, sec: A part of the mernoir pertaining to the coup has bctn reprintcd in: Jan Borkowski, d, Jozef Pilsudski o pruisnuie 1 imii w Swietle wspomnieri i innych dokwnenth Warsaw Plilistwowy Instynit Wydawniczy,m xz The peasam entd into this coalition with the nationalist right on the promise that the ncw govenunent would move swiffly to impiement the land rcform bill that had ken passtd by the Sejrn in Set: Wicslaw Bcmbenek, "Ludowcy w dyslnisji nad rcforuq rohq w Scjmie f kadcncji ", in Chlopi.

For the tact of the agreement, sec: WyMr tekrrow Mdtowych, cds. Gmtb, The ttgacy of Thrte Crises: Wydawnictwo Wwej Szkoty Pedagogiczuej,p. With these actions and these words, Pilsudski cemented his position as the leader of the opposition to the nationalist camp, whom he blamed for the unqualified mess in which the Republic found itself?

The sense of desperation and fear amoag a populace already dealing with serious economic crisis was raised to dramatic heights. The new Witos government would last only five days. When Pilsudski was stopped by a reporter in Warsaw on 10 Mayjust as the ncw government was forming, he offered a categorical condemnation of the Witos coalition, the right-nationalists generally, and of "politics", corruption in the public service, and political game-p1aying. Wojciech Morawski, uaieksaadcr SknySiski, premier Rzeczpospolittj Polonsky, Politics in Independent Poland, ch.

Alicja Belcikowska, Waiki majowe w W m e: II maj - 16 maj Warsaw 21 t;me the view that the new coaiition would attempt a coup against the existing political system and would change the Constitution to assure long-term political pre-eminency for itself. In a short political statement published earlier in and entitled The Times and the People Czasy i ludzieWitos had in fact advocated radical changes to Poland's parliamcntary democracy and had warned ominousiy that the already "catastrophic" situation could deteriorate even further.

As journalist Konrad Olchowicz stated in his memoirs, no one could have predicted what exactly would happen, but many were able to sense change in the air: Jabcqdski,pp. Czytelnik,pp On Pilsudski specificaiiy during this period, sec: Andnrcj Gariicki, JozgfPihdski Warsaw: A fh-t of this brochure is ccprinted ia: Ruchiclci and Wr6bel, pp The Worker Robotnikthe mouthpiccc of the PPS, was extrcrnely critical of Witos' text, rcfming to it as prctcntious and rcactionary and as the rcsuit of shallow and unoriginal thinking.

For Witos' account of this period, sec: Winccnty Witos, Moje wspomnienia. The tension was further heightened whcn runiours spread that gunshots had been fired on Pilsudski's home in Sulejowek. By the end of the three-day-long "civil war", as many referrcd to the events, close to four hundred people would be dead, and about one thousand would be injured. W ydawnictwo Litcrackit, Pilsudski is alleged to have told his wife on the morning of the 12' tbat he would be home m time for lunch.

Garlicki, h d t majowy, pp and ch. For a selection of pcrspectivcs on the May events, drawn hm the period itselfl sec: Garlicki, R d r majowy, p The official tahy of the dead has been reprintcd as, " 1 acrwca Warszawa, Zestawicnie Komisji Llkwidacyjnej Gtncrata Lecjana hligowskiego O zabitych i rannych podczas zamachu stanu - w Mach maja r. For an intercsting visual depiction of the dead, sec: Kosmowski, "U mogily ofiar wak bratobojczych: Wydawnictwo bqrcss, lp.

A short while later, the Sejm and the Senate elected Pilsudski President of the Republic, but Pilsudski refused this position. On Pilsudski's recommcndation, an outstanding scholar, administrator and former socialist, Ignacy Moscickiwas elected President in June ofand Moscicki held the post until The coup of 12 to 15 May constituted a spectacular expression of hstration with the profound failures of each successive govemment of newly independent Poland, with the deeply polarized state of political life, and with the quality of independence generally.

The young Rcpublic had been experiencing what the Pilsudski faction called a profound "moral breakdom" of its public life. The Polish Socialist Party, Piisudsiu's own former Party, hailed PiIsudski's actions as a revolution against the Chjeno-Piast coalition that threatened ta niin the nation "paliticauy and moraliy", and For a dcxnption of the situation m the rut of Poland, sec: For interestmg perspectives on the army and the May coup, set: Thcre wert 56 intligi'blc or spoired vom.

Titi- of thc RcpubIic", 16 May This poster was signed by, arnong othas. The nation has been reborn in only one area, that is, in tems of individual boldness and service to the state in times of battle. Thanks to this 1 was able to take the war to its successful end.

In al1 other areas 1 have found no rebirth? It was Piisudski, moreover, who had issued a nation-wide cal1 on the night of 12 May, just as the events werc getting under way, to focus on what he called "imponderabi1iaw - "Iike honor, virtue, courage and generally, al1 the interna1 strengths of rc S4 a person It was this appeal to widen the scope of what was considered "political" and to embrace imponderabilia which resonated powcrfully and in a wide variety of unusual and unexpected ways with the populace of the Second Republic.

It is this focus on imponderabilia which forms the backbonc of the present exposition. To assist Pi4sucish the sociaiists, dong with the communists, had proclamicd a general strike in the wholc of Poland, to begin on 14 May.

The Rai1 Workm' Union had ahady started thcir strike action on 13 May, and had thertby prcventcd the passage of govcrnment mps to the capital. Thc political lefi would htcr caii this assistance it gave to Pilsudski "the May Mistakew.

On the socialists and the coup, sec: Anothcr similarly positive evaiuation of Pilsudski's actions was deiiwttd in: This latter piccc biames the pvmimenc and not Pilsudski, for the dcaths that fesulted hm the coup.

Pilsudski's stattment is cirawu hm a speech hc madc to the Sejm on 29 Mayand segments of it have been reproduced widely. A Life for Polmd New York: Rcddaway, Mmshl fihdski London: The Sanacja was an era dominated by appeals to a ncw, modern and more productive citizenship, to the pnmacy of collective over individual interests, to "ciean hands", "the state above al1 else" and "work as the highest calling". The Sanacja was surely about a11 of these things, and many good works have addressed these aspects of the question, as wiil be discussed below.

This dissertation, in contrast, studits the wider cultural significance of the Sanacja as an idea that was subject to ngorous dcbate and manipulation and as an idea which served as the catalyst for al1 kinds of creative thinking about the nation. My interest is in the way in which the Sanacja was imbued with a fantastically wide range of meaning in the post period and in the way in which it was used, misused and manipulated in the cultural and political discourses of the Second Republic.

This is a study of the Sanacja as a symbol and a potential which circulated widely in interwar Poland. It explores the oblique potential of the Sanacja, the powerful yet hitherto underexplored sub-text of the penod. As such, it understands Sanacja broadly, as a particularly 26 flexible and reverberant idea that could move between and speak simultaneously to the political and the cultural realms.

The Sanacja initiated a peculiar and fascinating national forum on what the new state had become and it provided a focus for the ideas about national and moral identity that had been circulating in Poiish society ever since the inception of the Second Republic. By popularizing a vocabulary of rebirth and change, of moral responsibility, civic duty and citizen accountability, work and collective action, the Sanacja sparked a widespread debate about the meaning of Poland in the modern era.

Copyright by Eva Plach 200 t

The idea of a Sanacja became so successful and powerful because it capitalized cleverly on and manipulated a general mood of disaffection and created convenient and attractive catch-phrases on which people could focus. It was the very malleability of the term Sanacja and its applicability to a varied range of contexts that made it so appealing. Maria Dqbrowskaone of the most successful and weil-respected writers associated with the progressive leftist interwar intelligentsia, and for some tirne a proponent of Pilsudski and the coup, expressed the uniqueness of and the hope contained in the May coup when she wrote in her diaq just days after the euents, on 17 May There happened in Warsaw a thing at once temfying and wondrous, Iike a chapter from Greek history.

A military revolution with a moral ideal Huntington, The Change to Change: Modcrnization, Dcvelopmtnt and Potitics", Compamtive Politics 3: Alexander and Stcvca Seidmaa Cambridge University Press,pp For a theoretical discussion, grounded in the Rornanian inttrwar contcxt, of the way m which culturc is inhcrtntly political, sec: Yale Centre for International and Am Studies,ppFor a discussion of how the Bolshcviks conctivd of culture during the early Soviet period, sec: Power and Culture in Revolutionmy Russia Ithaca: One nation of action and perfection, of getting to the heart of questions, and the second nation - a nation of lies and convention.

The values for new life have been formed. But what wiil we, society, do with thcm? Pilsudski cannot do everything for us. S6 Dqbrowska's words reveal the tremendous hope that she and many like her placed in the May coup; the coup would be the start of something momentous, of a revolution unlike any other.

This idea that Pilsudski had rescued the nation fiom a wretched future and had laid the bases for positive change was perpetuated in the press of the period as well as in personal attitudes and commentary; it was also reff ccted in the emergence of organizations devoted to specific aspects of the Sanacja potential. Those who supported Pilsudski and the coup - men and womcn drawn mainly, though not exclusively, from the left-iiberal intelligentsia - claimed a morally right and just position for themselves.

Theirs was the nation of "action and perfection", and their positions could not be reconciled with the nation of "lies and convention", associated so clearly in the minds of the Pilsudski-ites with the National Democrats.

The May coup reflected polarized political allegiances in the Republic, but it also exacerbated them by creating even more obviously divergent camps and transforming them into irreconcilable moral categones. This dissertation wili explore how Poland's moral nations took shape in the post-coup period; it will probe the political and cultural landscape that was formed in Poland after May of E with the proclamation of a very powerful - and very flexible - notion of moral reform.

Each chapter bcgins with the May coup itself, and studies a specific reading of the event and the ensuing Sanacja; each focuses, that is, on a different rendering of "imponderabilia". The first part of Chapter One constitutes an introduction to the discursive moral crises which appeared in the Warsawbased press during the period immediately preceding the May coup.

The intention is to establish that the themes which would reappear with a vengeance under the Sanacja era first made their appearance - in a milder and less focused form - before the coup. The second part of Chapter One explores the press-based debates about culture and morality which, 1 argue, escalated as a result of the proclamation of a Sanacja and generally, as a result of the political climate occasioned by the coup.

It studies specifically the ways in which nationalist-right opponents of Pilsudski used the Sanacja as a springboard fiom which to launch wholesale condemnations of the moral and cultural state of the newly independen t nation.

Chapter Two is based on a selection of Ietters written to Pilsudski fiom the general public during the Sanacja era. Thest letters have been ignored completely by historians because they are thought to yieid nothing relevant about the major political events and trends of the day. I argue that, on the contrary, they offer especialiy interesting insights into what ordinary men and women wcre thinking about in the Sanacja era, and that they encourage us to understand the Sanacja in its widest possible incarnation and in tems of its broadest potential.

These letters establish that the people of Poland understood the coup and the ensuing Sanacja as opcning up a nation-wide forum on Poland's moral, cultural and political health in the post-partition era.

While 29 people differed over what kind of a Sanacja was necessary, fcw would have denied that some sort of a serious reflection on the statc of Poland was necessary. Chapters Three and Four take as their subjects organizational responses to the Sanacja. The left-liberal intellectuals who formed this Society in the wake of the coup cmbraced the event as an important catalyst for moral and national rebirth.

While it is fair to say that the Society rcmained shockingly ineffective for the duration of its existence, it nevertheless saw a number of prominent Sanacja politicians - likc Walery Slawek and Janusz Jqdnejcwicz, for example - pass through its ranks. Though the group achieved little, its papers are rich, and its statements of intent and its analyses of the meaning of Sanacja and of the state of Polish independence reveal much about the mood, expectations and hopes of the period.

Chapter Four explores the women's activism inspired by the coup. The Sanacja, after all, had declared the importance of moral hcalth and of achieving a national cleansing; this, the women argucd, was precisely women's preserve, and therefore a Sanacja of the Polish nation was unthinkable without women's full and committed participation. With Zofia Moraczewska in the lead, this particular group of women organized themselves to support the Sanacja.

The chapter is broken down into three major sections. The first is a brief review of Moraczewska's own life and of the approaches evident within PoIish hstoriography to the writing of the history of women, and provides an important background to understanding the position which women occupied in the Second Republic. This Committee was established by Moraczewska and other women from the Pilsudski-ite intelligentsia to agitate for the Sanacja electoral ticket in the elections.

Pilsudski did not establish a full-fiedged dictatorship after assuming power inand instead he left in place the pre-existing parliament until Novemberwhen its term expired. The March elections were the first held after the coup, and Pilsudski was eager for the results to impart a degree of legitirnacy moral, if not strictly constitutionatto his actions. In preparing for these elections, the Sanacja camp created what political scientist Joseph Rothschild has described as a "phalanx" of al1 classes and parties, a supra-national organization united by the appeal of a strong executive Pilsudski and by a desire to build a strong state and achieve the goals of moral renovation, broadly conceived.