BETWEEN SCAVENGING AND ARCHAEOLOGY. PRESENT AND HISTORIC EXPERIENCES AMONG UNEMPLOYED MINERS FROM WALBRZYCH
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Walbrzych and its surroundings is an area which has experienced the most difficult aspects of the post-1989 transformation in Poland. Coal mines in the Walbrzych started to be closed at the beginning of the 1990s as part of the restructuring of the coal industry. This placed a large number of people ( some 20 000 miners and employees in mining-related companies) in a new and incomprehensible situation. During the previous half century those mines had organised these workers' entire lives and now they had been totally disorganised, had disintegrated or had ceased to exist. The dramatic experience of the collapse of the industry and the sudden superfluity of the workers is reflected in the author's research. The interviews conducted by him with residents between 2001 and 2005 show feelings of complete destruction and, at times, auto-aggression. This seemed to be the response to what had happened to the town and to them. The pictures painted reflected both the demolished town and the destroyed post-mining bodies. At the same time, the suspended organisation of life and work began to revive and after the previously standardised industrial Communist-era town came new areas of activity such as illicit mining, the creation of ad-hoc technology and scavenging. In addition, a new area of 'liberated' or 'activated' property and its social acceptance was created - a new, as yet not understood, experience of history was created.
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