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Reconciliation in Bloodlands

Assessing Actions and Outcomes in Contemporary Central-Eastern Europe


Jacek Kurczewski

Central-Eastern Europe, in the mid-20th century, was a scene of Holocaust, mass killings, war, deportations and forced resettlements under the competing totalitarian invasions and afterwards. It was also the area where churches, politicians and citizens were engaged in reconciliation between antagonized religions and nations. This book presents several attempts to heal relations between Poles, Jews, Germans, Czechs, Ukrainians, Russians and Latvians as well as between Catholics, Protestants and Mariavites. Re-conciliatory practices of John Paul II and other Catholic leaders as well as Protestant churches are analysed in the first part of the book. Most of the remaining studies are focused on particular localities in Upper Silesia, Cieszyn Silesia, former Polish Livland and on the Polish-Ukrainian borderland. These detailed contributions combine sociological methods with anthropological insight and historical context. The authors are sociologists, psychologists and theologians and this leads to a fully interdisciplinary approach in the assessment of the recent state of inter-group relations in the region as well as in the proposed theory of peacebuilding and reconciliation.
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Anthropology in Service of Reconciliation: The Approach


The interpretation of social transformations in Poland after 1989 is under permanent debate between professional students of politics and culture and both practitioners of public life. In these debates the importance of analytical categories serving these interpretations is disclosed, among others the importance of categories related to social and cultural order, its conditions, mechanisms, factors and functions. In the first decade of 21st century the vocabulary was taken from idiom of international (or state) diplomacy of Polish Third Republic, idiom of psychology of settling the issues between people and groups, from idiom of private and public religion into idiom of other humanities and social sciences. In other words, the category of reconciliation had moved beyond the original borders of these idioms and founds its place in sociological reflection on regime transformation, in anthropology of ethnic relations or research on collective memory.

Many points to that the very choice of the conceptualization of reconciliation should be made into a research problem: to reflect upon the transfer of theoretical concepts from many academic disciplines, to define their significance and feasibility in interpretation of Polish implementation of social and cultural model of order constructing.

This article is devoted to one of those, that is to the widely understood anthropological conceptualization. There are many reasons to think that cultural anthropology, more exactly its conceptual vocabulary in last dozens of years is one of the most precious sources. It is because cultural anthropology introduced in Poland so much into sociology and...

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