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Individualism in Polish culture...Is it almost Nonexistant?


PolkaTagAlong 10 | 186
3 Jul 2012 #1
The tight knit nature of the Polish family is one of the best things about their culture. The emphasis on loyalty to and pride in one's family and nation can't be any stronger. Although these are great things to have, doesn't Polish cultural mindset allow enough for people as individuals? If so, is this a recent thing or something jews brought to the table? In comparison with other nations, would you say that Poles are collectivists at heart?
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
3 Jul 2012 #2
would you say that Poles are collectivists at heart?

No way. Where there are two Poles, there are at least 3 opinions ;-)
I would say Poles are one of the most anarchic and individualistic nations on the planet, probably. History shows that we only come together in times of national tragedy and turmoil. When all is well, it's every man for himself... ;-)
Hipis - | 227
3 Jul 2012 #3
The emphasis on loyalty to and pride in one's family and nation can't be any stronger.

Podolski, Klose, Truchowski, Wozniacki, Lisicki and Wozniak all represent countries other than Poland in sport despite being born in or having Polish parents. I don't see much loyalty and pride here.

I think your post is based on outdated thinking. Things have changed a helluva lot since the fall of Communism and there is a lot of individualism in Polish society now compared to 30 years ago.
OP PolkaTagAlong 10 | 186
3 Jul 2012 #4
When all is well, it's every man for himself... ;-)

I guess I tend to think of religion as a collectivist tool. The more religious the people the more self-sacrifice and social dogma to think a certain way there is. Since Polish people are so religious and they place such emphasis on family I assume they would be kind of collectivist.

Things have changed a helluva lot since the fall of Communism and there is a lot of individualism in Polish society now compared to 30 years ago.

Yeah, but it's different in the modern world when they are not Polish citizens anymore. Polish culture is very tight knit among families. Maybe they are just not good examples. For example, I hear stories about Polish-Americans who tell their family member something and they can't keep a secret. Every extended relative will know.
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
3 Jul 2012 #5
The more religious the people the more self-sacrifice and social dogma to think a certain way there is.

Catholicism was always individualistic. It's about YOU and God, not a group of people and God. I hope you see where this leads. Also, even though most Poles are brought up in the Catholic tradition, to many of them it's precisely that: a tradition, a cultural backdrop against which they play out their very often "sinful" lives ;-)

and there is a lot of individualism in Polish society now compared to 30 years ago.

I can assure you that people were as individualistic, or possibly even more, when times were dreary and gray. For example, young people tended to dress much more outrageously than today (I should know, I was one of them). ;-)
Hipis - | 227
3 Jul 2012 #6
I didn't mean individualism in a fashion sense lol I meant that more people will just tend to look out for themselves, even within families. We don't have the big family get togethers like we used to and no one stays in touch either, quite sad really.
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
3 Jul 2012 #7
We don't have the big family get togethers like we used to and no one stays in touch either, quite sad really.

Some families do, others don't, and I haven't really noticed much change in that.

I didn't mean individualism in a fashion sense lol

Funnily enough, the way you dress says a lot about how you feel about yourself as an individual, how you see your place within society ;-) It's not just a question of following fashion. And if you follow fashion blindly, well, that tells us a lot as well ;-)
TheOther 5 | 3,831
3 Jul 2012 #8
more people will just tend to look out for themselves, even within families. We don't have the big family get togethers like we used to and no one stays in touch either,

The collapse of the traditional family unit is a relatively recent development, having started probably during the 1960's. It's a worldwide phenomenon and has nothing to do with being a Pole, an American, or otherwise.
OP PolkaTagAlong 10 | 186
3 Jul 2012 #9
This is true, it is a global phenomenon which affects pretty much everyone in the world relative to their cultures and customs.
jon357 63 | 14,148
3 Jul 2012 #10
Individualism in Polish culture...Is it almost Nonexistant?

It's one of the most individualistic societies on our planet.
OP PolkaTagAlong 10 | 186
3 Jul 2012 #11
Thinking about it now, I guess it makes total sense. I think of Russians as one of the most anti-individualistic societies on the planet, so I assumed all Eastern Europeans had similar leanings, but that doesn't make any sense. I suppose that's why Russians and Poles despize each other.
jon357 63 | 14,148
3 Jul 2012 #12
I suppose that's why Russians and Poles despize each other.

They don't. Just how Polish are you?

Not everyone here dislikes Russia. So just how Polish are you, anyway?
f stop 25 | 2,513
3 Jul 2012 #14
that ******** and complaining is a sign of non-conformance.
rybnik 18 | 1,462
3 Jul 2012 #15
In comparison with other nations, would you say that Poles are collectivists at heart?

Are you kidding? Collectivists? The word implies cooperation! lol My ex-father-in-law, God rest his soul, use to always warn me a Poles...2 Poles on a deserted island = 3 political parties! hahaha...............BUT you won't find a more dogged ally in tough times. Yup, Poles are a connundrum for sure.
Gruffi_Gummi - | 106
3 Jul 2012 #16
doesn't Polish cultural mindset allow enough for people as individuals?

Ever heard of the liberum veto?
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberum_veto

The Polish culture is probably the most individualistic in the world (to the point of seriously compromising the integrity of subsequent Polish states, especially compared to Poland's neighbors with their "zu befehl" on one hand, and the Asiatic culture of obedience imposed on our Eastern cousins on the other).
delphiandomine 83 | 17,730
3 Jul 2012 #17
I'd agree. Poles are terribly individualistic - they might superficially pretend to conform, but they'll do their own way and damn the consequences.

I suppose that's why Russians and Poles despize each other.

They don't despise each other. Who told you that, Busia?
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,884
3 Jul 2012 #18
Polish people are very individualistic? Man, I just don't see how.

The entire country is white.

The entire country is Catholic.

Communism not long ago, people weren't even able to travel, or couldn't afford to do so.

Limited funds for years and years which simply exposes you to "less".

Limited international media exposure, especially those that don't speak English, which was nearly everyone until the 1990's.

On paper, Poland is a recipe for "Vanilla". If Poland seems invidualistic to you, you probably need to travel more.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,730
3 Jul 2012 #19
Man, I just don't see how.

You don't see it because you don't want to see it. You simply cannot believe it - you spent 5 years of hell in a low-paid profession with no job security, and the thought that Poles might have something positive is ghastly to you.

Communism not long ago, people weren't even able to travel, or couldn't afford to do so.

Common myth. Poles (along with Czechoslovaks, Hungarians and East Germans) had plenty of opportunity to travel to other Socialist countries.

Limited funds for years and years which simply exposes you to "less".

What has that got to do with being individualistic?

Limited international media exposure, especially those that don't speak English, which was nearly everyone until the 1990's.

English was quite widely taught even before the 1990's. If you'd actually met educated people in Poland, you'd know that English wasn't as inaccessible as one might have thought.

On paper, Poland is a recipe for "Vanilla". If Poland seems invidualistic to you, you probably need to travel more.

On paper, yes. But as a culture? I refer you to Gummi's answer -

the integrity of subsequent Polish states, especially compared to Poland's neighbors with their "zu befehl" on one hand

They are a very, very individualistic society. They can't even agree on things such as standardised dress at work!
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,884
3 Jul 2012 #20
you spent 5 years of hell in a low-paid profession with no job security, and the thought that Poles might have something positive is ghastly to you.

Honestly mods, I'd like to express my opinion without personal attacks and lies from Delphiandomine. I did nothing to provoke this crap. I simply answered the OP's question.

What has that got to do with being individualistic?

having more money provides more opportunity and greater exposure. this is common sense.

English was quite widely taught even before the 1990's.

we obviously have different defnitions of "widely".

If you'd actually met educated people in Poland, you'd know that English wasn't as inaccessible as one might have thought.

I just figured I'd point that one out to you too, mods.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,730
3 Jul 2012 #21
having more money provides more opportunity and greater exposure. this is common sense.

Again - what has that got to do with being individualistic? Poles were never so poor (except, perhaps, in the chaotic 1980-1983 period) that they couldn't afford to travel to other countries. And furthermore, some of the most well travelled people (Americans) tend to be absolutely conformist as hell.

we obviously have different defnitions of "widely".

It was taught in some schools, it was taught in universities - that's pretty wide if you ask me.

Seriously - you need to stop basing Poland on your own experience of small flats and uneducated inlaws.
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,884
3 Jul 2012 #22
Seriously - you need to stop basing Poland on your own experience of small flats and uneducated inlaws.

More BS mods. Do something.

Again - what has that got to do with being individualistic?

if you don't see how greater opportunity and exposure to "more" leads to individualism, then I can't help you.

I found Poles to be quite cookie cutter, especially the men.

It was taught in some schools, it was taught in universities - that's pretty wide if you ask me.

seriously, just give up on that one.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,730
3 Jul 2012 #23
if you don't see how greater opportunity and exposure to "more" leads to individualism, then I can't help you.

How can you explain this, when three very conformist nations - America, the UK and Germany are all very well travelled as a nation?

And don't try and tell me that America isn't conformist.

seriously, just give up on that one.

You haven't got a clue how widely English was taught, so why are you persisting?
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,884
3 Jul 2012 #24
How can you explain this, when three very conformist nations - America, the UK and Germany are all very well travelled as a nation?

why are you only talking about how "well traveled" they are? plus, who thinks americans are well traveled? don't like 85% of them not even own a passport?

You haven't got a clue how widely English was taught, so why are you persisting?

What makes you think I don't have a clue? Where do you come up with this stuff? Where do you get YOUR source on this topic?

I'll tell you how I know this, because I've spoken to a gadzillion Poles who all told me exactly what I'm telling you. Say what you want dude, but my boots were on the ground long enough to know these things.

Oh, that, and the fact that once you step outside a big city rynek, you're hard pressed to find anyone over 30 that can speak any english at all.
pgtx 29 | 3,159
3 Jul 2012 #25
Americans are not well traveled.
rybnik 18 | 1,462
3 Jul 2012 #27
English was quite widely taught even before the 1990's. If you'd actually met educated people in Poland, you'd know that English wasn't as inaccessible as one might have thought.

Maybe so, maybe not. It was next to impossible to find any proficient teachers in English, let alone native speakers

Americans are not well traveled..pgtx

We're getting better :)
Harry
3 Jul 2012 #28
Maybe so, maybe not. It was next to impossible to find any proficient teachers in English, let alone native speakers

Having actually been in Poland for half of the 1990s, I'd have to disagree with you on that one.
nunczka 8 | 458
3 Jul 2012 #29
I don't know how life was in Poland in the early 1900's. But In America Poles were very close knit as families.. I remember growing up during the great depression. Money was hard to come by. All of my family

gathered together for all holiday's and would celebrate with what little they had.. This was true with most families of Polish decent. Poles in America settled in certain areas and celebrated all of the Polish traditions, led mostly by the churches.

It was not until the post WW2 years,that things began to change. The old folks grew older, and we kids returned to a prosperus growing America.. Some went to college under the GI bill of rights. Others got great jobs and advanced in management. Money started to roll in. This was the start of the break up of Polish families. We younger ones purchased automobiles which were unheard of in the Polish communities, Other than those owned by bankers.

America became a much smaller country.. Now with the advent of the automobile.people started to move into the suburbs with their new found wealth. It became a contest as to which cousin could outdo the other.. The old folks remained behind and died off. This was the turning point of close knit Polish families in America
rybnik 18 | 1,462
3 Jul 2012 #30
Having actually been in Poland for half of the 1990s, I'd have to disagree with you on that one

That's fine Harry. I was there during the '80's and beleive me finding a decent English teacher was hard. Plenty of Russian and German teachers for everyone though.


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