Wojakowski 1/2011

Sociologie Românească, Vol. IX, no. 1/2011, pp. 141-153.




Europe – region – town: cultural roots in narrations at southern Polish borderland

Dariusz Wojakowski


Author adressThe Faculty of Humanities, AGH - University of Scences and Technology, al. Mickiewicza 30, 30-059 Kraków, Poland.
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Abstract: This paper reconstructs common concepts of Europe, cultural region and locality, worded by inhabitants of southern Poland, referring to their involvement in cultural changes that appeared after accession to European Union. Ethnographic research and in-depth interviews in small towns at the borderland show strong cultural changes that happened under the influence of opening the borders and reception of the EU’s funds and regulations. The most common belief among people who decide about the shape of local culture in those towns is that the constitutive features of the European community are multiculturalism and cultural openness. There is the point to analyze the relation between the experience of the cultural and political changes and the process of construction of the European, regional (supranational) and local identity. That goal is realized by use of the qualitative method of the sequential analysis of text. The results of that analysis show the mechanisms of building one’s own identity and perceiving the social world by people with clear nationalistic views and positive attitude to Europe and the EU. The fundamental characteristic of this vision of the world is the existence of two ways of identification with the community: by the community of interactions (the local community and transnational region) and the community of ideas (Poland and Europe). The conclusion is that the process of creation of the European identity is similar to the well-known nation-making processes and the idea of Europe could be created only by translation of transnational experiences of individuals to the level of ideological, imagined community.

Keywords: Europeanism; borderland; local communities; trans-border connections; identity; sequential analysis of text.

Cuvinte-cheie: europenism, zonă de frontieră, comunităţi locale, conexiuni trans-frontaliere, identitate, analiza de text secvenţială.