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Changes in social awareness
on both sides of the border
Poland – the Czech Republic
Changes in social awareness
on both sides of the border
Poland – the Czech Republic
URSZULA SWADŹBA, DANIEL TOPINKA
Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego Katowice 2013
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Introduction (Urszula Swadźba, Daniel Topinka) .
From church religiousness to spirituality. The transformation of religion in the
early 21st century .
Ethnic identification as a part of the Silesians’ identity .
Ethno-regional diversity in Upper Silesia vs the historical memory of school children
Silesian family – yesterday and today .
Work in young Silesian women’s value-system .
Religion in Czech Silesia: An attempt to explain Czech irreligiosity .
The influence of the Catholic Church in the border regions: Comparing Silesia
and Western Bohemia .
State formation on periphery: Precarious state building in Silesia .
Ethno-national paradox: The case of Hlučín area .
Changing life situations of Silesians in Hlučín region .
Notes about Contributors .
Poles and Czechs have been neighbours for centuries. We both speak Western
Slavic languages and share similar Slavic origins. Moreover, history often con-
demned us to a common fate, such as the submission of Bohemia, Moravia, and
also a part of Silesia, to the Habsburg Monarchy. The both nation states have
much in common as well as differ in many respects. They underwent moderni-
zation, nationalization, experienced the period of socialism, and finally found
themselves in a whirlwind of globalization and a new social reality.
Common membership in the Communist Bloc, and then the systemic trans-
formation, maintained the analogous fates of the both nations, which are im-
printed on the consciousness of their societies. At the same time, historical dif-
ferences also occurred, such as between the accomplishments of Jan Hus and the
Counter-Reformation in Poland. The result is different approaches of Poles and
Czechs to religion.
The period of systemic transformation, opening to the outside world and the
processes of globalization have caused an influx of new trends, styles and the
Western values. It concerns the inhabitants of the both countries, especially the
younger generation. The period in question allowed them to explore their iden-
tity, particularly in terms of ethnicity and religion. Such processes occurred in
both the Polish and the Czech communities.
Socio-economic transformation in the last two decades accounts for a major
change in lifestyle. For sociologists, a social change is a major challenge which
gives the opportunity to monitor many aspects of society. What is particularly
interesting is observing changes in border areas.
The aim of this publication is to present the changes in public awareness on
both sides of the border (in Silesia and Moravia), as the similarities and differ-
ences are more apparent there. These changes relate primarily to the younger
generation, but also to the generation of “real socialism”, and they are reflected
not only in economic terms but also in social dimensions, e.g. in family and
religion, as well as in ethnic and environmental awareness. Until now, econo-
mists have written many books on social and cultural issues, but there are no
books by sociologists. The monograph will therefore contribute to the descrip-
tion and analysis of changes in awareness of the Polish-Czech borderlands. It
will be pointed out how the economic changes that occurred during the systemic
transformation are reflected in the social changes and how this affects the con-
sciousness and behaviour of residents of the borderlands.
This book comprises the articles written by the researchers of the Institute of
Sociology, University of Silesia in Katowice and the researchers of the Depart-
ment of Sociology, Palacký University in Olomouc. The book is divided into two
parts showing the changes in the awareness of people living on either side of the
The Polish part of the collection opens with a text by Andrzej Górny: “From
church religiousness to spirituality. The transformation of religion in the early
21st century”. The author’s analysis of the results of studies on religiosity rep-
resents a unique application of significant transformations in the prevailing at-
titudes to religion which have occurred and still occur in modern societies. Tra-
ditional churches are no longer monopolistic institutions in determining what is
religious. There is a peculiar accent shift – from institutions to individuals. More
and more people define their spirituality individually. The paper is an attempt
to reflect on the directions of a general and specific transformation of attitudes
towards religion possible to identify in the contemporary society of Silesia.
Urszula Swadźba in her paper “Ethnic identification as a part of the Silesians’
identity” addresses the problem of changes of ethnic identifications of Silesians.
First, a theoretical context of the considerations is presented, along with the
concept of identity and national (ethnic) identity. Then, based on the work of
historical and sociological developments, the sources of formation of ethnic pe-
culiarity among Silesians are presented. Finally, on the basis of her own research
carried out in three selected Silesian communities, the author shows the current
shape of identification and the link with Silesian affiliation. In the conclusions,
the dynamic nature of this phenomenon is indicated. In a unified society there
is a rebirth of Silesian identity and ethnic identity.
Adam Bartoszek in an article “Ethno-regional diversity in Upper Silesia vs
the historical memory of school children” attempts to answer the main research
question: What factors shape the identity of the young generation of Silesians
and what their sense of cultural rootedness is? This question is linked to the
idea of changes in the socio-cultural habitus among the inhabitants of the
Upper Silesia. The problem is presented on the basis of the theory of cultural
capital and is designed to recognize changes in the formation of ethnic habi-
tus of Silesians. Conclusions are drawn on the basis of research conducted on
the generation of school-attending children and youth that inherits its identity
from their parents, and subsequently modifies it during the interaction with
a peer group.
Monika Żak in her text “Silesian family – yesterday and today” undertakes
the problem of changes that can be observed in Silesian families: yesterday and
today. The Silesian family of yesterday was a extended family, bonded togeth-
er by very strong emotional and economical ties. Tradition and the cultivation
of patterns operating in the life of successive generations in a significant order
in the daily lives of each of the Silesian family. Today’s Silesian family is often
a nuclear family that cultivates the tradition only on occasions of various festi-
vals and cultural events. The author, based on research conducted by other socio-
logists and her own research, analyses these changes.
Kinga Hoffmann in a paper “Work in young Silesian women’s value-system”
stresses the value of work for Silesians. Nevertheless, women are facing a prob-
lem of keeping the balance between the work and the private life. The author
describes the topic on the basis of her own research conducted in selected Si-
lesian towns. Presented results show work as a specific area of women’s activ-
ity. Therefore, the author emphasizes this aspect of changes in the area and its
The second part of the book contains the articles by Czech scholars/research-
ers. They relate to issues, similar to their Polish counterparts.
Dušan Lužný in his paper “Religion in Czech Silesia: An attempt to explain
Czech irreligiosity” aims to identify the characteristics of religious life in the
Czech part of Silesia in comparison to the situation in the entire Czech Republic.
Some parts of this region rank among the most religious parts of the otherwise
highly secularized Czech society. The question this paper tries to answer (or at
least indicate a possible answer to) is: what are the factors which lead to the
maintenance and continued religious reproduction. The key concept for answer-
ing this research question is the concept of cultural memory.
Jan Váně in “The influence of the Catholic Church in the border regions:
Comparing Silesia and Western Bohemia” concentrates on the role the Catholic
Church plays in the Czech Republic and on the influence it exercises in this
country. The author compares two regions (the Moravia-Silesia Region and West
Bohemia) in which the Catholic Church has a very different position and draws
a comparison among publicly-accessible socio-demographic data on the targeted
regions with the Acts of Spiritual Administration data collected in the Czech
Catholic Church database. He compares the Pilsen and Ostrava-Opava dioceses,
which overlap with the selected regions. Since uninterrupted 1997–2009 data se-
ries were available for these regions, it is possible to forecast what position the
Church will hold in the compared regions in the future.
Jan Kalenda in a paper “State formation on periphery: Precarious state build-
ing in Silesia” deals with the question of origins and consequences of state build-
ing on the periphery of the Bohemian lands between 10th and 17th century. The
text primarily focuses on the key aspects of state formation activities in the area
of Silesia and compares these elements with the character of state-making activi-
ties in the centre of the Czech kingdom. It also asserts that state making in the
Silesia has many autonomous aspects that result from different kinds of cultural,
political, and economic backgrounds (institutions), as well as from specific rela-
tions between the state administrative centre and local state agents.
Daniel Topinka in “Ethno-national paradox: The case of Hlučín area” deals
with the autochthonous inhabitants of the Hlučín area district and focuses on
changes in the national identity formation among generations of the Hlučín peo-
ple. During three centuries, the inhabitants of the Hlučín area were exposed
to ethno-national paradox. They faced the overlay of national projects that cre-
ated changeable situations and similar social reality, where the social categories
of unlikeness were intensively formed. The ideology of nationalism in the 19th
century formed the destiny of local inhabitants. While the ethnic identities ena-
bled a compatibility with Czech nationalism and the affiliation to the substantial
Czech tribe, the national identities kept the orientation to German culture and
thought during the 20th century. Today, in the period of deconstruction of na-
tionalism, these identities do not play such an important role as they did in the
Helena Kubátová in “Changing life situations of Silesians in Hlučín region”
points out the uniqueness of the Silesian region of Hlučín and identifies the
changing life situations of its inhabitants as perceived by themselves. The text
contains basic statistical data concerning the region, a concise outline of its his-
tory and an analysis of non-standardized interviews with the region’s native in-
habitants. The analysis is based on the changes in four topic areas which form
the notion of life situations: the uniqueness of the region and its inhabitants,
working life, family life and public life. Most of the changes were caused by gen-
eral modernization and civilization trends in modern societies. The disruption
of generational continuity as a consequence of the post-Second World War trau-
ma is a specific cause limited to Hlučín region. Although the region is losing its
uniqueness, it is still worth studying as it cherishes values and lifestyles that have
completely vanished elsewhere.
The proposed topics show the possible viewpoints from which we can ob-
serve and compare the events in the two societies. The reader has the oppor-
tunity to become familiar with different views of sociologists on similar topics
and observe the changing shape of both contemporary societies. It may prove
important not only for our present, but for our future as well.
Urszula Swadźba, Daniel Topinka
Notes about Contributors
Adam Bartoszek – Professor, PhD. Associate Professor at the University of Silesia in
Katowice and Katowice School of Economics. A graduate of the Institute of Sociology
at the University of Silesia, where he obtained his PhD in 1989 and an assistant profes-
sor of sociology in 2004. His scientific output consists of publications within the range
of sociology of organization and management, the theory of social structures, social
problems of city, research on social and cultural capitals, regional identity and social
personality, methodology of marketing and public opinion research. He is an author
and co-author of ten books, including such titles as: Społeczne tworzenie osobowości.
Zarys socjologicznych teorii osobowości [Social Creation of Personality. The Outline of So-
ciological Theories of Personality] (Katowice, 2009; translated into Ukrainian and pub-
lished in Kiev in 2010); together with L.A. Gruszczyński and M.S. Szczepański: Miasto
i mieszkanie w społecznej świadomości. Katowiczanie o Katowicach [City and Habita-
tion in Social Consciousness] (Katowice, 1997); Kapitał-społeczno kulturowy młodej
inteligencji wobec wymogów rynku [The Social-Cultural Capital of Young Intelligentsia
towards the Demands of the Market] (Katowice, 2003); together with T. Nawrocki and
J. Kijonka-Niezabitowska: Tożsamość młodych Ślązaków. Między patriotyzmem lokal-
nym a europejskością [The Identity of the Young Silesians. Between Locality and Europe-
anism] (Katowice, 2009).
Andrzej Górny – PhD in sociology. An Assistant Professor in the Department of
Sociology of Knowledge at the Institute of Sociology, University of Silesia. Author of
a doctoral dissertation on the religiousness of Silesian youth. He is interested in issues
of transformation of contemporary social reality, especially in terms of culture. He is
an author of scientific publications in journals such as Socjologia religii, Górnośląskie
Studia Socjologiczne, Societas Communitas and many others. He has participated in nu-
merous research projects (including international) aimed both at the cognitive goals and
solving specific social problems. The most important professional experiences include
participation in the following areas: working within the international research team
in the project Modern Family in Transition (in cooperation with the universities of the
Visegrad Group countries: the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland), a nation-
wide project Twins or Rivals? aimed at understanding the specificity of cooperation be-
218 Notes about contributors
tween district labour and social welfare centres, and the project Crossing the Threshold
aimed at social and professional activation of impaired vision and blind people.
Kinga Hoffmann – PhD in sociology. She works at the University of Economics in
Katowice (the Faculty of Management, Institute of Human Resources Management). As
a graduate of the University of Economics she gained a PhD title at the University of
Wrocław. Her PhD dissertation concerned the meaning of work in young Silesian wom-
en’s lives. She is an author of thirteen articles regarding her interests, such as: working
Silesian women, women’s careers and work as a value. As far as human resources man-
agement is concerned, the author addresses a question of measuring an effectiveness of
Jan Kalenda – MA in sociology and personal management at the Faculty of Arts, Pal-
acký University, Olomouc. During his studies he took a study tour on the Uppsala Uni-
versity in Sweden and the Arhus University in Denmark. Nowadays he is a doctoral
student of sociology at the Palacký University, Olomouc. Author mainly focuses on the
problematics of historical sociology, especially on the question of the state building in
European history, and also investigates long-term changes in cultural (ideological and
religion) patterns. He published several articles in Czech and Slovakian social research
journals, for example: Sociológia, Mezinárodní vztahy, Historická sociologie or Historica
Helena Kubátová – PhD in sociology, methodology of sociology and sociology of life-
style at the Faculty of Arts, Palacký University, Olomouc. She has published several
monographs on the issue: The Methodology of Sociology (2006), Sociology (2008), Soci-
ology of Lifestyle (2010). She has also published a scientific monograph focusing on the
possibilities of linking phenomenology and social stratification: The Living World and
Social Worlds (2008). A contributor of monographs concerning sociological theory:
Pierre Bourdieu and the Theory of Symbolic Change (2008), Differentiation and Collec-
tive Behaviour: J. Alexander and P. Colomy on Neo-functionalism (2007, coedited), Value
Cultural Pattern in Talcott Parsons’s Theory in the Context of Ways of Solving the Issue
of Linking the Individual and the Society (2006), Narrated Biographies of Three Histori-
cal Generations of Women (2005), Alfred Schütz’s Phenomenological Sociology (2002).
The author also focuses on the transformations of the Czech society after 1989 and pub-
lished a paper entitled “Value aspects versus attitudes. A cultural transformation of the
Czech society on the background of the economic and political transformation” (2005).
Dušan Lužný – Professor, PhD. A graduate in sociology at the Faculty of Arts, Masaryk
University, Brno, where he also defended his doctoral thesis in 1996. He gained his ha-
bilitation in philosophy at the Palacký University, Olomouc in 2001. In his dissertation
he tackled the role of religions in the modern society. Currently he works at the Depart-
ment of Sociology and Andragogy of the Philosophical Faculty, Palacký University, Olo-
mouc holding the post of the Department’s Head. He is the author of several books on
the sociology of religion. His main research interests are theory of sociology of religion,
new religious movements, contemporary religious situation and globalization.
Notes about contributors
Urszula Swadźba – Professor, PhD. Associate Professor at the University of Silesia and
Head of the Department of General Sociology. She completed her sociological studies at
the Jagiellonian University and did her PhD and habilitation at the University of Silesia.
Among her research interests are: sociology of values (family, religion and especially the
value of work); sociology of the borderlands, sociology of local communities, the issue of
Silesia. An author of dozens of articles on this subject. Her main publications are: Śląski
etos pracy. Studium socjologiczne [Silesian Work Ethos. Sociological Study]. Katowice,
2001 and Obraz Niemców w oczach młodzieży pogranicza kulturowego… [The Image of
Germans in the Eyes of the Youth in the Cultural Borderland…] (Katowice and Opole,
2007). She edited the book Praca, rodzina, obowiązki, czas wolny – czyli o stylu życia
mieszkańców Rybnika [Work, Family, Duties, Leisure: On a Lifestyles of Rybnik Inhabit-
ants] (Katowice, 2007), Śląski świat wartości [Silesian World of Values] (Katowice, 2008),
Praca czy rodzina? Dylematy kobiet śląskich [Work or Family? The Dilemmas of Silesian
Women] (Katowice, 2009), and together with E. Burzyńska Rodzina i praca. Między
tradycją i współczesnością [Family and Work, Between Tradition and Contemporarity]
Daniel Topinka – PhD in sociology. He studied sociology and religion science at the
Masaryk University in Brno. His doctoral dissertation concerned the integration of
Muslims into the Czech society. The author works as an expert assistant in the Cabinet
of Intercultural Studies at the Department of Sociology and Andragogy of the Philo-
sophical Faculty at the Palacký University in Olomouc. An assistant lecturer of cours-
es such as: sociology of migration, introduction to the migration theory, sociology of
religion, cross-disciplinary seminar and theory of globalization. Among the reaserch
problems he undertakes are: social inclusion of minorities, sociology of migration, in-
tegration of the migrating and ethnical groups and sociology of religion. He published
several articles consernind the topics in e.g. Sociální práce and Sociální studia, Acta
Universitatis Palackianae Olomuciensis, Problems of Education in the 21st century. In
Poland he published a paper “The client’s system in the Czech labour market: Bro-
kers, immigrants and employers” Immigration Policies and Security, ed. by K. Iglicka.
Jan Váně – PhD in philosophy. He works at the Faculty of Arts, Philosophy and Study
of Religion at the Masaryk University in Brno, where he obtained his PhD. During his
doctoral studies, he also attended the Leibniz Universität in Hannover. He is a senior re-
searcher in the Department of Sociology, University of West Bohemia in Pilsen. He con-
centrates on comparative research and his main interests include sociology of religion,
social theory and political philosophy. Focused on qualitative research, an inherent part
of his research focus is studying individualization processes and their impact on mani-
festations and forms of religiousness. Jan Váně has been developing his practical expe-
rience in empirical research. Presently, he is the solver of a grant of the Czech Grant
Association Adaptace a etablování neinstitucionalizovaných náboženských společenstev
ve veřejném prostoru [Adaptation and Presentation of Non-institutionalized Religious
Groups in Public Space]. He has published several academic papers (e.g. “Where is the
sociology of religion heading. Some comments to three European sociologies of reli-
220 Notes about contributors
gion” in Czech Sociological review 2009) and participated in international conferences
(ESA, ISORECEA, WAPOR, etc.).
Monika Żak – MA in sociology. She works in the Department of General Sociology,
Institute of Sociology, University of Silesia, Katowice. Her research interests are relat-
ed to the functioning of selected groups of disposable, high-risk professions, the issue
of professional ethics of chosen professions, as well as to the broader problems of the
contemporary family. Among others she published articles concerning the following
themes: “Doctors’ attitudes of using the medical ethic’s norms”; “TV, bike or maybe
a book? How people spend their leisure time in Rybnik?”; “Consumption and consumer-
ism? Residents of Rybnik a new style of life”; “Rybnik – tradition and modernity.” She
actively participates in national and international scientific conferences concerning the
subject of her interests.
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