The topic of the intelligentsia in the works of Polish sociologists in the inter-war period
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The paper deals with the issue of Polish intelligentsia in the inter-war period (1918-1939). In the introduction, the author presents various approaches that can be adopted in investigating this problem, approaches that focus on the analysis of the social awareness of that social stratum and on its transformations form the perspective of social structure. Further on in the paper, the author points to the image of Polish intelligentsia of that period as it emerges from an analysis of the feature writing of the period, i.e. to the image of the intelligentsia's self-awareness, and to the image that is revealed in the writings of historians of the inter-war period. Finally, in the main section of the paper, the author presents the views of four sociologists who lived and worked in the interwar period who dealt with the issue of the Polish intelligentsia: Florian Znaniecki (1882-1958), Aleksander Hertz (1895-1983), Stanislaw Rychlinski (1903-1944) and Józef Chalasinski (1904-1979). The views of those sociologists are juxtaposed with opinions of journalists and historians, to see how valuable and original such views were. Their views on the intelligentsia are also analysed against the background of the developments in sociology of that period, of the areas or interest of the sociologists involved, and of the theoretical frameworks which they followed. The sociologists' research on the intelligentsia can be seen as part of a wider range of studies on transformations in culture (Znaniecki, Hertz) and social structure (Rychlinski, Chalasinski). All four sociologists pointed to the changes that the Polish intelligentsia was subject to and to the problems involved in implementing its leadership role. Apart from Chalasinski, the sociologists appreciated the positive role of the intelligentsia in Polish society and indicated the need to take measures aimed at reconstructing the paths of advancement into the social elite, a great role in which was attributed to educational institutions. The issues of social advancement, and especially the discussions concerning the social elite, were well in tune with debates that were to be found in magazines and journals, but they were characterized by a different, sociological perspective, which took account of the transformations in social structure and in culture, and of the achievements of the rapidly developing sub-discipline of sociology, namely the sociology of education.
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