Accepted paper:

How "Poland entered Europe": motorway as a space of neoliberlism


Waldemar Kuligowski (Institute of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology)

Paper short abstract:

In last decade Poland becomes a place of a giant infrastructural construction projects. One of them was a construction of A2 motorway. On the one hand we can analyze it in a term of “modernization through the motorway” but on the another hand as a neoliberal “big trauma” for local communities.

Paper long abstract:

At the beginning of the 21st century Poland was a place of a giant infrastructural construction projects. One of them was a construction of A2 motorway, connecting Poznań and Warsaw with Polish-German border. It was a first private motorway in Poland and also the biggest European infrastructural project, realized in public-private partnership system. December 1st 2011 when the last section of A2 was opened could be consider as one of crucial event of politic-economic transformation. Obviously, the economic and cultural meanings of A2 are more multidimensional. I would like to focus on two levels: (1) official discourse created by investors and government, defining motorway in terms of economic and social development and definitive "the end" of Polish modernization; (2) answers of local communities, living and working along the new motorway. On the first level the construction of A2 could be seen as a Poland's final stage in joining a united Europe. It was also supposed to provide a strong impetus for the economic and social development of the regions where the motorway was being built. In this context I used the term "modernization through the motorway". On the second level I observed strong disappointment and sense of exclusion from participation in promised development and its benefits. Gathered data support the David Harvey's opinion: "The fundamental mission of neoliberal-state is to create a 'good business climate' (…). Public-private partnership are favored in which public sector bears all of the risk and the corporate sector reaps all of the profit".

panel Sui03
Clashing scales of infrastructural development