RURAL INTELLIGENTSIA - ITS ORIGINS AND MATERIAL SITUATION
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For a long time the rural community had not been able to ensure education to its own members and to create a sufficiently attractive offer for those of its few members who had managed to become well educated. This situation did not change even during the early period of People's Poland when masses of young people from rural areas were given a chance to raise their social status or in the later years when the children of peasants and workers were ensured privileges in access to university education by means of a system designed to eliminate significant inequalities in the educational chances of various social groups. It is not surprising then that throughout the post-war period (until the year 2000) the rural community had a negative migration balance and that young people constituted the category of the most frequently migrating inhabitants of the rural areas. According to the results of various analyses, such migrations resulted in the outflow of talented and active people who did not see any prospects for a better future in the countryside and could not accept the conditions prevailing there. In the result of these and many other processes the Polish rural community was in a deep crisis at the time of the change of the political and economic system in Poland. The rural community is generally considered to be a serious barrier hampering the transformation process. The need for changes in the rural areas does not evoke any serious reservations at present. These areas require the introduction of essential changes from without and from within, the latter being immanent changes that have its source in the local community itself. The changes from within are particularly important since they release in a natural way human capital hidden in the rural areas. However, to make this capital work people able to shoulder the process of the rural population's activation are needed. It seems that rural intelligentsia has a particularly great role to play in this respect. Who are the people forming this group? What is their place in the structure of the rural community? What does their material situation look like? What were the circumstances that made them settle in the countryside? Do they feel to be a part of the rural community? This paper represents an attempt at providing answers to these questions.
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