Attitudes Towards Places Associated With Communism

The Role of Place Attachment and Interest in Place History

Authors

  • Monika Prusik
  • Tomasz Oleksy
  • Anna Wnuk
  • Agnieszka Maria Kula

Abstract



The aim of the study was to identify attitudes towards places commonly associated with the communist period of the Polish People’s Republic (PPR), and to investigate the role of the relationship between these attitudes and place attachment, interest in a city’s history and political orientation. This online study used a convenience sample of residents of the cities of Warsaw, Toruń and Poznań, N = 199. The exploratory factor analysis revealed that attitudes towards PPR places fall into two groups: those for the preservation of PPR places, and those for their removal. Moreover, this distinction was associated with, on the one hand, the preservation of ideologically free places (IFPs) such as cafes, milky bars, cinemas, and places that serve cultural functions. On the other, it was associated with the removal of ideologically contaminated places (ICPs) such as, e.g., monuments or street names reminiscent of awkward historical and political events. The inclination to remove ICPs was not related to place attachment but was positively related to interest in a city’s history; willingness to preserve IFPs, on the other hand, was correlated with higher traditional and active place attachment and with higher interest in a city’s history. Interest in a city’s history played a significant mediating role in this relationship. On a more general level, right-wing preferences coincided with being in favor of removing ICPs. Overall, the study adds to the literature by showing how place attachment is related to attitudes towards controversial historic places.