EITHER RIGHTLY OR LIKE A CROOK: LEGAL CULTURE OF POLISH SOCIETY AFTER COMMUNISM
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The paper presents the results of research projects conducted by the Chair of Sociology of Custom and Law, of the Warsaw University Institute of Applied Social Sciences, on the chosen components of the Third Republic of Poland's legal culture. The popular legal culture is distinguished here from the professional one. The latter is not a subject of this paper, although its direct points of junction are indicated: lawmakers, social origin and environment of lawyers and the participation of nonlawyers in the administration of justice. All of them make treating the legal culture as an autonomous entity hardly possible. General legal attitudes are discussed with reference to the 1964 pioneer studies of Adam Podgórecki, and the patterns and practices of dispute resolution. The instrumental treatment of law by political elites is debated; those who use the law as an instrument of political struggle and the political advantage for those who pass the laws. Finally, five general conclusions are drawn. According to the most important one, in the Polish culture the most common is the interest in claiming 'one's own' right by using both legal and illegal means to obtain it, which is linked to the toleration of similar behavior of others. The latter occurs if such a behavior does not interfere with the fulfillment of one's own aims.
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