People's Poland: Patterns of Social Inequality and Conflict

People's Poland: Patterns of Social Inequality and Conflict

People's Poland: Patterns of Social Inequality and Conflict

People's Poland: Patterns of Social Inequality and Conflict

Synopsis

"This book examines socioeconomic and political conditions in postwar Poland and focuses on the nature of social stratification and structural conflict. Majkowski provides a brief analysis of Marx's theory of class and class conflict. There is a discussion of the role played by the Communist party in creating changes in Poland after WWII. A major part of the book is devoted to a description of Polish workers' upheavals from 1956 to 1980, and to a discussion of the role of different social classes in the insurrections. The author... examines the limitations of Marx's theory of class and class conflict. He presents alternative theories of class and class conflict relevant for socialist societies of the Soviet type, and identifies the key variables accounting for class conflict. Majkowski's work is based on official State data, foreign books and periodicals, and interviews with Polish personalities, including Lech Walesa, and uses Smelser's value-added method of analysis of social movements. The book is well written and useful to all those interested in the comparative study of political systems, social stratification, and conflict. Upper-division undergraduate and graduate readership." - Choice

Excerpt

The main intent of Marx' writings was to explain social change throughout the centuries and to discover its laws. Marx was particularly interested in explaining nineteenth-century British Capitalist Society. Based on his findings, he made several predictions regarding the future image of societies.

The social structure of a society has its source in the way in which the society produces goods to satisfy the basic human needs of food, clothing and shelter. There are two main ways in which economic production can be carried out: through an economic system in which the means of production are private or through a nationalized means of production. in a society where the means of production are private and especially where the production takes the form of commodity production for profit, one can distinguish between those who are the owners of the means of production (capitalists) and those who do not own it (proletarians). Possession or exclusion from the ownership of the means of production are the two opposite poles in relation to the means of production.

The owners of the means of production are always a minority in society, but they constitute a ruling class because the control of the means of production brings about political control in society. the ruling class of a given society also controls the spiritual life of that society.

Social change occurs where there is a conflict between opposites: an established reality (thesis) is opposed by a new reality (antithesis).

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