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“This is not the same city”: narratives of postsocialist spatial change

Martyna Sliwa (Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK)

Journal of Organizational Change Management

ISSN: 0953-4814

Article publication date: 14 October 2009




The purpose of this paper is to contribute to extant literature on socioeconomic transition in Central and Eastern Europe through using a spatial lens in order to address, at the level of individual experience, some of the changes that have affected Polish society post‐1989.


This paper adopts Taylor and Spicer's three‐fold conceptualisation of organizational space as a framework to present and discuss qualitative data collected through interviews.


This paper finds that socioeconomic restructuring has brought about changes in space conceived of as distance, as materialisation of power relations and as experience. In the narratives of research participants, present experience of space within the city they live and work in is related to their past experience and to their movement in the space. Different spaces are interconnected to form the individual's “mental map” of the city. The spatial dimension of postsocialist transition has an important impact upon the identities of individuals, and an analysis of narratives allows for gaining rich insights into the ambiguities and contradictions involved in evaluating its significance.

Research limitations/implications

An awareness of the link between the transformation of the city and social change contributes to the understanding of postsocialist transition.


By applying a spatial lens to analysis of the processes of social differentiation, as experienced at the micro‐level of individuals, this paper contributes to the literatures on organizational space and postsocialist transition.



Sliwa, M. (2009), "“This is not the same city”: narratives of postsocialist spatial change", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 22 No. 6, pp. 650-667.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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