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Civil Society and Three Dimensions of Inequality in Post-1989 Poland

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This article presents three novel arguments regarding the role of civil society in the democratic transformation of Poland. First, under communism, associational life was neither extinct nor always totally controlled by the state. Over time, some organizations achieved a modicum of autonomy. The massive Solidarity movement left a legacy of civic engagement that influenced post-1989 developments. Second, inequality under state socialism needs to be treated comprehensively. While the level of income inequality was modest, economic inequality was more pronounced (privileges of the communist elites). Civic and political inequalities were acute. All three forms of inequality generated discontent and mobilization. Third, after 1989, civil society has become an institutional vehicle for virtually eliminating political inequality, advancing civic equality, and controlling the growth of economic inequality.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2017-04-01

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  • Comparative Politics is an international journal that publishes scholarly articles devoted to the comparative analysis of political institutions and behavior. It was founded in 1968 to further the development of comparative political theory and the application of comparative theoretical analysis to the empirical investigation of political issues. Comparative Politics communicates new ideas and research findings to social scientists, scholars, and students, and is valued by experts in research organizations, foundations, and consulates throughout the world.
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