The problem of tradition and modernity is one of the key themes of modern Polish history. It was caused by the strong and persistent dominance of political culture, which established itself on the basis of the norms of the noble society. In this form and for a long time it loomed over other opportunities for development as a possible inspiration and binding framework. A high frequency of political crises and a weak modernising balance contributed to the fact that these models remained functional well into the 20th century. There bearers were the political and cultural elite (inteligencja), which formed as informal structures, however, they operated in formal institutional frameworks. Owing to their origins, they prevented, to a certain degree, the process of modernisation, which infringed on their historical identity. Therefore, other social groups benefited from this process, which made it difficult for these groups to enter politics without direct ties to the elite or mental dependence on their models. Politics thus partially paradoxically contradicted modernisation because they were two wholes with different internal constructs.
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