This paper builds on the work of Slomczynski and Janicka (2005) and examines changes in the social structure in Poland, and the role of social classes on public opinion formation. The main hypothesis is that the divide between winners and losers crystallizes over time, as the social distance that separates these categories solidifies, and their reaction to economic and political transformation becomes increasingly divergent. Using data from the Polish panel survey POLPAN, conducted in 1988, 1993, 1998 and 2003, we find that the main changes in the class structure in Poland occurred between 1988 and 1993. Following 1993, the patterns of the post-communist social structure start to settle, becoming, by 2003, typical of a capitalist society. Results further show substantial and significant differences between the privileged and the disadvantaged in evaluation of socialism, as well as in their subjective assessment of changes in life, and active and passive support for the institution of elections.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.