2006 | 16 | 283-300
Article title

Everyday life in PRL (People's Republic of Poland) - a few words on the subject matter and the need for research

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This article is devoted to subject matter of everyday life in PRL (abbrev. People's Republic of Poland), and its main aim is to encourage historians to take up just this branch of social history. The authoress, however, did not intend to write about issues that are obvious and unquestionable, but rather about contentious issues a researcher of this subject may come across. It is not an attempt to fully present the subject matter connected with everyday living, but most of all an effort to attract attention as such to these issues which have been so far described in less detail. Among other things, the authoress brings up a problem of research groups selection and chronological frames specification in case of research on everyday living. She calls for deeper focus on particular regions or cities of the country and learning about their peculiarity. Her approach to the issue of selecting specific groups of people we wish to know closer is similar. It is worth getting to know chosen social or professional groups rather than treating this subject in general terms. Apart from other sources, reports and opinion polls research are extremely useful in examining everyday living. She believes they should be collected as soon as possible. Although there is still time to do research on recent years or decades, first postwar years are remembered by fewer and fewer people. The issue of so called unusualness, that is those aspects which are perhaps not closely connected with things happening every day, but which are nevertheless worth mentioning while dealing with history of everyday living, is discussed in most detail. Among other things, these are events connected with man's course of life - births, marriages, deaths, different kinds of holidays - religious or national, family celebrations, events happening each year. We should, at least in general, get to know the sphere of human life, religion, personality models of those times or interpersonal relations. In order to acquire such information we would have to make use of achievements of sciences related to history, for instance sociology, demography or psychology, as studies on everyday living are of interdisciplinary character - it also allows graduates of sciences close to history to take up this type of subject matter and accomplish satisfying results in this field. Research on everyday living is very interesting - even due to variety of subjects, possibility of deciding who and to what extent we wish to examine, making use of frequently unconventional sources etc. Moreover, publications on this subject will certainly enjoy considerable interest among local communities we would write about, and subjects devoted to this issue may excellently supplement history lessons, and help to popularize modern history. Thus all this should encourage people, especially young researchers, to take up just this branch of history. Everyday living in PRL deserves being known better, but it is only up to us whether this can be done.
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  • M. Ziminska, Uniwersytet w Bialymstoku, Instytut Historii, pl.Uniwersytecki 1, 15-420 Bialystok, Poland
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