Approaching the Age of 40: Socio-economic Trajectories and Political Biographies of Eighteen-year-olds in 1989 (Bogdan W. Mach’s research from 2009)
The collection includes 40 in-depth biographical interviews conducted within under research performed by the Institute of Political Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences and financed from the public funds for science and research from the Ministry of Science and Higher Education in 2007–2008. The interviews were conducted with people living in different parts of Poland who were 18 years old in 1989. The principal investigator of the project was Prof. Bogdan W. Mach.
The aim of the study was to look at the historical Polish transformation from a particular perspective, i.e. by analysing the life trajectories of the generation that began to come of age alongside the “great change” of 1989. The generation was represented by people who were eighteen years old in 1989, who entered the first year of their adult life together with the start of the Polish transformation. The characteristics of the transformation emerged most quickly, fully and manifestly in their life trajectories. They have been “touched” by the transformation during the very early, sensitive and formative phase of their adult lives, when people make fundamental choices and important life decisions, with far-reaching and often irreversible consequences. They had to adopt decisions, make choices and act without too much experience or resources, knowing that whatever they have will undergo accelerated devaluation and redefinition in the new reality, filled with risk and uncertainty. The live trajectories of people who came of age in 1989 offer a well-focused lens which reflects the reality of the Polish transformation.
Methodological remark: The interviewing method was inspired by the technique of Fritz Schütze’s autobiographical narrative interview, although quite extensive instructions were also prepared.