History of Poland in 19th century: The challenge of equality 3104-L3H19PL-19ANG
The classes will be devoted to themes in 19th century Polish history, focusing on the question of equality. Issues will be considered in a broad context including both social ideas and real processes, reflected e.g. in legislation.
19th century Europe witnessed the redefinition of the concept and limits of equality. Enlightenment progress and the experience of the French Revolution led to the questioning of fixed social stratification. For the first time, alongside increased recognition of the humanity of people outside the elite, many social groups were demanding equality. However, this demand took different shape depending on who was claiming equality and for whom. Calls for absolute equality were rare – many liberal thinkers were against equal rights for all categories of society. The belief that societies consist of people of different value was widespread.
This feature may also be seen in the Polish partitions. The abolition of feudal social stratification – accompanied by social and political democratization, and enforced by modern, uniform bureaucratic procedures – led to real egalitarian changes in the status of individuals. Previous divisions weakened and new social groups emerged (the intelligentsia, factory workers, the bourgeoisie). Nevertheless, belonging to a particular group still brought “stigma”; a move outside one’s own circle and social advancement required intense efforts to break the “glass ceiling”.
Significantly, the long-established conviction that people were divided into categories of better and worse, fit and unfit to rule, elite and mob, was not disappearing. Even the architects of improvement projects for certain groups – e.g. the klemensowczycy who wished to reform the situation of peasants, or socialists who sympathized with the working class – were not free from the belief that the groups they were supporting were somehow worse and backward in terms of civilization. Admittedly, such paternalistic attitudes were replacing the former open contempt held towards unprivileged groups, nonetheless the question remains to what extent this was a qualitative change.
The classes will cover various proposals for reform by Polish politicians and activists at a time that the previous social order was disintegrating. The issue of the ambivalence of those projects will be raised: although they contained some demands for the emancipation of unprivileged groups (peasants, women, Jews, workers), they also claimed the necessity to bring pressure on those groups and eradicate their bad habits by force. It was believed that – for their own good and to achieve social harmony – it was necessary to apply obligatory measures to discipline, civilize and mould them into an intended form.
During the classes, we will pay special attention to certain groups considered worse and not deserving of emancipation. Additionally, the social perception of other groups outside a normative model will be discussed – children, as well as the sick and the elderly.
Podstawę zaliczenia stanowi obecność, przygotowanie do zajęć w oparciu o zaleconą literaturę, aktywny udział w ćwiczeniach oraz przygotowanie referatu. Dopuszczalne są maksymalnie trzy nieobecności na zajęciach, druga i trzecia nieobecność wymaga zaliczenia.
Zob. sylabus zajęć w cyklu dydaktycznym.
Dodatkowe informacje (np. o kalendarzu rejestracji, prowadzących zajęcia, lokalizacji i terminach zajęć) mogą być dostępne w serwisie USOSweb: