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Polish women’s movement : challenges to the development of a cohesive movement Novak, Marya Michaline

Abstract

The Polish women's movement has a long history and has undergone dramatic growth and change since Poland's transition to a market economy. Research in the early nineties identified the women's movement as being cohesive. Current data, based on in-depth interviews with the heads of women's organizations, reveals that the movement is not cohesive and is instead fragmented. An analysis of the lack of social cohesion will be based on Jane Jenson's five dimensions of cohesion and will determine what possibilities there are for the development of a cohesive women's movement in contemporary Polish society. In addition, Gramscian, Resource Mobilization and New Social Movement Theories will be compared and contrasted to show how political/cultural, economic/structural and social/psychological factors influenced the re-emergence of the women's movement at the time of the Solidarity movement, the period during which the women's movement separated from Solidarity, and the last part of the 1990s when efforts were made to develop a women's consciousness. These perspectives take into account the importance of issues of consciousness in the development of identity in the women's movement, and demonstrate how different factors affected the movement but with differing degrees of influence.

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