Although much has been written about contemporary Poland, discussions that provide a balanced assessment of the current situation are in short supply. To correct that problem, this book offers a cross-section of intellectual opinion within Poland, including original research and works of synthesis that draw on Polish research and writing that have been, for the most part, inaccessible to scholars outside Poland. The contributors' views avoid the extremes of condemnation or defense of the system and make possible a more complete understanding of present-day realities. Their perspectives are moderated by the fact that, although the authors recognize the need for reform and change, they also take into consideration the great constraints facing all who would confront serious national issues. The discussions range from examinations of social structure and class to evaluations of the significance of the state apparatus in the analysis of policy and assessments of economic performance.
Preface -- Introduction -- Politics and the State -- The Party System, Involvement in Politics, and Political Leadership -- The Contemporary Polish State: Structures and Functions -- Social Structures and Attitudes -- Change in Social Structure and the Increased Significance of the Working Class -- Polish Catholicism as an Expression of National Identity -- Socioeconomic Change and Dislocations -- Agriculture in Modern Poland -- Economic Development in Light of Regional Differences -- Rural-Urban Linkages and Change -- The Sources of Tension Within the System -- Problems in the Development of Social Infrastructure in Poland -- Sociopsychological Aspects of the Polish Crisis -- A Reassessment of the Polish Dilemma -- Politics, the Economy, and Society: How They Interrelate -- Some Lessons from the Historical Experience of Poland's Development