The article deals with local connotations of the term 'state', such as were revealed in conversations with peasants in villages near the town of Nowy Targ (southern Poland, at the foot of the Tatra mountains) as well as at the market place in the same town. The local highlanders' images of the state, authority, power and politics resemble, to some extent, those described by ethnologists and sociologists as belonging to traditional folk culture. Taking such concurrence into consideration we can raise a question: how their present views are the continuation of the older ones? A short review of the results of sociological studies on the relationships between the socialist state (i.e. before 1989) and its citizens allows the author to perceive this as continuation, at least to some extent. Nevertheless it is not a completely exhaustive answer. People's attachment to traditional image of nation-state and its responsibilities, expressed in an emotional way, seems to get reinforced in the face of far-reaching technological, social and cultural changes. Due to the global character of the latter, the villagers, as Arjun Appandurai put it, pose a threat to the idea of the nation-state. All post-socialist countries have been affected by deep political and economic transformations. In common people's perception the changes often seem incomprehensible and unpredictable. That is why they breed anxiety which reinforces attachment to the old, well-known order familiarized through generations. As well as the old images of state and authority.
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