This article revisits the category of self-criticism, which, as a speech act, plays a special role in the discourse of the intelligentsia, emerging from the peripheral status of Poland and from the imperative to catch up with the West. In contemporary Poland, self-criticism has revived as a discursive strategy in the context of coming to terms with the democratic transformation. For the right-wing intelligentsia, self-criticism is mainly a postulate that is addressed to political adversaries. For the left-liberal intelligentsia, self-criticism is not only a political weapon but also a strategy of introspective enunciation directed at the post-transformation society. A qualitative discourse analysis of selected acts of self-criticism performed by Polish left-liberal elites between 2013 and 2019 highlights two interconnected conflict-generating fields of debate: (1) reckoning with the neoliberal and pro-Western model of the 1989 democratic transition and (2) retribution on the post-transition intellectual elites that patronized the people and the attribution of responsibility for the Elite-People Division. The distinguished functions of self-criticism point to the political and class conflict as well as to the growing delegitimacy of the dominance of the neoliberal narrative about the Polish model of modernization.
Self-Criticism in Post-Communist Times: The Polish Debate on the Democratic Transition in the Eastern European Context
- Views Icon Views
- Share Icon Share
- Search Site
Magdalena Nowicka-Franczak; Self-Criticism in Post-Communist Times: The Polish Debate on the Democratic Transition in the Eastern European Context. Communist and Post-Communist Studies 1 December 2021; 54 (4): 28–53. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/j.postcomstud.2021.54.4.28
Download citation file: