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The Power of Symbols Against the Symbols of Power: The Rise of Solidarity and the Fall of State Socialism in Poland

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The authority of Polish communists in 1944-1945 was usurpatory; it was not given to them by the Polish people. Nor was the power they held the result of their own actions; they were installed as the country's rulers by the Soviet army. Yet Polish Communists set out to produce credible claims to authority and legitimacy for their power by reshaping the nation's culture and The authority of Polish communists in 1944-1945 was usurpatory; it was not given to them by the Polish people. Nor was the power they held the result of their own actions; they were installed as the country's rulers by the Soviet army. Yet Polish Communists set out to produce credible claims to authority and legitimacy for their power by reshaping the nation's culture and traditions. Jan Kubik begins his study by demonstrating how the strategy for remodeling the national culture was implemented through extensive use of public ceremonies and displays of symbols by the Gierek regime (1970-1980). He then reconstructs the emergence of the Catholic Church and the organized opposition as viable counter-hegemonic subcultures. Their growing strength opened the way for counter-hegemonic politics, the delegitimization of the regime, the rise of Solidarity, and the collapse of communism. He is not studying politics per se, but rather culture and the subtle and indirect ways power is realized within it, often outside of traditionally defined politics. Kubik's approach, which draws heavily on modern anthropological theory, helps explain why Solidarity happened in Poland and not elsewhere in the Communist bloc.


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The authority of Polish communists in 1944-1945 was usurpatory; it was not given to them by the Polish people. Nor was the power they held the result of their own actions; they were installed as the country's rulers by the Soviet army. Yet Polish Communists set out to produce credible claims to authority and legitimacy for their power by reshaping the nation's culture and The authority of Polish communists in 1944-1945 was usurpatory; it was not given to them by the Polish people. Nor was the power they held the result of their own actions; they were installed as the country's rulers by the Soviet army. Yet Polish Communists set out to produce credible claims to authority and legitimacy for their power by reshaping the nation's culture and traditions. Jan Kubik begins his study by demonstrating how the strategy for remodeling the national culture was implemented through extensive use of public ceremonies and displays of symbols by the Gierek regime (1970-1980). He then reconstructs the emergence of the Catholic Church and the organized opposition as viable counter-hegemonic subcultures. Their growing strength opened the way for counter-hegemonic politics, the delegitimization of the regime, the rise of Solidarity, and the collapse of communism. He is not studying politics per se, but rather culture and the subtle and indirect ways power is realized within it, often outside of traditionally defined politics. Kubik's approach, which draws heavily on modern anthropological theory, helps explain why Solidarity happened in Poland and not elsewhere in the Communist bloc.

36 review for The Power of Symbols Against the Symbols of Power: The Rise of Solidarity and the Fall of State Socialism in Poland

  1. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Serwach

    Great book on the impact of symbols (think branding) in Solidarity's push to revolutionize the communist world. Lessons apply across disciplines and boundaries. Great book on the impact of symbols (think branding) in Solidarity's push to revolutionize the communist world. Lessons apply across disciplines and boundaries.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Natalia

    One of the best books I've ever read. One of the best books I've ever read.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Caroline

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jared

  5. 4 out of 5

    Julia

  6. 5 out of 5

    Anna

  7. 5 out of 5

    Tabsira Archives

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mara

  9. 4 out of 5

    Acid Braden

  10. 4 out of 5

    Leigh

  11. 5 out of 5

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  12. 4 out of 5

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  13. 5 out of 5

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  14. 5 out of 5

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  15. 5 out of 5

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  16. 5 out of 5

    Gene Heck

  17. 4 out of 5

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  18. 5 out of 5

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  19. 4 out of 5

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  20. 4 out of 5

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  21. 5 out of 5

    Jeremie

  22. 5 out of 5

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  23. 5 out of 5

    Evgenia Olimpieva

  24. 5 out of 5

    Todd Zimmer

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tom Frost

  26. 5 out of 5

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  27. 5 out of 5

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  28. 5 out of 5

    Lenka Jurecov√°

  29. 4 out of 5

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  30. 4 out of 5

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  31. 4 out of 5

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  32. 4 out of 5

    Marko Jerina

  33. 4 out of 5

    BookDB

  34. 5 out of 5

    Krzysiek (Chris)

  35. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

  36. 4 out of 5

    Courtney Romines

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