Accepted paper:

Polish free/highways: clash of policy and ideology of modernization with social practices


Agata Stanisz (Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań)

Paper short abstract:

In this paper it will be consider the following: a. the phenomenon of local grassroots lobbies connected with freeway and highway construction in contemporary Poland; b. the clash of policies and ideologies of modernization through infrastructural development from two perspectives – above and below.

Paper long abstract:

This paper concerns the processes of modernization connected with the development of road infrastructure in contemporary Poland. These processes will be perceived from the grassroots perspective. I propose an anthropological analysis based on the ethnographic multisite research that have been conducting since 2013 as part of the National Science Centre project "Moving modernizations. Influence of motorway A2 on local cultural landscapes". The analysis is also based on a more extensive, but still pilot, study on another recent road investment in Poland and its impact on the local economic strategies. Both projects are carried out in the Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology AMU in Poznan. I would like to show how social practices, including grassroots lobbies and various forms of resistance strategies, contribute to on-going modifications of investments and construction plans. I will base my analysis on a few examples: the struggle for slip roads on the A2 motorway, construction of the interconnection between S3 freeway and a small housing developments, changing the trajectory of S6 freeway, redesigning and extension of S8 freeway, and the struggle for S11 freeway instead of a standard bypass road. In other words, the main goal of this paper is to show what happens when ideologies and policies from above and from below clash or what local socio-cultural responses to major infrastructural investments are. Consequently, not only ideology and policy of modernization in the context of peripheral communities will be considered, but also the practical dimension of their everyday reality.

panel Sui03
Clashing scales of infrastructural development