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Class system in Poland - does it exist?


David_18 68 | 982
10 Nov 2010 #1
Does this exist?

3 years ago i discussed this with some friends at the pub. And one of my friends told me how his grandfathers parents refused to join the wedding when his grandfather and grandmother married just because she came from the village and they were from the city.

Does this problem still exist?

Does the Poles from the city stereotype the population from the villages as hillbillys?
Teffle 22 | 1,321
10 Nov 2010 #2
Certainly the "mountain people" do not seem to be highly regarded by city dwellers in my experience - as to whether they considered to be distinct from villagers generally, I'm not sure.
OP David_18 68 | 982
10 Nov 2010 #3
Actualy i heard it was the other way around. That the proud highlanders "Górale" looks down on the polish people and sees themselves as a minority.

I might be wrong.

Highlanders

.
zetigrek
10 Nov 2010 #4
Does this problem still exist?

no.

Certainly the "mountain people" do not seem to be highly regarded by city dwellers in my experience - as to whether they considered to be distinct from villagers generally, I'm not sure.

it's not really a big problem.
OP David_18 68 | 982
10 Nov 2010 #5
no.

So you got no personal experience of the class system in Poland at all?

Everyone hold hands and sings Kumbaya?
zetigrek
10 Nov 2010 #6
That the proud highlanders "Górale" looks down on the polish people and sees themselves as a minority.

rather Silesians consider themselves as ethnic miniority. Górale are Poles from very distinguish region with its own strong traditions but certainly consider themselves as Polish (at least I've never heard that they don't). What it goes for the village vs city or east vs west or warsaw vs rest of poland... there are some little sterotypes and people look down on others but not when they meet a real person.
frd 7 | 1,399
10 Nov 2010 #7
The problem doesn't exist anymore, but I remember the stories told by my grandparents too, about someone who had a noble surname and part of his family refused to come to his wedding with a commoner ;o.
Zed - | 195
10 Nov 2010 #8
Polish aristocracy/nobility were decimated during the war and then became impoverished under communism. Likewise the thin layer of pre-war bourgeoisie. This problem does not exist by and large.
zetigrek
10 Nov 2010 #9
So you got no personal experience of the class system in Poland at all?

yep the partition of poland and in futher years commies completely even out the classes. I think that most of Poles have some szlacheckie pochodzenie and its not a big deal in poland at all.

Village vs city is a different problem. There are some stereotypes when thinking of people risen up on countryside but its not a problem when it goes for marriage. Actually I'm suprised that you know such story.
OP David_18 68 | 982
10 Nov 2010 #10
Górale are Poles from very distinguish region with its own strong traditions but certainly consider themselves as Polish

Yes, but somehow they still distinguish themselfs from the rest of the polish society. I almost feel like coming to another country when i visit Zakopane.

What it goes for the village vs city or east vs west or warsaw vs rest of poland... there are some little sterotypes and people look down on others but not when they meet a real person.

I heard that Warsawians distinguish themself from the rest of Poland and sees themselfs as some kinda "upper class" and looks down on the villagers.

What about people from Poland A and Poland B? does the people from Poland A look down on the more poorer Poland B?
zetigrek
10 Nov 2010 #11
Poland was full of regions with its own charachteristic traditions but it all dissapearded, become more standarized now.

I heard that Warsawians distinguish themself from the rest of Poland and sees themselfs as some kinda "upper class" and looks down on the villagers.

It's rather that the rest of Poland says that Varsovians have their nose in the air so that they have some beef to Varsovians just because they are from Warsaw. It calls jealousy...

What about people from Poland A and Poland B? does the people from Poland A look down on the more poorer Poland B?

as I said its east vs west. West is richer than East. But in fact there are no difference in treating people from the east and west.
Teffle 22 | 1,321
10 Nov 2010 #12
I heard that Warsawians distinguish themself from the rest of Poland and sees themselfs as some kinda "upper class" and looks down on the villagers.

I'm pretty sure this rivalry of the capital V the rest of the country happens all over Europe. Certainly in Ireland to an extent and most definitely in France for example.
SeanBM 35 | 5,808
10 Nov 2010 #13
Class system in Poland Does this exist?

Not in my opinion.

Certainly in Ireland

Yeah but only because out side of Dublin's full of culchies ;)
Teffle 22 | 1,321
10 Nov 2010 #14
Yeah but only because out side of Dublin's full of culchies ;)

See what the rest of us have to put up with? : (
SeanBM 35 | 5,808
10 Nov 2010 #15
I am sure the muck savages are all grieving :)

But like you said there is a rivalry between cities and the sticks but it is not hate, class or serious. Just a bit of banter at the end of the day. It's probably more got to do with people in the cities having left the countryside to live there and what the attitudes that move brought. (and in Ireland the pale but that's a different story)
jonni 16 | 2,485
10 Nov 2010 #16
In Poland, the intelligentsia are a specific social class, and often look down on others, specifically workers, who in turn sometimes look down on villagers. I'm also surprised how many people make the point that they have noble origins, as if this in some way matters.

People don't always define this in terms of social class, preferring to talk about types of people or level of intelligence. Correcting other Poles' use of language seems part of this.

I've been asked a few times (always by late middle-aged wealthy professional people) if I have a title. :-)
OP David_18 68 | 982
10 Nov 2010 #17
I'm also surprised how many people make the point that they have noble origins, as if this in some way matters.

Yea what about that? does poles normally like to show off and talk about their noble origins?

A friends mother told me that having a noble origin often gave you easier jobs as an chief executive, manager etc etc.
Teffle 22 | 1,321
10 Nov 2010 #18
Correcting other Poles' use of language seems part of this.

I think this will always seem a little strange to many English speakers as despite what many would like, "proper English" isn't as clear cut as language use in other countries.

Imperfections, different syntax etc are all kind of accepted as variations. Bascially very few people speak English correctly, enunciating every sound etc.

Newsreaders for example have obvious regional accents on British TV. There used to be the notion of RP (received pronunciation) as being "proper English" but this idea is pretty much laughable these days.
zetigrek
10 Nov 2010 #19
In Poland, the intelligentsia are a specific social class, and often look down on others, specifically workers, who in turn sometimes look down on villagers.

we don't have in Poland inteligencja anymore. Inteligencja was between wars and was mostly killed during the war.

A friends mother told me that having a noble origin often gave you easier jobs as an chief executive, manager etc etc.

WHAT?! NO! Someone is poking fun on you.
If someon is boasting about their noble roots:

- is consider as a burak
- has nothing to be proud as most Poles have great great grandmother who was from noble family of X
- polish szlachta was very diverse and the lowest szlachta class was nothing more than peasants with title szlachta.
jonni 16 | 2,485
10 Nov 2010 #20
we don't have in Poland inteligencja anymore

Young educated intelligentsia rebuilt the post war state, and throughout the post-war years there were plenty of universities.
zetigrek
10 Nov 2010 #21
Young educated intelligentsia rebuilt the post war state

No, they were not inteligencja anymore.

the post-war years there were plenty of universities.

My profesor recently told us how it was in reality (especially straight after war).
jonni 16 | 2,485
10 Nov 2010 #22
No, they were not inteligencja anymore.

Are you confusing intelligentsia with inteligencja? And if not, what were they? Who filled administrative roles? Peasants?

My profesor recently told us how it was in reality (especially straight after war).

Ah, a student - so you must have all the answers. In which case you'll know the numbers and percentages of people receiving higher and further education during the 50s, 60s and 70s.
SeanBM 35 | 5,808
10 Nov 2010 #23
the intelligentsia are a specific social class, and often look down on others, specifically workers, who in turn sometimes look down on villagers.

Who filled administrative roles? Peasants?

In fairness jonni, You are English (I should stop there but I won't;)
And in England you are brought up seeing the world in a class system manner.
I have argued with some English friends on this matter, because anyone who works in a factory is lower class, in a bank middle class and rich fat cats and politicians upper.

And as these jobs exist in every country, it is easy to suggest such a system or as you have done invented your own (at least you get points for creativity) but snobbery and job description does not mean there is a class system.
zetigrek
10 Nov 2010 #24
Peasants?

yes. in many cases.

Ah, a student - so you must have all the answers plus plenty of life-experience and worldly wisdom!

I've never said that.
It's my prof's wisdom who is in his 60s so he knows better how it was.

In which case you'll know the numbers of people receiving higher and further education during the 50s, 60s and 70s.

both my parents have higher education (they have graduated in 70s).
Even though my dad has title of engineer and master, I don't consider him as an intelligent man. He was very dilligent and hard working that's why he fairly achive those degrees but he was always lacking of creativity, manners and cultural knowledge. He is quite boorish. He is not a kind of person who'd be able to invent anything or solve a great problem.
Richfilth 6 | 415
10 Nov 2010 #25
Does this exist?

There's 38million Poles, so there's 38million classes. They all find a reason to look down their nose at one another at some point (although, in fairness, occurrences of such snobbery are now only about five a day, per person.)

Compared to the English system of lower-middle versus upper-working and all the others, no, there's no class system. But that doesn't stop insults like "wiesniak!" being hurled around occasionally...
zetigrek
10 Nov 2010 #26
Compared to the English system of lower-middle versus upper-working and all the others, no, there's no class system. But that doesn't stop insults like "wiesniak!" being hurled around occasionally...

exactly.
jonni 16 | 2,485
10 Nov 2010 #27
Peasants?

yes. in many cases.

Semi-literates devising a new taxation system and legal code or operating on hospital patients? Come off it! What do you imagine the PRL was, a third world country.

both my parents have higher education (they have graduated in 70s).

In which case they are presumably intelligent. Remember that throughout the PRL certain documents required people to state the social background of their parents - I had to, the first time I had a visa. Intelligentsia was one of the categories.

In fairness jonni, You are English (I should stop there but I won't;)
And in England you are brought up seeing the world in a class system manner.

Nonsense. In the coal mining village I grew up in, attitudes to class differed somewhat to those in the Home Counties. There wasn't much variety there and nobody who would describe themselves as anything other thn working class - if pushed to do so.

And as these jobs exist in every country, it is easy to suggest such a system

Sociologists do just that.

as you have done invented your own (at least you get points for creativity)

More nonsense, and trolling too. The categories: intelligentsia, worker, peasant were used throughout the PRL and hve their origins long, long before. Why do you think it's somehow an invention?

but snobbery and job description does not mean there is a class system.

It means just that. Do cardio-thoracic surgeons or high court judges invite many dustmen to dinner?
zetigrek
10 Nov 2010 #28
Semi-literates devising a new taxation system and legal code or operating on hospital patients?

building buildings on inapropriate ground which eventually collapsed.

state the social background of their parents

my parents has no social background as my grandfather without matura was a manager (kierownik?) of agriculture purchasing centre (skup?) while my mother's dad was running a private business (yes! in PRL people were running own business!). So they did not get additional points and none of them was accepted for a faculty they wished to.

It means just that. Do cardio-thoracic surgeons or high court judges invite many dustmen to dinner?

in Poland they do.
businessmaninpl 6 | 26
10 Nov 2010 #29
This only class division that I have noticed in Poland is that between educated and non-educated Poles.

University educated Poles seem to think of themselves as being superior to the rest. It's not very noticeable, but I do occasionally hear educated Poles say things like, "czy on(a) pisał(a) mature?" "czy on(a) skonczył(a) studia?" - usually these are harmless questions, but in Poland I find that these questions have a negative connotation.
zetigrek
10 Nov 2010 #30
"czy on(a) pisał(a) mature?"

yeah, that one is classic. If someone want to say that you are dumbass they ask about your matura ;)


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