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Feeling Moved: Upward and Downward Social Mobility in Post-war Poland

Magda Szczesniak
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Wednesday, April 15, 2020
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12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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Magda Szczesniak
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Wednesdays at the Center

The promise of mass upward mobility of the subjugated peasant and working classes and the "declassation" of Polish landowners was the most important declaration of the new socialist state, a promise of improving working class living conditions, granting value to working class lives, and creating a society based on equality and cooperation. While a significant part of the Polish population did experience a shift in social status, the promise of a mass upward social mobility, understood as a universal and durable radical improvement of the life conditions and dissolution of class hierarchies, was not fulfilled. In the project, which the presentation will aim to present, I seek to capture how Poles experienced the post-war radical change of the social system as well as its long-term consequences, and how it sought to represent this process in different media and genres. I thus aim to present upward and downward social mobility not as a simple transformation of the structure of ownership, but as a complex, ambiguous and lengthy process, whose effects operate til this day.

Magda Szczesniak is 19/20 Fulbright Visiting Scholar at Institute for Critical Theory, Duke University and Assistant Professor at Institute of Polish Culture, University of Warsaw.

A light lunch will be served. Parking is available in nearby Trent Rd. and Erwin Rd. parking decks.