Ethnic Relations in Poland After 1989

Upcoming Events Login
Print this Event Bookmark this Event


In the last three decades we have seen important changes in the area of ethnic relations in Poland. In general, ethnic minorities are becoming more and more active and better organized actors in the public scene. Additionally, the state policy has been stabilised, as the official frames of minority protection have been created.

The lecture will concentrate on two general perspectives: agency and structural one. The main aim is to present these both faces of ethnic relations. The former, an agency perspective, concerns the activities undertaken by minority groups which are focused on their identity and culture. The main argument developed in this part is that a gradual process of moving from culture to politics could be observed in Poland nowadays. The activities undertaken by minorities take a different shape and expression both on institutional and public, as well as more spontaneous and personal levels. The latter, structural perspective, underlines the aspect of power inscribed in minority-majority relations. To develop this issue, the concept of ethnic field will be introduced to show prospects and barriers imposed on these groups, especially by current legal regulations, as well as by the dominating national discourse. The presentation will touch on the problems concerning the so-called old minorities living in Poland, among them Ukrainians and Lemkos.

Katarzyna Warmińska-Zygmunt, PhD hab., is a socioligist, an associated professor at the Department of Sociology, Cracow University of Economics. Her main interest concentrates on ethnic relations in Poland, identity and politics in the context of minority groups, and anthropological practice. She has conducted fieldwork among Polish Tartars and Kashubs. The author of over fifty articles, and one book (“Polish Tartars. Religious and ethnic identity”) and the coeditor of three other books.


Olga Kesarchuk

Main Sponsor

Petro Jacyk Program for the Study of Ukraine


the Konstanty Reynert Chair in Polish History

John Yaremko Chair in Ukrainian Studies

Centre for Euopean, Russian, and Eurasian Studies

If you are attending a Munk School event and require accommodation(s), please email the event contact listed above to make appropriate arrangements.

Disclaimer: Please note that events posted on this website are considered to be public events – unless otherwise stated – and you are choosing to enter a space where your image and/or voice may be captured as part of event proceedings that may be made public as part of a broadcast, webcast, or publication (online and in print). We make every effort to ensure your personal information is kept and used in compliance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). If you have any questions please get in touch with our office at or 416-946-8900.

Newsletter Signup Sign up for the Munk School Newsletter

× Strict NO SPAM policy. We value your privacy, and will never share your contact info.