The aim of this article is to examine the reasons behind the growing popularity of gated communities in Poland by applying cultural, institutional and economic explanations in the Polish context. The empirical material consists of interviews, newspaper articles, legal acts concerning housing, official documents and a questionnaire. The divide between the public and private spheres is central to the explanatory model, and it is argued that it is this that has played a central role in the emergence and popularity of gated forms of housing in Poland. The introduction of a market economy and subsequent socio-economic inequalities has resulted in specific forms of individual strategies regarding housing preferences. It is suggested here that this specific form of individualism, connected with institutional shortcomings, cultural legacies and the present housing market, is reflected in the enclosed and private living spaces of today’s Poles.
Since the year 2000, the Russian government has been seeking to promote a new attitude to Soviet history – one that has been duly noted by commentators and researchers. This article argues that the conventional analysis offers a one-sided view of Putin’s history politics. The core argument is that the Kremlin has sought to build consensus in a society that is deeply divided over its own history. In doing so, the Kremlin borrows from both sides of society’s divide and is creating a new narrative that can constitute the basis for a shared understanding of the past. The problem is that the Kremlin’s narrative simultaneously includes mutually exclusive understandings of Russian history and conflicting values, giving it an incoherent or dual nature. This kind of narrative is hardly an effective instrument towards achieving a genuine and durable consensus. Indeed, the irony is that the Kremlin’s attempt to create a single historical narrative that can generate societal consensus merely perpetuates the very division that the Russian leadership seeks to overcome.
In 2004 and 2007 a number of formerly communist countries gained membership of the European Union (EU). This article explores some of the consequences that EU membership has had for ageing farmers in rural Lithuania who have dominated the agricultural sector since independence was regained in 1990. My empirical research from two Lithuanian villages shows ageing farmers ending up as a new class of marginalized citizen as a result of the massive restructuring of the agricultural sector. In effect, they reproduce the notorious Homo Sovieticus. They respond by implementing EU laws in correspondence with their abilities and norms, rather than in accordance with EU law. These practical, mostly unintended, outcomes of EU law are coined EUropeanization. Thus, processes aimed at greater harmonization and compatibility between the old and the new member states inevitably become flawed because their implementation largely depends on the local adjustment of law. I argue that it is often those who are furthest from the decision-making – people who might not even recognize themselves as part of the current changes – who have to deal with the worst consequences from the long process of restructuring after the break-up of the Soviet Union.