Academic journal article Polish Sociological Review

Jerzy Szacki

Academic journal article Polish Sociological Review

Jerzy Szacki

Article excerpt

Jerzy Szacki passed away on October 25, 2016. A modest person of few words, he was a refined analyst and encyclopedist, sensitive to large ideological questions and issues involving people and institutions. The social sciences and humanities in Poland, particularly sociology, owe much to him. He had uncommon erudition and social imagination, and was an unconventional teacher of several generations of Polish sociologists.

He was raised in a family of civil servants in Warsaw. Along with his mother Barbara he experienced the horrors of the occupation, including the hecatomb of the Warsaw Uprising and the succeeding months. He and his mother received the Righteous Among the Nations honor.

Shortly after the war he found employment-first as a locksmith and then in a telecommunications office. In 1948 he began studies in sociology at the University of Warsaw. His class was the last to be able to take the sociology program, which was closed by the authorities in 1952. When sociology studies were reopened in 1956 he returned to the University and in 1959 defended a doctoral thesis entitled Ojczyzna, naród, rewolucja [Fatherland, Nation, Revolution], written under the direction of Bronislaw Baczko. In 1965 he was awarded his habilitation degree on the basis of the book Kontrrewolucyjne paradoksy. Wizje swiatafrancuskich antagonistów Wielkiej Rewolucji 1789-1815 [Counter-Revolutionary Paradoxes: The World Views of French Opponents of the Great Revolution 1789-1815], and later received the title of Professor.

From 1968 until his retirement he was the head of chair of the History of Social Thought at the Institute of Sociology, University of Warsaw. In the years 1972-1976 he was the President of the Polish Sociological Association. In 1974-1991, he was editor in chief of the Polish Sociological Bulletin. For a long time he edited the Sociological Library of PWN (National Academic Publishers). He was a translator or co-translator of books by Howard Becker, Harry Elmer Barnes, Émile Durkheim, Jean-Pierre Vernant, Marcel Mauss, and others.

For many years he served in various positions in University of Warsaw and the Polish Academy of Sciences, including as chairman of the Sociology Committee. He belonged to many academic societies and other associations of significance in Poland's social, political, and cultural scene, engaged into academic and organizational activities. …

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