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Ethnic diversity and local governance quality

The case of Opole Province in Poland

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Wojciech Opioła and Bartosz Czepil

The book is devoted to relations between the ethnic diversity and the quality of governance at the local level. Opolskie province in Poland is a case for explaining this interdependence. That is because of its history of multiculturalism and the present state of its ethnic diversity. The important feature of this region is, that nearly half of the communes is ethnically homogenous when the rest is ethnically diversified with a strong position of German and Silesian minorities. The preliminary assumption was, that the quality of governance would be higher in communes characterized by ethnic diversity. On the basis of the nested analysis method, authors conducted quantitative and qualitative analysis.

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I Research methodology

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I Research methodology

The research problem of the study presented herein is the relation between the ethnic diversity of the Opolskie province and the quality of governance in particular communes of the region. The objective of the research project is a diagnosis of potential relations between this diversity and the quality of governance at the local level. The main research question to which the authors would like to provide an answer concerns the problem whether multi-ethnicity is a factor strengthening the quality of governance or rather a factor hindering the development of this aspect of the public sphere. To answer this question, it is necessary first to provide answers to several detailed questions: Is the level of the quality of governance in the Opolskie province communes with ethnic diversity different from that in ethnically homogeneous communes? How can diversity influence the quality of governance? What is the character of the relation and what are the social and political mechanisms through which the two aspects influence each other? Based on the above-mentioned questions, we want to present the following research hypotheses:

1. The quality of governance is higher in the Opolskie province communes with ethnic diversity in comparison to the quality of governance in the ethnically homogeneous communes.

2. The sense of identity of the minority in the Opolskie province (the German minority, citizens declaring their Silesian national identity) and their political interests are factors contributing to the higher quality of governance in the ethnically diversified communes.

1 The meaning of the project

The source of inspiration for the proposed study has been Robert Putnam’s study conducted in Italy in which he examined interregional differences in the dimension of civil participation models and institutional effectiveness (Putnam 1995). This perspective induced the project’s authors to ask questions concerning the influence of ethnic diversity in the Opolskie province on the differences occurring in particular between the eastern and western parts of the province (in the study, we do not take into consideration the influence of the Polish-Czech border area in the southern part of the province). Unlike in Putnam’s research, in our study it is the factor of national and ethnic diversity that we consider to be a major variable explaining the hypothetical differences in the quality of ←13 | 14→governance. The level of analysis is also different: while Putnam focused on differences between regions all given the same formal institutional structures of representation and their different cultural uses of them, the project’s authors are interested in a lower, local level of exploration and the ongoing elaboration of different formal and informal cultural regional representation structures over time as well.

At the provincial level, according to the data from national census carried out in 2011, the Opolskie province was inhabited by 895,000 people declaring Polish nationality1, 106,000 people declaring Silesian nationality, and 78,000 declaring German nationality. Furthermore, the census failed to establish the identity of over 22,000 people. Also, the number of people of Romany nationality was established at around 200 (according to the estimates of the Provincial Office, there are between 1500 and 2000 Romanies in the province), and 2700 people declared nationality other than Polish, Silesian, German or Romany. Analyzing the region with respect to minority group, we can divide the province into two parts: the eastern part with a considerable percentage of Germans and Silesians, and the western part, practically without any larger groups representing ethnic minorities.

The study is in line with the research tradition of the Opolskie province, but also goes beyond its dominant perspective. The fundamental constitutive elements of researches conducted by political scientists in the Opolskie province are the functioning of the German minority in the region and the consequences of the post-war population relocations (cf. Berlińska 1999; Lis 1993; 2013; Madajczyk 2001; Trosiak 2013; Trzcielińska-Polus 1999)2. In a previous research focusing on the Opolskie province, two significant patterns have been observed that should be taken into consideration in the context of the presented research problem:

1. Analyzing the Opolskie province as an ethnically and culturally diversified region and as a social borderland. However, one should be aware of the multi-dimensional character of such an approach. The borderland character of the Opolskie province is not only determined by the province’s location at the state border (the Polish-Czech border) but also – and even to a significant degree – [1]; the presence of a large number of the German minority members in the ←14 | 15→region (the Polish-German social borderland); [2] the historical division – still existing in the material culture – into “Germany” (the Opole Regency) and “Poland” (the upper Prosna River basin area: Praszka, Byczyna); [3] the “topographic and social” borderland (understood as the clash of the Polish immigrants, “Prussian” infrastructure, and symbolical capital); [4] “Polish multiculturalism” caused by the post-war migrations and the intermingling of the Polish speaking population from culturally different regions of the Second Polish Republic (1918–1939). The division into the German minority and the Polish majority is thus just one of several possible dimensions of the analysis.

2. In the Opolskie province, just like in the Śląskie and Dolnośląskie provinces, the phenomenon of Silesian self-identification of the population has ←15 | 16→intensified in the recent 15 years3. It is particularly worth analyzing the identification of the Silesian people in the context of identification with the German nationality – in the latest census a significant decrease of German nationality declarations was observed with a simultaneous considerable increase of Silesian identifications. The process needs to be thoroughly analyzed at the commune, and even village level. It is of great importance, since the German minority is politically empowered (and characterized by a high level of social ←16 | 17→life institutionalization), while the Silesians have only just started fighting for their political representation4.

In view of the above observations, it can be assumed that the Opolskie province is a specific region whose primary characteristic is the tradition of multiculturalism and the still present and experienced ethnic diversity (see Map 2). This state of affairs offers a natural possibility to explore the relations between diversity and the quality of governance at the local level.

The presented research project combines two aspects which are becoming more and more important in the light of contemporary civilizational transformations. The first aspect concerns the multiculturalism of regions and the development of regional identities, and it is in line with the current research agenda in the scope of regional policy in Europe (cf. Jeffery 2015; Mihajlović 2014; Paasi 2013; Riding and Jones 2017; Vainikka 2014). In this context, the project is a significant element broadening the knowledge of the functioning of multicultural regions on the continent. Processes similar to those observed in other EU regions occur also in the Opolskie province: migrations, growing economic disparity and social marginalization, increasing importance of double (national and regional) identification, decreasing interest in politics at both the European and national levels, and growing citizens’ participation in the regional and local dimensions. The last of the mentioned elements refers to the other aspect of the proposed study, i.e. a growing interest in the civil society and the quality of governance, and relations between these variables are more and more frequently emphasized. The following issues are of particular interest: social capital, trust, political participation being analyzed as phenomena connected with the quality of governance (cf. Działek 2011; Kaufman, Kraay, Mastruzzi 2007; Łopaciuk-Gonczaryk and Hardt 2013; Newton 2001; Portes 1998; Putnam 1995; 2001; Rothstein 2011; Wilkin 2013). In the study, we want to connect these aspects and ask questions about the cause-and-effect relations between the region’s multiculturalism and the power of its institutions. In social sciences, there have been numerous studies and theories related to this topic; in some of them Silesia has been considered a unit of analysis (Berlińska 1999; Cybula and Majcherkiewicz 2005; Szczepański 1998). One of the basic relations pointed out by researchers is the negative influence of ethnic diversity on the level of bridging social capital, social cohesion, quality of life or welfare, ←17 | 18→which results, for instance, from a lower level of trust in representatives of ethnic groups other than one’s own and a higher level of social capital and trust in ethnic representatives of one’s own group. (cf. Alesina et al. 2003; Dinesen and Sønderskov 2018; Putnam 2007; Rothstein and Charron 2014; Schaeffer 2013; Wallman Lundåsen and Wollebæk 2013, Wright and Bloemraad 2012).

2 Literature review

Two works published in the recent years deserve special attention in this research area. One of them is an analysis by Alberto Alesina, Arnaud Devleeschauwer, William Easterly, Sergio Kurlat and Romain Wacziarg concerning the relation between ethnic fractionalization and the social and economic development of states (Alesina et al. 2003), while the other is a lecture by Robert Putnam of 2007 on the influence of ethnic diversity on civic life in the United States (Putnam 2007).

Alesina’s work’s contribution to the research on relations between ethnic diversity and the quality of governance consists first of all in the development of a universal ethnic fractionalization index (EFI) by means of which comparative quantitative studies can be easily conducted. This index, which is also used in our analysis, takes into consideration two variables: the number of ethnic groups in the population and the proportions of the sizes of particular groups (Alesina et al. 2003: 158–159). Most of the subsequent works use the EFI to measure ethnic diversity. Unlike the previously used index of ethnolinguistic fractionalization (ELF), the EFI allows the measurement of fractionalization of groups with different characteristics other than language only (such as national and ethnic identification, religion; cf. Fearon 2003).

Nevertheless, the contribution of the previous researches based on the ELF is significant, in particular in explaining the so-called new liberal dilemma. Whereas the primary objective of liberal democracies is to develop conditions for the existence and respect of diversity, the very diversity seems to decrease citizens’ inclination to participate in public life and thus undermines the social foundations of the effective functioning of democratic institutions (Schaeffer 2013). Rafael La Porta, Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes, Andrei Shleifer and Robert Vishny (1999), based on data collected in 161 countries, explain that in ethnolinguistically homogeneous countries the quality of governance is higher than in countries diversified in this respect. Along with the growth of ethnic diversity, the level of state interventionism also rises, while the efficiency and quality of provided public services decrease. Exclusion or discrimination of ethnic minorities in their access to public services is a common phenomenon (Ibidem: 1220). Similar conclusions can be drawn from the research conducted by William Easterly and ←18 | 19→Ross Levine, who analyzed African countries and explained that the high level of ethnic diversity accounted for their political instability and a low level of provided public services (Easterly and Levine 1997).

Simultaneously, there were also studies criticizing the fractionalization index as not being the most adequate tool for examining cause-and-effect relations between multiculturalism and political phenomena or processes. For instance, Paul Collier in his article (2001) and later in the book (2007), failed to find such a relationship to being in a conflict trap related to ethnic diversity. It was only one kind of ethnic diversity that was socially/politically/violently destabilizing: “dominance” of one large ethnic minority in a mostly homogeneous country. Strong ethnic diversity was hardly a problem, but the medium level of diversity could be. James Fearon (2003) as well as Jose Montalvo and Marta Reynal-Querol (2005) observed that not just ethnic diversity, but cultural distance or polarization between ethnic groups within a particular community had much more significant explanatory potential. However, the polarization index proposed by Reynal-Querol (RQ index, Reynal-Querol 2002) was not as commonly accepted as the fractionalization index in social studies.

It is worth mentioning that in the case of the research presented in this book, we assume that the polarization cultural distance of all analyzed units taken into consideration by us is identical, as representatives of the same three ethnic groups live in each of the analyzed communes, but in different proportions. Therefore, in this case the fractionalization index is the right criterion of ethnic diversity.

While in the above mentioned studies scientists, chiefly economists, focused on cause-and-effect relations between a high level of ethnic diversity and a low level of the quality of governance and welfare, in subsequent studies scholars started searching for answers to the question whether ethnic diversity was the only basic element of differences in that respect. Paul Collier argued that ethnic diversity had a much more negative impact in non-democratic regimes, while stable democratic countries coped much better with their communities’ multiculturalism (Collier 2000). Jan Delhey and Kenneth Newton (2005) observed the direct influence of ethnic homogeneity on a higher level of trust and the indirect influence on the quality of governance, life and economic egalitarianism. Scholars also started wondering whether, and in which conditions, ethnic diversity could be a factor strengthening the governance process. According to Robert Putnam, in medium- and long-term perspectives, an ethnically diversified community could establish new forms of social solidarity and intra-ethnic trust (Putnam 2007). Presented during the Johan Skytte Prize Lecture, this thesis soon became a very influential point of reference for scholars examining relations between multiculturalism and the social and political stability of contemporary communities.

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In his work, Putnam focuses on numerous positive and negative aspects of growing ethnic diversity. Without referring to all examples presented therein, let us concentrate on the part of the research which concerns diversity at the local level. Basing on data from the Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey, Putnam points out that local heterogeneous communities in the United States are characterized by a lower level of trust in local authorities local media, lower election frequency (but simultaneously higher level of interest in politics), lesser inclination to participate in joint projects for the benefit of the local community, lower density of friendship networks, lower quality of life, greater importance of television as the basic source of entertainment (Putnam 2007: 149–150). Still, justifying his thesis of the positive effects of multiculturalism in a long-term perspective, Putnam points out that the history of the American society is the history of a multinational community which in the first half of the 20th century and right after WWII replaced the dominant ethnic nationalisms with civic nationalism (Americanism, ibidem: 162–163). The American society’s ethnic diversity is a multilevel diversity comprising the heritage of three processes: mass migration in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, primarily from European countries, slavery and, contemporary immigration from Latin America, Asia and the countries of Middle East. The first of the above mentioned processes is a confirmation of the thesis of possible long-term development of strong social capital and an active civil society in multinational communities. This factor – the history of long lasting coexistence of a multi-ethnic community – seems also to be of importance in the case of the communes of the Opolskie province, whose ethnic structures were formed basically 70 years ago.

Putnam’s theses soon started to be verified in other regions of the world. Maurice Gesthuizen, Tom van der Meer and Peer Scheepers (2008) determined that in the case of European democracies, such factors as economic inequalities and consolidation of a democratic regime in a state (the longer uninterrupted history of democracy, the higher the level of social capital) had much stronger influence on diversification in social capital among the European states continent than ethnic diversity. A similar relation was not found in another comparative study of European countries, either (Hooghe, Reeskens, Stolle and Trappers 2009). Analyzing the British society at the level of neighborhood communities, Patrick Sturgis, Ian Brunton-Smith, Sanna Read and Nick Allum (2011) did not show any statistically relevant cause-and-effect relations between ethnic diversity and social trust.

What is also worth mentioning is an interesting critique of Putnam’s approach to the study of cause-and-effect relations between ethnic diversity and social capital. According to Alejandro Portes, the variables analyzed by Putnam ←20 | 21→(social trust, civil society, ethnic diversity) correlate, but it cannot be stated that one is the consequence of another; they rather affect one another (Działek 2011; Portes 1998; Portes and Vickstrom 2011). Portes and Vickstrom also reverse the argument’s logic, and propose the thesis that it is the high quality of governance that can be the factor decreasing the negative effects of ethnic diversity and increasing the level of social trust (Portes and Vickstrom 2011: 476).

As it ensues from the previously presented review of the literature on the subject, most of the studies are comparative analyses at a national level. The basic dependent variable in most of the studies is also social capital or social cohesion; the quality of governance or civil society appears only as potential consequences. There are considerably fewer analyses conducted at a local level. These comprise the above quoted Putnam (2007) and Sturgis with his team (2011). An interesting example is the study on the influence of ethnic diversity on citizenship and an inclination to act collectively for the benefit of the local community conducted in rural settlements in Nepal (Baland, Bardhan, Das, Mookherjee and Sarkar 2007), in which no influence of diversity on the level of responsibility for the common good was shown. Many valuable guidelines can be found in the recent studies by Ruud Koopmans and Merlin Schaeffer on relations between ethnic diversity and social cohesion in the local urban communities in France, Germany and the Netherlands (Koopmans and Schaeffer 2016). The scholars confirmed the existence of a negative cause-and-effect relation between a community’s heterogeneity and social cohesion; they simultaneously proved that negative effects could be mitigated by conducting an appropriate immigration policy (integrative rather than assimilative).

The cultural specificity of the Opolskie province will be used here to verify the theoretical statements concerning relations between ethnic diversity and the quality of governance. Furthermore, it will be a study of the quality of governance in which the Opolskie province is not considered (which seems a dominant practice) to be a homogeneous entirety compared to other provinces (cf. Przewłocka et al. 2013; Skrzypiec 2013; Wilkin 2008), but rather a culturally heterogeneous region where it is possible to identify processes, phenomena and differences which fall outside analyses taking into consideration data aggregated at the provincial level. Thus the multicultural specificity of the Opolskie province and its hypothetical influence on the quality of governance in the region will be “discovered” for scholars interested in such relations. Finally, research results will allow an empirically consolidated reference to many common beliefs concerning the differences between the western and eastern part of the Opolskie province, which are stereotyped, and which are explained in third chapter.

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Relations between the multiculturalism of the Opolskie province and the quality of governance is a peripheral area of interest among researchers. The researchers who dealt with the issue of multiculturalism of the province did not focus on its relations with the quality of governance and, in fact, did not use this notion in their work. However, their research contains some themes which make it possible to draw some conclusions on relations between the multiculturalism of the province and phenomena relevant for the study of the quality of governance (e.g. the unique character of local social capital, participation, civil society, the quality of regional and local institutions). Therefore, in the subsequent part, we try to focus on these threads and conclusions of the research that concern relations between multiculturalism and phenomena determining the quality of governance.

In the studies dedicated to the first decades after the mass relocation campaign, the researcher drew attention to differences among the three “interest groups”, i.e. settlers, relocatees from the Eastern Borderlands, and autochthons, and competition among them. Settlers were perceived as the most dynamic group, while relocatees and the Silesian population were a socially disadvantaged group. In the case of Silesians, it was the result of their instrumental treatment by the authorities of the People’s Republic of Poland and discrimination with respect to access to public services as well as positions and jobs in local governing structures. Meanwhile, the social disadvantage of Borderlanders resulted from the sense of temporariness, the loss of their homelands, and negative stereotypes (Madajczyk and Berlińska 2008: 526). These groups – Silesians and relocatees from the Eastern Borderlands – were also perceived as competing against each other in the field of culture. On the other hand, settlers, who usually came to Opole Silesia voluntarily, were defined in opposition to Borderlanders and Silesians as the leading group embodying the “ideology of pioneers” (Kwaśniewski 1968: 168–169). Actually, the higher level of economic and cultural capital among the Silesian population was noticed and appreciated (e.g. Madajczyk and Berlińska 2008: 568; Rauziński 1986: 17), but this potential was not utilized optimally for development purposes. Moreover, in consequence of the successive waves of Silesians’ migration to the Federal Republic of Germany in the 1970s and the 1990s, this group, as well as the whole community of Opole Silesia, continued to disintegrate (Jacher 1991).

According to Maria Śmiełowska (1991), the character of contacts among the ethnic groups in Opole Silesia after the war was conflictual. This resulted from the opposing or incompatible standards and values of the cultures of the respective groups; contradictory group interests; civilizational barriers; the transfer of Poles’ negative emotional attitude toward Germans and German culture ←22 | 23→to Silesians; and Silesians’ negative attitude towards strangers (Śmiełowska 1991: 57). The author is of the opinion that self-adopted stereotypes and externally ascribed stereotypes that developed in that period were also important for the character of inter-group relations in the 1990s. Meanwhile, Danuta Berlińska emphasizes the evolution of inter-group relations from strong antagonism in the first years after the war through hidden conflicts and isolationism to the stage of functional integration in the 1990s (Berlińska 1998: 17). Thus, the aforementioned research indicates that with respect to the post-war period, it is difficult to refer to a regional community characterized by what Robert Putnam referred to as “bridging social capital” – Opole Silesia was divided among groups holding bonding social capital. Additionally, in confrontation with the hostile apparatus of the communist state, the native Silesian population showed alienation and distrust of the official state institutions (Jacher 1994). Nevertheless, it should be reiterated that with the passage of time, all parties managed to work out the methods of cooperation and the institutionalization of inter-group conflicts.

Research focused on the present situation, i.e. the period after 1989, includes various, sometimes opposing, concepts. Below we present a review of the most important conclusions from this research, highlighting relations between multiculturalism and phenomena corresponding to the quality of governance.

According to Robert Rauziński (2007), there is a relationship between the level of education and the share of the non-Polish population in the communes of the Opolskie province: the higher the level of ethnic diversity, the smaller the number of people with secondary and higher education. These differences in education are caused by the migration of persons holding two citizenships to work in Germany. As Romuald Jończy and Diana Rokita-Poskart stated (2013a), a high percentage of the population migrating abroad (especially to Germany) in search of employment, which is characteristic of the multicultural communes in the Opolskie province, causes lower income tax inflows and, consequently, a worse financial position of the local governments. On the contrary, according to the research conducted by Romuald Jończy and Katarzyna Łukaniszyn-Domaniewska (2014), the high percentage of the population emigrating abroad had a positive impact on the economic situation of the inhabitants of the region because of the transfer of funds and the stimulation of demand for local goods and services, particularly in the sub-region of Opole (but the authors indicate also the negative fiscal effects of migration, with respect to both income tax and VAT). This impact was visible especially in the 1990s, during the period of the transformational shock, which was being neutralized in the region by means of earnings coming from definitive or circular migration. The researchers also draw attention to the negative influence of emigration on local social capital – it ←23 | 24→caused, among other things, the weakening of local ties and initiatives, the dismantling of the institutional and transport infrastructure (e.g. the liquidation of crèches, kindergartens, schools, and public transport connections).

According to Maria Szmeja, in Opole Silesia, the Silesian population is dominated politically and culturally by the Polish population, which results first of all in Silesians’ distancing themselves from the Polish majority. Thus, the region’s multiculturalism is not perceived by this author as an added value and an element strengthening the quality of social life (Szmeja 2000; 2017). Marek Mazurkiewicz noticed also (2015; 2017a), that the communes of the Opolskie province inhabited by the German minority are characterized by a lower level of social capital. Meanwhile, the results of the research conducted by Wojciech Opioła (2019) indicate that it is not possible to ascertain definitively that the level of the communes’ ethnic diversity influences the level of their inhabitants’ social capital and that, in some respects, the latter is higher in the multicultural communes.

According to Brygida Solga, the migrations of the province’s inhabitants abroad – the region’s distinctive feature against the background of the other parts of Poland – caused the development of a strong network of migration-related connections. The network became large enough to exert impact on local and regional development, resulting in the formation of a “circular society”. Such a type of a social structure results in a relatively high level of economic capital, but, unfortunately, also in social disintegration (e.g. broken families; Solga 2002). On the other hand, according to Teresa Sołdra-Gwiżdż (1997), extensive and long-lasting activities undertaken by the region’s various institutions (e.g. schools, cultural institutions, local authorities) with the aim of developing a joint regional identity in the Opolskie province (by way of autochthonizing the immigrant population and Polonizing the Silesian population) did not result in the development of inhabitants’ strong ties with the region.

According to the research conducted by Danuta Berlińska (1998; 1999), at the beginning of the 1990s the mobilization and political emancipation of Silesians were defined in terms of belonging to the German national community, and the reconstruction of German national identity in the region was accompanied by antagonisms with the Polish population (e.g. conflicts about monuments). The Silesian population also had lower educational aspirations because the possibility of working in Germany made people give up pursuing further stages of formal education. Thus, connections with the German state and culture weakened social capital throughout the province. But the period of the fight for retaining the separate Opolskie province in 1998 was also a catalyst for province-wide integration crossing the national barriers and the strengthening of inhabitants’ identification ←24 | 25→with the region. This process was accompanied by the increasing awareness of the political elites that the region’s national diversity required a system aimed at reconciling opposing interests, a dialogue-oriented attitude, and cooperation skills. Furthermore, the results of another study conducted by the author in 1999 indicated that the attitudes of the province’s inhabitants to ethnic diversity were evolving towards cooperation across divides and tolerance of cultural differences (Berlińska 2004).

3 The concept and the main research stages

In the literature on the subject, the negative influence of ethnic diversity on the quality of governance is emphasized and a new dilemma of liberalism is indicated. There are several theoretical approaches explaining the negative influence of ethnic diversity on the social foundations of democracy. In the light of the psychological theories of prejudices, ethnic divisions lead to inter-ethnic mistrust and intra-ethnic favoritism, and consequently to tensions, conflicts and an absence of readiness to cooperate. The network theory implies that social relations in ethnically divided societies are organized along ethnic lines, which weakens the potential mechanisms of social control and extra-group civic mobilization. Public choice theorists claim that ethnic diversity strengthens the diversity of preferences and aspirations of particular groups, which is the source of antagonisms. Cultural theories point out the absence of a common language and commonly shared meanings as the source of a lack of social coherence understood as a low level of general trust and civic activity. Simultaneously, the theoretical approaches are challenged by the supporters of the psychological contact theory which proves that everyday contacts with representatives of a different culture lead to overcoming prejudices and stereotypes, and consequently to expansion of trust-based ties (Ibidem; Putnam 2007). Avoiding theoretical generalizations and unequivocal conclusions, we can assume the existence of empirical relations between phenomena described by means of such categories as ethnic diversity and the quality of governance. For the purposes of this research project, we define the presented notions as follows:

ethnic diversity (an independent variable) – being aware of the multiplicity of contexts in which the term is used, we understand it as the existence, in the same social space, of two or more social groups with different ethnic or national self-identification and different cultural characteristics. For the purposes of quantitative and qualitative analyses, we will operationalize ethnic diversity by means of two dimensions which will be used to construct a so-called fractionalization index: the number of ethnic groups in a ←25 | 26→community and the proportions of the population of particular groups (cf. Alesina et al. 2003; Putnam 2007).

quality of governance (a dependent variable) is understood in accordance with the concept of so-called good governance, which is a normative point of reference for an assessment of the quality of governance. The quality of governance depends on a degree to which analysed entities meet the criteria of good governance. According to the definition provided by Transparency International, good governance is “participatory, transparent, effective and efficient, responsive, inclusive governance, following the rule of law and assuring that corruption is minimized” (Transparency International 2009).

The two terms and the presented new liberal dilemma and its criticism determine the direction of the research on the Opolskie province communes, and the main hypothesis is actually in provocative contradiction with the dilemma, since according to it, the quality of governance is higher in ethnically diversified communes. An a priori explanation of the adopted hypothesis can be a relatively long history of coexistence of ethnically diversified communities in the region under analysis, which is one of the factors strengthening social capital, and consequently also the local community, a low level of excluding the minority from the distribution of public services, participation of all ethnic groups in governing the commune, etc. (cf. Kumlin and Rothstein 2010; Putnam 2007). It should also be stressed that the aforementioned concept of the new liberal dilemma refers mainly to the discrimination of immigrant minority groups in their access to public goods in new multicultural communities. In the case of the Opolskie province, the situation is different: several years after WWII post-war immigrants (the displaced people and settlers of Polish origin) became the dominant population in Opole Silesia, and the native population underwent political and cultural discrimination (Berlińska 1998; 1999; Lis 1993; Szmeja 2000).

The research was conducted in the Opolskie province in the years 2017–2018. The starting point was to use statistical data from the census to analyze national and ethnic diversity in the Opolskie province communes. The communes were the basic units of analysis. As for the assessment of good governance in the communes, it was based on the operationalization of the rules of good governance selected on the basis of an analysis of international standards (of such organizations as the World Bank, the European Union or the Council of Europe), and the practice of research on the quality of governance in different parts of the world (Wilkin 2008; Wilde et al. 2009; Kemp and Jimenez 2013). The next chapter presents a critical description of the operationalization of ethnic diversity and good governance, and at the end of the book there is an appendix with a detailed list of the adopted good governance indicators.

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The research was conducted on the basis of the nested analysis (Lieberman 2005; Rohlfing 2008), which is one of the conventional methods of comparative studies in political sciences. It allows the combination of a quantitative statistical analysis based on a large number of cases with a qualitative in-depth analysis of several chosen examples. The nested analysis consists in the use of quantitative data in the first stage of the research process in order to make an optimal choice of case studies for a qualitative comparative analysis. The first stage was a quantitative analysis of selected indexes in all communes of the Opolskie province (at this stage, the district towns were finally excluded) in order to measure the quality of governance in these communes. At this stage, the existing data analysis methods and the CAWI (Computer Assisted Web Interview) were applied. One of the differences in the method applied by the authors in comparison with Lieberman’s postulate was the replacement of regression analysis with correlation analysis. The existing data used at the stage of measuring the quality of governance refer, depending on the index, to the years 2015–2017, and they come from such sources as the Central Statistical Office, the State Election Commission, the Regional Social Policy Centre, the Public Information Bulletin, and information from the particular communes’ websites. To complement the data, on 7 July 2017, an Internet questionnaire was sent to 71 commune and town offices of the province; its specimen is included at the end of the book (more information on the applied CAWI can also be found in the description of the openness indexes). It was used mainly to assess these aspects of the quality of governance which could not be assessed by the authors on the basis of the existing data. We eventually received replies from 66 communes, and data concerning the remaining five communes were obtained during in-depth internet explorations. As a result of the analysis of the existing data and CAWI, information necessary for the assessment of all communes of the Opolskie province was obtained based on 25 indexes of the quality of governance which were assigned to the five rules of good governance: participation, equality, effectiveness, accountability, and openness.

The next research stage was of a qualitative character and consisted in conducting case studies of four communes.

The selected communes were singled out on the basis of the criteria of ethnic diversity and the quality of governance. These are the following four cases:

an ethnically diversified commune with a low level of the quality of governance,

an ethnically diversified commune with a high level of the quality of governance,

←27 | 28→

an ethnically homogeneous commune with a low level of the quality of governance,

an ethnically homogeneous commune with a high level of the quality of governance.

Thus four considerably different units were selected for the qualitative analysis and the keys for the selection were four extreme relations between the dependent and the independent variable distinguished at the stage of the statistical analysis. Simultaneously, because the quantitative analysis did not provide an unequivocal confirmation of the assumed hypotheses, we did not decide to make a random selection of the cases for further analysis (cf. Lieberman 2005: 437). Instead, we applied the diverse case analysis method which provides better results in such situations (Seawright and Gerring 2008).

A case study is a qualitative comparative analysis in which we want to take into consideration a long term perspective (e.g. local social and political history). In the four selected communes an individual in-depth interviews with local leaders as well as some elements of ethnographic studies are also to be included (more information concerning the methodology of case studies can be found in chapter 5). The term local leaders is to be understood as people involved in public affairs of their communes for many years, representing the social side or commune authorities. The objective of the interviews is to facilitate the local qualitative understanding of potential cause-and-effect relations between ethnic diversity and the quality of governance that are dependent upon specific historical conditions that only interviews could recount instead of mere statistical analyses.


1 In the case of persons declaring a double identification, they were classified as being of the first declared national identification.

2 The post-war population transfers took place at the former territory of the Central European countries, mostly affected current territory of Poland (former Germany) and Ukraine (former Poland). Between 1944 and 1951 in all Central Europe about 20 million of people left homes, because of forced transfers.

3 The Silesian separatism developed in the late 19th century as a regional defense against both Prussian/German as well as Polish nationalization projects.

4 And an institutional expression of these aspirations is the registration of three political parties representing the Silesians in 2018: Śląska Partia Regionalna, Ślonzoki Razem and Regionalna Mniejszość z Większością.