Accepted paper:

Digitizing Poland: funding, infrastructure, and a society in transition

Authors:

Daria Voyloshnikova (University of Fribourg)

Paper short abstract:

The paper focuses on the symbolic role of infrastructural assets in moulding culture.

Paper long abstract:

Recently Poland has been living though a qualitatively new stage of its "catching-up" with the EU core countries. A financing avalanche came with the many-splendored thing of the EU funding, third country grants, and private investments. At the same time several multinationals took their chances to pursue cost-efficiency in a new European market in ways different from those of the wave of their predecessors (examined by Dunn 2004). Thus, varied infrastructure projects have developed under synergy and multiplication effects. The paper is based on the fieldwork in one of the Polish IT-services hub cities that grasped its moment of quasi-affluence and subsidized growth. The creation of corporate infrastructure here ultimately set a path-dependency for secondary infrastructure sprawl, guided local environmental policy choices, and defined skilled labour movement patterns leading to what is suggested to conceive of as a flowerbed immigration policy model. The analysis addresses the symbolic value of the materialized investments in how they enact (Soja 1999) and mediate cultural change (identity and belonging reconsideration, boundary-making, collective narrative fashioning or city branding). Given the velocity and steadiness of such change that sees grass-root monoculturalism combine with manifold exoticization at the backdrop of the hegemonization of the corporate narrative, the paper seeks to problematize adaptation to the new speeds of social transformations. Materiality is, therefore, explored through its societal effects and representations (Lefebvre 1974).

panel P016
Mobilizing materiality: theorizing the relationship between finance and infrastructure development