Trust, Confidence, and Social Capital in Poland: A Historical Perspective

Jacek Kochanowicz

in Trust and Democratic Transition in Post-Communist Europe

Published by British Academy

Published in print September 2004 | ISBN: 9780197263136
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734922 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Trust, Confidence, and Social Capital in Poland: A Historical Perspective

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Sociologists and other social scientists have attempted to explain differences in economic success and in democratic performance by invoking trust and the related concept of social capital. This chapter examines how historical experience has shaped patterns of trust in Poland in order to see in what ways these patterns affect the process of post-Communist transformation in Poland today. It argues that it is the pre-Communist, indeed even the pre-industrial, past that influences the present situation in Poland, just as much as does the more recent communist experience. In particular, the chapter highlights the extent to which the change from communism to post-communism differs from other types of modernization processes. It also presents a historical interpretation of specific forms of trust and their dependence on social organization, as well as face-to-face relations and the relations between individuals and large-scale abstract systems, and, more specifically, the state. Finally, the chapter discusses the level of trust among family members, friends, and close acquaintances.

Keywords: Poland; trust; social capital; communism; modernization; social organization; relations; state; family; friends

Chapter.  8561 words. 

Subjects: Social Psychology

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