Place, Borderland, and Elective Affinities: Contemporary Polish Identity in Post-1945 Lviv, between "Minority" and "Subculture"

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Robert Pyrah

Wolfson College, University of Oxford

May 8, 2018 / 4.00 pm

Center for Urban History, Lviv

It is a study on the identity of present-day residents of Lviv who refer to themselves as Poles and who used to constitute most of the city’s population before 1945. Based on archives and oral histories (39 detailed interviews), the author concludes about the problematic nature of the notion of "ethnic minority" about this group. In this peculiar borderland area bearing the burden of the past, ethnicity is a relative category. Major links of group solidarity of respondents are about cultural practices and narratives of local patriotism. Instead of the category of "minority" the author suggests using a newly reconsidered notion of "subculture" that more adequately renders the peculiarity of local factors of group-making.

Robert Pyrah

PhD in history, member of faculty at Wolfson College at the University of Oxford, specialising in post-Habsburg identity politics in East-Central Europe from 1918, with special emphasis on Austria, Poland and Ukraine. Author of the book “The Burgtheater and Austrian Identity” (Oxford, 2007), co-editor of “Re-Contextualizing East Central European Identity” (Oxford, 2010). Currently finishing a co-edited volume “Parallel Cities: Wroclaw and Lviv in the XX Century” (co-editor with Jan Feller, in preparation).

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