Our Collections

Contemporary Polish Society versus the Past (Andrzej Szpociński’s research from 2003)

The collection contains materials from the qualitative part of the study entitled “Contemporary Polish society versus the past”, conducted by a research team led by Andrzej Szpociński at the Institute of Political Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences (ISP PAN). The study was carried out by Pentor Institute of Opinion and Market Research for the ISP PAN between June and September 2003, under a grant awarded by the then Committee for Scientific Research (KBN).

The collection consists of thematically arranged transcripts of 11 group discussions, each lasting 2.5 hours on average, conducted in 6 large cities (Katowice, Warsaw, Poznań, Białystok, Wrocław and Gdańsk). The participants were individuals interested in history, with secondary or tertiary education, females and males (approx. 50%:50%), aged 18–65 (three generational groups). The records of these discussions can be found in the WSPP_1 folder. The group discussions provided a starting point for a quantitative study conducted in November and December 2003 (a nationwide, randomly selected sample of residents aged over 18 [N=800], booster: 200 interviews on a nationwide, randomly selected sample of Polish residents with higher education). Aggregate data from these studies are contained in folders: WSPP_2 and WSPP_3.

The collection includes data which underlie one of the largest and most comprehensive quantitative studies on memory, carried out in Poland after 1989. Their authors, previously interested in the memory of the past and “living history”, i.e. Barbara Szacka, Andrzej Szpociński and Piotr Kwiatkowski, used the qualitative part to collect data concerning, among others, the regional differentiation of attitudes towards the past, issues concerning sources of historical knowledge, memory of the past in families, attitudes towards selected historical periods, figures and symbols. The resulting material provided input for seminal publications on the subject (e.g. Szpociński 2005, Szacka 2006, Szpociński, Kwiatkowski 2006, Kwiatkowski 2008).

The data from this collection can be used, among others, for the analysis of regional differences in the attitudes towards the past, local particularities in references to national history, as well as the reception of top-down narratives in different regions of Poland, and even variability in time, since the data obtained in this study are comparable to those from other studies on similar topics.* These data may also be an important element of analysis of methodology and history of social research. The project provided a starting point for further research projects (e.g. Kwiatkowski et al. 2010).

*Szacka B., Sawisz A. 1990, Czas przeszły i pamięć społeczna, IS UW, Warszawa.


Kwiatkowski Piotr T. 2008,  Pamięć zbiorowa społeczeństwa polskiego w okresie transformacji, Warszawa: Scholar. 

Szacka B. 2006, Czas przeszły - pamięć - mit, Warszawa: Scholar.

Szpociński A. (red.) 2005, Wobec przeszłości. Pamięć przeszłości jako element kultury współczesnej, Warszawa: Instytut im. Adama Mickiewicza. 

Szpociński A., Kwiatkowski P.T. 2006, Przeszłość jako przedmiot przekazu, Warszawa: Scholar. 

Kwiatkowski P.T., Nijakowski L. M., Szacka B., Szpociński A. 2010, Między codziennością a wielką historią. Druga wojna światowa w pamięci społeczeństwa polskiego, Warszawa- Gdańsk: Scholar.