Nostalgia for the PRL in contemporary Poland

Issue: 
Autumn 2016

The article describes three ways in which the idea of PRL nostalgia is being present in social practices of contemporary Poland. In the general opinion, the times of communism are considered as dark pages of Polish history.  The year 1989, which brought transition to democracy, started also the process of social polarization. In order to overcome this situation most of state cultural institution organise varied educational programs.  The main purpose of those programs is to involve local communities in cultural life and to change the general opinion about cultural events as accessible only for elitist groups. This belief may be considered as emerging from communist nostalgia- similar ideas were formulated by The Polish People’s Republic authorities. Also, there are other forms of “coming back” to historical times. Instead of unpopular meetings honouring socialists’ authorities, there are new kinds of practices that shape culture and historical politics. Festivities or historical re-enactments do not differ much from the previous models of cultural participation. Warsaw Museum of Polish People’s Republic’s popularity is increasing and socialist vintage becomes an element of contemporary pub’s design. 

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Twentieth Century Communism Journal Issue 11: Memory and Nostalgia