Local Community, Power and European Integration

by Zdzisław Mach (Volume editor)
©2017 Edited Collection 128 Pages


This collection of articles is the result of the research project «The Polish local society in the process of European integration – a decade of experience», financed by the Polish National Science Centre (NCN). The aim was to investigate the process of integration in the EU of six selected local Polish communities. The same six communities had been studied ten years before, when Poland was preparing for the EU accession. The research was based on qualitative methodology. The results show that the knowledge of the EU in local Poland remains at a very low level. The exception is competence in the field of EU structural funds. These funds are the main factor which determines the positive attitude of Poles towards the EU and the Polish membership in it. At the same time the process of the construction of a European identity in terms of values remains very problematic.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author(s)/editor(s)
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • Introduction
  • Social memory in local Poland after accession to the European Union (Paweł Kubicki)
  • Economic rationality and perceptions of the European integration: local Poland ten years after the accession (Maciej Stepka)
  • European integration from the perspective of local authorities. An empirical analysis of six municipalities (Dariusz Niedźwiedzki)
  • Collective memory about the past and multiculturalism (Krzysztof Koźbiał)
  • Who belongs to Europe? Perceptions of the future EU enlargement in the Polish society (Magdalena Góra)
  • Between governmental assumptions and local reality. Cross-border cooperation of Polish local authorities from civil approaching exemplified by the municipalities of Nowa Ruda and Szczytna (Mirosław Natanek)
  • Conclusions (Zdzisław Mach)
  • Series index

| 7 →


Shortly before the great EU enlargement in 2004, when ten, mostly Eastern European, former communist countries joined the Union, a team of researchers from the Institute of European Studies, Jagiellonian University in Kraków, carried out a research project to find out if Polish people were prepared for the accession, and what factors were responsible for their attitudes towards the EU and the Polish future membership in it. The project covered six small communities in the southern part of Poland, so this was a research about “local Poland”, with a full awareness that small, local communities in a country like Poland were significantly different from the populations of large, modern cities. The results of this project were published in 2001.

Ten years later, the same team of researchers applied for a grant to the Polish National Science Centre1 in order to carry out a new research project in the same six local communities. The idea was to find out how those local communities developed in the new, European reality: if they were able to use new opportunities provided by European institutions and developed a kind of European identity. This volume presents the results of this new project.

The research was carried out in the years 2012–2015. As in the case of the first project ten years before, the qualitative methodology was used based on in-depth interviews and observation. The results show that the knowledge concerning the EU topics and affairs is still at a very low level, in spite of the fact that a decade has passed since the accession. The exception is expertise and experience in obtaining and exploiting EU funds, which have gained crucial importance, and perhaps the sense of Polish, or rather local societies’, belonging to the EU. At the same time a process of construction of European identity in terms of values, or for that matter in any sense other than redistribution of European money, remains highly problematic. The chapters presented in this volume discuss various aspects of Europeanisation of local communities in Poland, with a special reference to the importance of European funds, development and mobilisation of civil society at the local level, uncovering the historical and cultural heritage, changes in social and cultural identity in relation to significant others, and some elements of local ← 7 | 8 → government. The Authors hope that this volume will make a modest contribution to our understanding of social consequences of the EU enlargement, and will help to identify and understand factors responsible for a success or failure of European integration processes and of the chances for development of identity on the European level.

1 The project no. 2011/03/B/HS6/01163, titled “The Polish local society in the process of European integration – a decade of experience.”

| 9 →

Paweł Kubicki

Institute of European Studies, Jagiellonian University of Kraków

Social memory in local Poland after accession to the European Union

Abstract: This chapter deals with the issue of reconstruction of social memory in local Polish communities after the accession to the EU in 2004. The main hypothesis is that the process of reconstruction of social memory stimulates a parallel process of building a civil society in local communities. Previous research suggested that Polish local communities were still dominated by values typical for closed societies. Nowadays, it seems that we may observe opening of “local Poland” thanks to a change of social memory.


ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2017 (August)
Local Poland Local authorities EU membership EU funds European identity Utilitarianism Collective memory
Frankfurt am Main, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2017. 115 pp.

Biographical notes

Zdzisław Mach (Volume editor)

Zdzisław Mach is Professor of Sociology and Anthropology and the founder of the Institute for European Studies at the Jagiellonian University, Kraków. His research interests cover identity issues of nationalism, minorities and ethnicity, the development of the European citizenship, migration and the reconstruction of identity, the ethnic origin of a nation, and the construction of identities.


Title: Local Community, Power and European Integration
book preview page numper 1
book preview page numper 2
book preview page numper 3
book preview page numper 4
book preview page numper 5
book preview page numper 6
book preview page numper 7
book preview page numper 8
book preview page numper 9
book preview page numper 10
book preview page numper 11
book preview page numper 12
book preview page numper 13
book preview page numper 14
book preview page numper 15
book preview page numper 16
book preview page numper 17
book preview page numper 18
book preview page numper 19
book preview page numper 20
book preview page numper 21
book preview page numper 22
book preview page numper 23
book preview page numper 24
120 pages