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Practices of Togetherness: Jacek Kuron, Affective Community and Political Opposition in Late Socialist Poland (1964-1982)

Dates:
  • Fri 27 Sep 2019 15.00 - 17.00
  Add to Calendar 2019-09-27 15:00 2019-09-27 17:00 Europe/Paris Practices of Togetherness: Jacek Kuron, Affective Community and Political Opposition in Late Socialist Poland (1964-1982)

Two themes run through the most prominent historical narratives of the political opposition in the Polish People’s Republic – that of intellectuals formulating a reasonable critique of state oppression and that of striking workers. Zooming in on the complex dynamics that enabled the emergence of political mobilization within the milieu around Jacek Kuron (1934-2004) engenders a multi-layered story of thinking and doing the seemingly impossible in late socialist Poland. This story involves visions and practices of political opposition ranging from resisting through survival via self-organized networks of everyday care and support to political actions that more easily fit established frames of interpreting political activism. At the heart of the life and legacy of Kuron, one of the most prominent members of political opposition and a co-founder of the Workers’ Defence Committee (KOR), were thus communal bonds of friendships and care.
The case of Kuron and his milieu illuminates how the political opposition came with its own rituals, vocabulary, political passions, personal emotional engagements, and bonds of solidarity, all of which encompassed a diverse repertoire of contestation such as bypassing censorship, cooking for those in need, and hunger striking. Understanding the language and discourse of the political opposition requires a knowledge of how and why certain vocabularies and practices were invoked and how they fit together.
In mapping the emotional, intellectual and social world of the political opposition, without separating these strands from one another, the goal of this thesis to broaden our understanding of extra-institutional politics and modes of resistance. To recast the framework within which we examine grassroots political mobilization involves challenging what counts as political opposition in late socialist Poland and what drives and sustains it. This thesis does so by highlighting the role of affective community in creating a grammar of oppositional practices of togetherness and imagining a more just social order.

Sala degli Stemmi 1st Floor, V.Sa. DD/MM/YYYY
  Sala degli Stemmi 1st Floor, V.Sa.

Two themes run through the most prominent historical narratives of the political opposition in the Polish People’s Republic – that of intellectuals formulating a reasonable critique of state oppression and that of striking workers. Zooming in on the complex dynamics that enabled the emergence of political mobilization within the milieu around Jacek Kuron (1934-2004) engenders a multi-layered story of thinking and doing the seemingly impossible in late socialist Poland. This story involves visions and practices of political opposition ranging from resisting through survival via self-organized networks of everyday care and support to political actions that more easily fit established frames of interpreting political activism. At the heart of the life and legacy of Kuron, one of the most prominent members of political opposition and a co-founder of the Workers’ Defence Committee (KOR), were thus communal bonds of friendships and care.
The case of Kuron and his milieu illuminates how the political opposition came with its own rituals, vocabulary, political passions, personal emotional engagements, and bonds of solidarity, all of which encompassed a diverse repertoire of contestation such as bypassing censorship, cooking for those in need, and hunger striking. Understanding the language and discourse of the political opposition requires a knowledge of how and why certain vocabularies and practices were invoked and how they fit together.
In mapping the emotional, intellectual and social world of the political opposition, without separating these strands from one another, the goal of this thesis to broaden our understanding of extra-institutional politics and modes of resistance. To recast the framework within which we examine grassroots political mobilization involves challenging what counts as political opposition in late socialist Poland and what drives and sustains it. This thesis does so by highlighting the role of affective community in creating a grammar of oppositional practices of togetherness and imagining a more just social order.


Location:
Sala degli Stemmi 1st Floor, V.Sa.

Affiliation:
Department of History and Civilization

Type:
Thesis defence

Contact:
Francesca Parenti - Send a mail

Supervisor:
Pavel Kolar (EUI - Department of History and Civilization)

Examiner:
Prof. Laura Lee Downs
Malgorzata Mazurek (Columbia University)
Michal Kopecek (Imre Kertesz Kolleg)

Defendant:
Thuc Linh Nguyen Vu (EUI - Department of History and Civilization)
 
 

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