Social and political divisions in Eastern Europe: the case of Poland
Social Sciences Department (Wydzial Nauk Spolecznych) Institute of Sociology (Instytut Socjologii) Poznan, Poland
Among many political and cultural cleavages between Eastern and Western Europe there are both differences in attitudes towards the protective role of the state (economic equality vs. economic freedom) and in attitudes towards some questions concerning morality and material vs. postmaterial values (cultural order vs. cultural freedom). My aim is to create a "map" of the main lines of social and political division in Poland which are based on divergent interests and values and to compare them with some similar maps of Western societies.
Eurequal - a study conducted by Oxford University in cooperation with several universities and research institutes countries in Eastern Europe in 2007 - gives an excellent opportunity to create such a map and to address the question which differences between Polish society and chosen Western societies are tenacious and stable and which have declined. Secondly, as the study was conducted as a replication of a survey from 1993, it gives a possibility to address the question of social change in Poland in the last two decades. Finally, it allows to test the degree of homogeneity of some Eastern European countries in regard to the two basic dimensions mentioned at the beginning.