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Sztompka, Piotr

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Tygodnik Powszechny - Poland | 10/04/2007

Piotr Sztompka on Poland's culture of debate

Krakow-based sociologist Piotr Sztompka says the Poles have failed to grasp the fact "that the essence of democracy consists in creating the conditions for a society to take maximum advantage of knowledge, intelligence, institutions and social commitment." Because of this, there is hardly any public debate among the Poles, Sztompka explains in an interview with Anna Mateja. "We know from our studies of similar phenomena in Eastern Europe that we are a rebellious society. Miners, teachers, nurses and doctors all protested after 1989... However, it's the defence of material goods rather than values that unites us. Far fewer have taken part in the protests about the Rospuda Valley or the tolerance marches [for the rights of homosexuals and other minorities]. This is only to be expected because major movements for the defence of values only emerge in societies that take common values seriously, and these values must be the subject of constant debate."

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