Polish Discussions on the Nature of Communism and Mechanisms of its Collapse: A Review Article

East European Politics and Societies 22 (4):828-855 (2008)
Abstract
The author, against the background of Communist Studies developed in Poland since World War I, reconstructs theoretical orientations that explained the communist system in that country. In this paper, the division of theoretical approaches into political, economic, and cultural ones is proposed. Each of them seeks factors responsible for nature, evolution, and final decline of the communist system in a different sphere of social life. An approach of the political type was Leszek Nowak’s theory of communism as a system of emancipated political power; of the economic type — Jadwiga Staniszkis’s theory of the communist system as incomplete capitalism; and of the cultural type — Micha Buchowski’s conceptualization of communism as a system of new religion. In the final part, the author considers complementary character of reconstructed approaches and analyzes reasons why some of reconstructed theories did not generate schools of thought in Polish social sciences after 1989.
Keywords non-Marxian historical materialism  communism  socialism  postwar history of Poland
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