Agata Zborowska – “The Life of Things in Post-War Poland (1944–1949) – their Origins, Practices, Meanings from the Perspective of Cultural Studies”
The purpose of the project is the analysis of the role and meaning of things in Poland between 1944 and 1956. This period of post-war scarcity was simultaneously a period of establishing a new economic order, in which consumption was often limited to the most basic goods. The research is thus an attempt at looking at things not in the situation of their general availability and abundance, but lack and constant concern about them. It will thus be an analysis not from the perspective of a developed capitalist system, but a centrally planned economy, which was supposed to eliminate overproduction, but instead consequently lead to shortages. The subject of the proposed research will include both practices connected with things and images of things in the first years after the war in Poland. What needs to be researched is how the two following areas functioned and in what relation they remained: top-down area, connected with strategies, politics and regulations at the central level, and bottom-up area, including emotions and tactics of individuals (Michel de Certeau 2011). The point of departure of the proposed project is the hypothesis that concentrating on things in the period of scarcity will allow for a unique analysis of their functioning and for valuations not possible in other circumstances.