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Organizing without organizations: on informal social activism in Poland
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute for Housing and Urban Research.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4304-5060
Polish Acad Sci, Inst Philosophy & Sociol, Warsaw, Poland.
2016 (English)In: International journal of sociology and social policy, ISSN 0144-333X, E-ISSN 1758-6720, Vol. 36, no 9-10, 662-679 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to examine motivations of social activists in informal initiatives and to understand why they opt for this more spontaneous and self-organized activism while openly defying the hitherto established way of founding non-governmental organizations. Design/methodology/approach - On the basis of a case study of Poland, which had one of the most vibrant civil societies in the socialist region, it is argued that the characteristics ascribed to the functioning of civil society after the toppling of socialism are not reflected in its more recent state. A broader definition of civil society and social activism is suggested to include new types of informal activism, which tend to be over-looked and under-studied. The analysis is built on qualitative and quantitative data gathered in 2014-2015. Findings - The argument put forward is that un-institutionalized engagement is qualitatively different from its formal and institutionalized counterpart. The recent growth of informal activism is indicative of a rebirth of communitarian engagement in Polish civil society and a reaction to the underside of its institutionalization. Originality/value - In spite of the seminal role played by societal self-organization in the overturning of the socialist system in Eastern European countries, the development of civil society in the region after 1989 has been repeatedly described as passive and characterized by distrustful or individualist attitudes. However, these civil societies have been changing since, and these more recent developments have been neglected by scholars.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 36, no 9-10, 662-679 p.
Keyword [en]
Poland; Civil society; Post-socialist societies; Motivations; Un-institutionalized social activism
National Category
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-303646DOI: doi.org/10.1108/IJSSP-11-2015-0120ISI: 000387099500007OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-303646DiVA: diva2:972558
Available from: 2016-09-21 Created: 2016-09-21 Last updated: 2017-11-21Bibliographically approved

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Polanska, Dominika

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