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2011 | 12(1) |

Article title

ARCHITECTONIC OF KNOWLEDGE Beyond “Self‑limiting Sociology”? A Historical Sketch of Old and New Self‑censorship in Polish Sociology

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It would seem that Polish sociology coped well during the difficult time of communism – it was not evident in Eastern Europe in those days. Not only did Polish sociologists have their own sociological society, but they also maintained contacts with western sociological organisations. Furthermore, they carried out research on the Polish people, and last, but by no means least, they managed to maintain the academic status of the discipline. However, knowledge of the costs of the survival of Polish sociology is not so widespread. It cannot be forgotten that Polish sociology in the communist period had to renounce part of its own freedom to conduct research. It was obvious – for sociologists – that the number of areas of research was limited and, what is more, that other relatively neutral areas of research could only be explored with a well‑defined perspective. In such a context, of particular importance was the fact that the communist regime created a „self‑limiting” sociology. This meant that the shape of the sociology was influenced not only by institutional censorship, but also, and perhaps largely, by the self‑censorship of the sociologists themselves. This article analyses the mechanisms in which Polish sociology was self‑limited during the communist period, and describes the attempts of Polish sociologists to break self‑censorship at that time. Finally, the paper offers a reflection on contemporary sociology which turns out not to have freed itself of the problem of self‑censorship entirely, even after the fall of communism.



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