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Tom 20 (2008): Tom jubileuszowy

Nowa jakość – nowa nazwa? (o nazwie „inteligencja”)

  • Antonina Grybosiowa
1 grudnia 2008


New quality – new name? on the term inteligencja [intelligentsia]

The paper deals with the issue discussed in mass-media of giving a proper label to the social class of people educated after the breakthrough of the year 1945 and after the second breakthrough in the year 1989. First of all, the problem is if the term intelligentsia that has been in use since the end of the 19th century may still be used in spite of a radical change of external conditions. According to the author this group and its ethos are represented nowadays by the people in their 80ties and 90ties who were born and educated at the beginning of the 20th century who are faithful to this ethos, received at home. However, the author can understand that the traditional term is generally positively valued because of the other meaning of the same lexeme ‘cleverness, brightness’ that satisfies many Poles of the middle-aged generation. This is the generation that got its education, quite often the higher one, i.e. it gained the status of the former intelligentsia. Due to this reason with the restriction that we have to deal with a different quality, the term for the group may be maintained. However, it needs to be mentioned that it coexists with the terms transferred from the Western Europe middle class or upper-middle class. In the Western Europe there was no equivalent of the Polish and Russian intelligentsia. The third label elite / elites is not neutral in all the texts. It is often negatively valued. The flow of time will allow for an eventual crystallization of the winning term.