A Hundred Years of Village Monographs in Poland. Jubilee Reflections
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Monographs of local rural communities played an important role in Polish sociology until the 1970s. They had been preceded by numerous sociographic descriptions and social surveys made already in the first half of the 19th century. Numerous critical remarks made about classical (descriptive, encyclopedic) monographs, which stressed that such accounts lacked a representative character and provided no material for formulating general conclusions, that they represented a synchronic and not a diachronic approach and contained redundant details, were justified. However, the best monographs in Polish sociology met all the strict methodological requirements and their most important value was a reliable description of social reality, which has been neglected since the moment of the popularization of research conducted with the help of questionnaires that concentrate mainly on the analysis of the respondents' awareness. Traditional monographs seem to represent an interesting approach to scientific investigations, even from the point of view of present dilemmas in social sciences (the postulated restraint on the part of the author, incoherence of culture, the researcher's ethos, science's non-involvement in temporary matters). Therefore, it is worth examining this inconsiderately abandoned genre of sociological literature.
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