The paper deals with reflections on the transformations occurring within societal organisation upon the example of Poland, Bohemia and Rus' at the end of the tenth century and during the first decades of the eleventh century. Emphasis placed upon differences between the tribal and state system is accompanied by special attention focused on the changes to which both those systems were subjected, together with an attempt at defining particular development phases. The point of departure of the ensuing deliberations is a characterisation of social groups interested in systemic transformations. Among the catalysts determining the origin of such groups the author distinguishes economic factors relating to the possibility of obtaining new sources of revenue, and psychic factors connected with promotion within the hierarchy of prestige. In the latter domain, an essential role was played by the emergence of the collective consciousness of a group interested in systemic changes, based on an awareness of its distinction from other groups and the creation of a memory about its past. Fundamental differences between tribal and state organisation involved the significance and power of the executive authority enjoyed by the duke's armed squad. Originally, the authority of the ruler was extremely broad, but with time it became restrained by new social elites whose origin was highly differentiated: they were composed of persons who no longer saw perspectives for themselves within the old order as well as those tribal elders who were capable of adapting themselves to the new system. The state witnessed a new division of the social revenue, which favoured the duke and his entourage, thus producing an increasingly strong polarisation of the population. Another phenomenon involved a gradual transformation of the structures of the economic and political administration by creating new provinces (including Church ones) and stronghold|castle-town districts. We are unable to define precisely the onset of the transformation of tribal structures. Rapid changes affecting the character of the state, linked with a growing prominence of the lords, were discernible already during the mid-eleventh century.
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