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Jazz in Poland

Improvised Freedom


Igor Pietraszewski

This book studies the different roles that jazz played in Poland in the course of the 20 th century, from its implementation in the 1920s, through World War II to the Third Polish Republic. The author, sociologist and jazz musician, depicts how jazz was forbidden under Stalin, accepted and even supported in the Polish People’s Republic and then welcomed in the open market of the Third Republic. The discussion of jazz in this work covers several levels: political, symbolic, cultural, and economic. The main point of the presented analysis are changes within jazz music itself, within the community of jazz musicians and relations between the field of jazz and the field of politics.
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Chapter IV The modern audience of jazz


Chapter IV

The modern audience of jazz

Demographic and socio-cultural characteristics of the modern jazz audience have been shaped in the long and complex macro-structural processes: changes in the interaction between the society and authorities, social structures and education which manifest themselves both within territory-based communities and their functional or institutional structures. On a micro-level the changes included transformation of the individual habitus and small social groups. For some of these individuals, participation in a dimension of culture called world of jazz seems to have retained its value. The present study was to determine the social composition of the jazz audience and to verify whether there occur any intergenerational reproduction and continuity of the patterns of this participation.

There is no irrefutable empirical data which would make it possible to construct the image of jazz audience in consecutive historical periods. However, the available secondary sources such as memoirs, diaries, recorded declarations, and general sociological knowledge enabled me to draw a number of conclusions. Firstly, over time, the jazz audience have grown in numbers and crossed the borders of urban area. Secondly, the growing cultural capital of the newcomers in the field of jazz (resulting from common access to high and higher levels of education) has contributed to their competence. And thirdly, as in the interwar period, this audience still consist of people of higher, social and economic and cultural status.

Therefore, the question is, how the systemic and economic transformations changed this...

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