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The internationalization of Polish civil society elites and their impact on development cooperation policy and practice

Galia Chimiak (Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland)

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy

ISSN: 0144-333X

Article publication date: 25 July 2020

Issue publication date: 26 May 2021

103

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to discuss the rise of internationalized civil society elites in Poland engaged in the fields of development cooperation, democratization assistance, humanitarian relief and global education in the framework of private international governance theory.

Design/methodology/approach

Qualitative sociological approach and the methodology of cross-case analysis are employed in this study of Polish internationalized civil society elites.

Findings

Evidence would be provided that whereas in some donor countries the gap between civil society elites engaged abroad and their locally active colleagues obstructs the travel of ideas, in Poland aid professionals freely move between sectors, which has allowed for better exchange of know-how and also enhanced their influence on policy-making. At the same time, the existing divides within internationalized civil society elites in Poland – between “democratizing” or “developmental”, between secular and religious and between progressive and conservative as of late – are indicative of the ongoing formation of these elites and of the heterogeneity of the community of aid professionals.

Social implications

In view of the worldwide fueling of populism by anti-elitist strategists, it is important to highlight the contribution of civil society elites to mainstreaming progressive humanitarian principles.

Originality/value

Whereas existing studies on elite formation in postsocialist countries like Poland examine political elites or the role of the intelligentsia for the fledgling middle class and local civil society, this paper focuses on the emergence of a stratum of Polish elites, which are both internationalized and engaged in the nonprofit sector.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Funding: Galia Chimiak gratefully acknowledge the financial support provided by the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences

Citation

Chimiak, G. (2021), "The internationalization of Polish civil society elites and their impact on development cooperation policy and practice", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 41 No. 5/6, pp. 748-761. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSSP-06-2020-0208

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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