Sofia Norling (2014)

Mot väst. Vetenskap, politik och transformation i Polen 1989-2011

Publishing house Södertörns högskola
Place of publication Huddinge
Page references 216
Series Södertörn Doctoral Dissertations, 1652-7399 ; 89
Language Swedish

ISBN: 978-91-86069-83-4

In 1989, Polish research policy underwent transformation in the context of a broader societal transition from state socialism to democracy. KBN, Komitet Badan Naukowych ("The State Committee for Scientific Research") was primarily responsible for the design of a new research policy and organization of the research system. In order to allay concerns about lingering state control, the Committee was to operate as a more or less autonomous body in relation to the workings of the Polish government. The Committee not only had responsibility for administering research grants, but also for research policy at the macro level to ensure academic freedom from political control. As a result the ambition of science policy was rather abruptly transformed from an instrumental view of science tied closely to societal progress under the Soviet regime to one recognising the intrinsic value of scientific knowledge. This transformed view of the role of science was not entirely new. It had strong roots in the political history and the structures and culture of the "old" research system, and more broadly among the Polish intelligentsia.

However, several contextual factors acted to undermine the heralded ambition of autonomous scientific governance. In the 1990s, economic conditions in Poland worsened. In response mobilisation of public resources for the development of the market economy became an urgent imperative as did planning and preparation for the Poland's accession to EU in 2004. These factors contributed to a yet another comprehensive reinterpretation and renegotiation of the role of science in Poland. The empirical material that forms the basis for the study consists of both KBN's periodical journal Sprawy Nauki that became the arena of science policy debate in the country and various governance documents from the study period. Using a social constructionist approach, this study analyses these transformational moments by focusing on how the dynamics of change found expression in the reinterpretations and renegotiations of the role of science in Polish research policy between 1989 and 2011.

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