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From Cotton and Smoke: Łódź - Industrial City and Discourses of Asynchronous Modernity 1897-1994

From Cotton and Smoke: Łódź - Industrial City and Discourses of Asynchronous Modernity 1897-1994

This book envisions Łódź, a city in present-day central Poland, the region’s textile industrial hub, to have been the capital of the Polish 19th century. Its history is a tale of struggle with modern change in Eastern Europe. The authors boldly challenge the romantic and noble-based Polish cultural imaginary, offering instead a revolutionary path to understanding confrontation with modernity in the region.

The book examines local press debates during four pivotal periods, each of which stimulated self-reflection on the idea of the modern city:

– Rapid industrial growth in the tsarist borderlands;

– State crafting after WWI;

– Socialist restructuring after 1945;

– Transition and deindustrialization after 1989.

Together these insights constitute a multi-faced portrait of 20th century urban experience beyond the metropolis, in different historical contexts.

This innovative, interdisciplinary work deftly integrates urban and cultural history, historical sociology and discourse research. It will be of great value to Polish and Jewish studies’ specialists, as well as those in the field of Eastern European and Slavic studies. The book also addresses core intellectual debates within urban studies, modernity studies and historical discourse analysis worldwide.

Acknowledgments 9

List of Tables 11

List of Illustrations 13

Agata Zysiak, Kamil Śmiechowski, Kaja Kaźmierska, Wiktor Marzec, Introduction 17

There Is a City in Europe 19

Translocal Modernity 21

Printed Modernity 24

Journey through a Century 27

The Structure and Content of the Modern Discourse 31

Agata Zysiak, Kamil Śmiechowski, Wiktor Marzec, The Beginnings: Entrance to the Industrial World 1897–1914 37

The Promised Land in the Mud 37

From Othering to Condemnation 45

Re-imaging the City 52

Harmonious Modernity and Urban Self-assertion 56

The Dream of a Proper Infrastructure 62

Calling for Institutions 66

Inventing Welfare 73

Educating the Masses 82

Envisioning Urban Citizenship 84

Ethnicizing the Economy 88

Forging Modernity – Conclusion 98

Kamil Piskała, The Interwar: Democratic Politics and Modern City between Two World Wars 1918–1923 101

The Decline of the “Polish Manchester” 101

The Years of War: the Economic Collapse and Political Liberalization 102

Democratic Politics and the Press in the Independent State 106

From Class Warfare to the Modernization Program 110

The Visions of a Metropolis and Municipal Socialism 118

Rhetorical Shifts 121

Against the “Philosophy of the Crowd” 128

National Capitalism 132

Antisemitism as a Social Critique 135

From Antisemitism to Political Mobilization 145

Class or Nation? 149

The Crisis of Modernization and European Civil War – Conclusion 153

Agata Zysiak, Kamil Piskała, The Postwar: Social Justice for the Proletarian City? 1945–1949 161

New Reality 161

New Worldwide Order 162

Postwar Cinderella 165

New Scope of Press Influence 170

Tempting Visions in Hard Times 176

Rhetoric of Appeasement 180

Patterns of Legitimization: Dark Past and Bright Future 184

Working Classes and Everyday Life 187

Towards a Functionalist City 192

Osiedle and beyond 195

Planning 200

Metropolitan Dreams and a Wake-up Call 206

From Modest Modernization to Socialist City – Conclusion 212

Kamil Śmiechowski, Jacek Burski, Transition: The Postindustrial Orphan in Neoliberal Poland 1989–1994 217

Re-inventing the City 217

The Socialist-Style American Dream 219

Shock and Helplessness 227

New Press and New Politics 232

The Market as a Principle of Social Organization 239

City in Crisis 242

Projects of Breaking Through 246

Bringing Capitalism back in – Conclusion 253

Agata Zysiak, Kaja Kaźmierska, Wiktor Marzec, A City Lost in Space in a Country Lost in Time – Conclusion 257

Struggling with the Modern Challenge 257

City from Cotton and Smoke 261

The Press is Back in Town 264

Narratives of Modernity 266

Methodological Appendix 271

Primary Sources Covered 275

Reference list 277

Index of Names 299

List of Contributors 307