Ruchome modernizacje Agaty Stanisz i Waldemara Kuligowskiego to śmiała i nowatorska próba nakreślenia antropologii polskiej modernizacji. Dwoje autorów przygląda się autostradzie A2 i „starej dwójce” (DK92), drogom łączącym Polskę z Zachodem Europy. Przejście od DK92 do A2 stanowi centralny motyw projektu mającego materialnie zintegrować nasz kraj z Unią, a zarazem przyczynić się do postępu wewnętrznego. Analiza ekonomicznych, społecznych i symbolicznych aspektów tego przejścia ma wymiar uniwersalny bo pozwala zrekonstruować zasadnicze rysy dominującego w naszym kraju modelu modernizacji. Monografia autostrady A2 to znakomity klucz do zrozumienia źródeł jego sukcesów i porażek w pierwszym kilkunastu latach XXI wieku. Zderzenie wizji nowoczesności budowanej przez inwestycje infrastrukturalne (drogi, dworce, lotniska, stadiony) z aspiracjami i interesami społecznymi pozwala zrozumieć dlaczego sukcesy polskiej modernizacji mogą nie kłócić się z realnym doświadczeniem „Polski w ruinie”. Le Monde diplomatique
Niewiele jest w polskiej literaturze z dziedziny nauk społecznych publikacji tak konsekwentnie i uczciwie zatopionych w empirii, z której wyłania się polifonia głosów. To opowieść fascynująca, zniuansowana, wpisująca się w najlepsze wzory naukowego rzemiosła. Rozmach projektu, ale równocześnie pokora i rzetelność badawcza imponują. Bohaterki książki – Autostrada Wolności i tak zwana „stara dwójka”, czyli droga krajowa nr 92 – odsłaniają swoje tajemnice oddziałując na naszą wyobraźnie nie tylko poprzez tekst, ale fotografie i dźwięki. Publikacja ta inauguruje w doskonałym badawczym stylu polskie „road studies”, z pasja i radością. Czyta się jednym tchem. dr hab. Beata Kowalska, Instytut Socjologii UJ
Mobile modernizations. Between the Freedom Highway and the "old two" Summary
This book is an attempt to portray the events, places and people, as well as emotions and economy constituting the intrinsically invisible background. The focal point of all descriptions included herein is the A2 motorway - a concrete belt surrounded by rows, acoustic barriers and high fence. With its neighboring parking spaces, service centers, toll stations, intersecting bridges, overpasses and trestles. With its traffic lights, noise, pollution and traffic regulations. The motorway might be perceived as a material object but one should primarily view it as a co-inhabitant of the local universe with its people and animals, on the border of the Wielkopolskie and Lubuskie province in the western part of Poland. It is accompanied by the national route 92 which, before releasing the motorway for use, was the most crowded land route from Wielkopolska and central Poland to Germany. The uniform infrastructural landscape of A2 and the roadside spontaneity of DK92 are two opposite poles of a scene where the local variations of "mobile modernizations" emerged.
It is the place where, for over three years from 2013 to 2016, we carried out research concerning the project entitled: "Moving modernizations. The influence of A2 motorway on local cultural landscapes"1. Our efforts concentrated predominantly on speaking to people. However, not all that exists and has relevance can be put into words. With this in mind, we also observed automobile traffic, we looked at the customers of roadside pubs and bars, we read announcements placed on bus stops and posts, we archived thousands of Internet websites, studied police and fire department reports, we analyzed private and official chronicles stored in libraries, public administration and forestry district offices. We lived near the motorway moving form place to place due to the fact that the territory of our research stretched for over a hundred kilometers. In a zone dominated by modern mobility, it was, paradoxically, not easy to move from place to place and it forced us and our partners to use bicycles, taxis, hitchhike, benefit from the kindness of people we met and even to walk along the dangerous waysides. We tried to work in the spirit of multi-sited ethnography, following people, objects and problems. Many times we returned to the places we visited earlier, thus employing the jo-jo fieldwork mode of conducting research. Working with the data collected using an entire array of research techniques accepted in anthropology we portray places, people and processes, which, in our opinion, are a tale about the next phase of Poland's modernization process. Moreover, we focus on the authorities, economy, local businesses, privatization, old and new infrastructure, disappointments and traumas. We might even stipulate that the cultural history of designing, constructing and using the A2 - the first private motorway in Poland - might be treated as a metaphor of Poland in the first decades of the new millennium, a country schizophrenically divided between the mirages of "Highway of Freedom" and "Highway of Memory". Naturally, the mentioned portraits may be painted with different techniques, especially when it comes to the notion of mass portrayal generated in a specific cultural landscape, characterized by excess of objects belonging to the so-called "architecture of persuasion". A vivid example of this architecture is not the motorway itself (build thanks to the biggest loans ever taken for an infrastructure project in Poland) but the national road number 92, which used to fulfill the role of A2 motorway as the main communication corridor from Wielkopolska and Warsaw to Germany. It was also a trade and service alley many kilometers long. What is more, it is a place where war is waged for the attention of drivers and other traffic participants. In fact, the attention grabbing businesses include neon-lit night clubs, a hotel in the shape of a pyramid (biggest pyramid in Poland), petrol stations surrounded by fake palm trees, super-size plastic dinosaur figures, roadside zoological garden with a runway for ostriches, gigantic figure of Jesus Christ the King of the Universe (biggest such figure in the world at its completion date), dozens of flamboyant billboards and signs. This is the place where you can eat breakfast in "Nevada", go through "Las Vegas", in order to eat dinner in "Colorado" (having covered the distance from Poźrzadło to Trzciel). Cliford Geertz was right writing that "It is not history one is faced in, nor biography, but a confusion of histories, a swarm of biographies (…) What we can construct (…) are hindsight accounts of the connectedness of things that seem to have happened: pieces-together patternings, after the fact" (Geertz 1995: 2). On the symbolic road between Nevada and Colorado we heard a thousand voices which did not sum up to one coherent and truly adequate story about modernizing Poland by building a motorway and the consequences of that process. We strenuously attempted to construct a narrative, always ex post, but at the same time, "before the facts arrived", because the matter described in this paper is alive, fluctuating and surely has not reached its final shape and did not reveal all its meanings. In order not to be pinned down by only one style of portraying, we decided to employ different stylistic shades but also write independent of each other, being guided solely by our own perception of the researched topics. The Polish version of the book is an intertwining narration by both authors, written in 1st person (here, due to technical issues, we resigned from this strategy). Additionally, the identifying element of the individually written chapters is something as trivial as grammatical gender - we did not mark the text in any other way. This entails certain consequences. On one hand, we hope that thanks to such a stylistic instrument, the biography of A2 will turn out to be more multifaceted, diverse and complete. We got rid of a cautionary mode of writing and the perspective of one author. On the other hand, our message is surely less explicit and uniform. It must be pointed out, that our goal is not to formulate a new variant of "weak knowledge" in the spirit of Gianni Vattimo, however, following steps leading in different directions is a familiar experience and, having completed the research it is an experience that immediately comes to mind. As we have mentioned, the starting point of our research, their pretext, area it covered and point of reference was the A2 motorway, the last section of which was released for use on 1 December, 2011. The "modernization holiday" celebrated by investors and central authorities which spawned the orchestra piece entitled "Fanfares to A2" was, however, not commonly accepted by everyone. It quickly turned out that the infrastructure does not solve the most pressing problems of local communities, such as unemployment or lack of perspectives, which become all the more dominant since they are felt in the proximity of a giant investment. It is notable that the motorway received more often artistic rather than scientific recognition. This is more of a general tendency, not necessarily a particularly Polish phenomenon. This brings to mind the milestone of electronic music minimalism that was inspired by traveling on German motorways. The iconic work referred to above is the album "Autobahn" by the band Kraftwerk. Ralf Hütter, one of the leaders of the group, mentioned that he used the sound of the horn, humming of the engine, adjusting of the suspension and pressure in tires, as well as the sound used when wheels rolled onto the painted stripes. As far as the A2 is concerned, a disco-polo song has already been created about it (The Saturn Band), artistic film (Anna Raczyński), photography series (Mateusz Skóra), a regionalist from Frankfurt (Oder) organizes trips following the paths of the first Nazi investments along the stretch of land where the motorway is located today. The translator Filip Łobodziński created a Polish language rendition of Bob Dylan's hit song "Highway 61 Revisited" giving it the title: "Autostrada A2 na nowo" (Dylan 2017: 14-15). Although artists representing different genres saw the perception-impacting potential of the motorway, scientists remained generally inert - excluding groups of archeologists, who briskly conduced excavations, before the heavy equipment was used. It is hard to explain this phenomenon, because the emergence of the motorway not only radically changed the landscape but was also bound to bring - as we had anticipated - equally important changes in the life of the communities, which had to live with the motorway, sometimes viewing it as a blessing and sometimes living near it against the their will. Against this inertia - yet consistently with the paradigm of new mobility - we followed our interlocutors, situations and events. The area of our research ultimately encompassed the 170 km motorway connecting the Polish-German border in Słubice with Poznań. The most intensive terrain research were conducted around the area with towns of different sizes in terms of the number of inhabitants (from Świebodzin with 22 thousand inhabitants to Jarosławiec inhabited by around a dozen people), social structure, institutional and cultural setting and the quality of public infrastructure. Despite these differences, the specific roadside aesthetics and economy remains a connecting factor. The landscape of these mostly small villages is characterized by establishments catering to long distance transportation and tourist industries (motels, hotels, petrol stations, bars, restaurants, night-clubs) and service points, the operation of which revolves around auto-mobility (purchasing pallets, tractors or trailers, stations dealing with the repair of sat-nav, retreading, service stations, car washes), warehouses or shipping and logistical centers. The visual aspects of it all can hardly be associated with urban landscapes. Additionally, in the period when we conducted the research, this visual aspect was undergoing changes - small local shops started disappearing from the landscape of most towns. The same happened to wayside bars, petrol stations and even motels and hotels. Instead, large real estate "for sale" signs started to emerge, new service centers for long-distance transport were opened, new discount stores, so popular in Poland, were added to the scenery. The towns with motorway exits underwent discernable but qualitatively different changes. We witnessed the modernization of DK92 in Torzym, as well as other smaller municipal and poviat roads, creation and opening of small supermarkets, new petrol stations, construction of new single-family houses on the outskirts of some of the towns, expansion of the bicycle infrastructure in wooden areas, expansion of public communication along with the degradation of bus stops and changes in the traffic intensity on DK92 (mainly passenger car and bus traffic). From the very beginning it was clear that after the opening of a new section of the motorway and other global political and economic processes the examined area was affected by discernable, yet, different transformations. The towns which until recently were located near the main transit road connecting East and West, benefiting from automobile traffic resulting from modernization through expansion of mobility infrastructure and deferred post-transformative effects, were forced to invent new economic strategies and reevaluate the approach to locality in the new transit-centered setting. The "trauma" caused by these changes and the theoretical growth of the potential of mobility provoked by the "presence" of A2, made us treat the socio-economic processes, which we had the opportunity to observe, as equivocal - the regimes governing them, discourses and their manifestations as well as the manner of ascribing value, experiencing and utilizing modernization all turned out important for the understanding of the current socio-economic conditions in local Poland (Kuligowski, Stanisz 2015: 175-194). It needs to be emphasized that the research of dominant narratives regarding the A2 motorway and the socio-economic condition is, quite markedly, divided into two spheres. In fact, they might be described as the sphere of new poverty and the sphere of new entrepreneurship. These spheres emerged by accident in the course of the research we conducted when we were preparing logistics for group pilot research. We simply performed a division of the area into two parts along the S3 expressway, namely the "closer to the border part" or "western part" and the "closer to Poznań part" or "eastern" part, both of which turned out to be "in opposition" to each other. Agata Stanisz was coordinating the research in the western part between Świebodzin and Boczów - area representing a new entrepreneurship and frequently euphoric about the idea of motorway-induced modernization process. Waldemar Kuligowski was allocated the eastern part located between Bolewice and Myszęcin - area of new poverty and fatalism (Kuligowski, Stanisz 2015: 175-194). The research realized by us was programmed as multi-stage research. We used comparative methods, which allowed us to show many different bottom-up perspectives. All analyses, interpretations and theoretical statements are based on two types of data. Firstly, these are legacy sources, such as regional literature, official local government documents, reports and directives, acts and resolutions related with road infrastructure (published by European Commission, Ministry of Infrastructure and Construction, General Directorate for National Roads and Motorways, province authority offices, Poviat Starostys and local government offices), press articles, internet content (blogs, fanpages, municipal office websites), statistical publications, topographical and satellite maps, archive audio-visual materials (photography, video films, radio coverage, TV information). Secondly, we employed locally elicited sources which we called on-site knowledge: these include all types of materials collected by us and all field researchers in the course of site inspections, pilot research and in-depth studies employing the observation methods, ethnographic interviews, visual ethnography and audioetnography. At every stage of field research, we reached out to the representatives of different environments, including the representatives of local key figures and activists (we conducted talks with local governments, people engaged in the activities of non-governmental organizations, policemen, firemen, priests, forest district employees, teachers, library employees, culture centers, representatives of farmers' wives' associations, current and former village administrators), local businessmen (owner of hotels, bars, night clubs, shops, car parks, pallet purchasing center, car washes, people conducting different types of services including those selling garden dwarfs) and their employees (from petrol station directors to people running public toilets). Moreover, we reached out to people employed in the Motorway Maintenance Centers, tollbooths, motorway construction workers, truck and bus drivers, immigrant workers, tourists and "common" inhabitants of various towns. The use of different methods and research techniques (participant observation, non-participant observation, overt and non-overt observation, non-structured interviews and free conversations, field recording and photography) allowed us to:
conduct direct and indirect observation of links between the opening in 2011 of the A2 motorway on the Świecko-Nowy Tomyśl section and the socio-cultural changes in the towns located near the DK92, especially in the context of the broadly understood cultural landscape;
identification of the dynamics of bottom-up economic strategies undertaken by local communities;
revealing the internal connections and feedback loops between the national and international development or modernization ideologies and the actions (administrative, investment, lobbying) of local governments;
analysis of the influence of Polish modernization discourse of the recent years and "western orientation" on the discourse of local respectable key figures, entrepreneurs and the so-called "common inhabitants", eliciting narratives about localized modernizations from different perspectives: local respectable key figures, entrepreneurs, inhabitants, tourists and other social groups constantly flowing through the given area (e.g. tractor drivers, immigrants, road construction workers);
capturing the correlation between the technocratic and social modernization, as well as the changes of spatial social structures and the manner in which they are experienced by inhabitants of modernized areas.
It was necessary for us to conduct a selection of perspectives, reflections and narratives before presenting them herein. This necessity emerged due to the sheer amount of empirical material we gathered along with the several dozen researchers cooperating with us which translated into hours of conversations with hundreds of people of different walks of life, social statuses, life experiences, entrepreneurial proclivities and lifestyle, as well as due to multi-local and multi-seasonal and mobile manner of conducting research. We strived not to violate anybody's private property or well being and the information regarding the business activities described by us are publicly available, although completed with additional clarifications supplied by our interlocutors. In numerous cases our interlocutors can be recognized with ease, mainly do to the public offices they hold. The book does not provide any detailed information regarding them. We decided that the history of local economic strategies does not require any ventures into personal or family biographies. We selected fragments of conversations that, in our opinion, perfectly capture particular situations and events and we hope that they not come across as anecdotal. It was decided that our story be told in such a way, as to avoid overloading it with theory and scientific analyses detached from reality. Therefore, it is perhaps not an entirely scientific book. We wanted to present knowledge gathered in the field from a grassroots perspective and we sought to make the voices of our interlocutors heard alongside ours. It is them who know best what is the real influence of the A2 motorway on their life, they know what it is like to live and work in fleeting transitory conditions, adapt their economic endeavors to the changing political, economic, demographic and even ideological context; it is them who know what power is wielded by local governments and they experience the trickle-down effect of imposed top-to-bottom modernization discourse and enforcement of forever changing administrative regulations. We hope that thanks to this book, humanists will no longer be accused of indifference to the phenomena which in a complete, multilayered and sudden way influence the lives of individuals and groups. Naturally, the creation of this book would not be possible had it not been for the help of our partners, both volunteers and employees. Some of them dealt with the gathering of information, others decided to share it with us. Anthropology is a discipline based on cooperation, a fact which was made even more evident by the motorway studies. We would like to extend our thanks to everyone who cooperated with us, it is you who made our work fascinating. We, on the other hand, would like now to ensure that this work becomes useful. 1 Research funded by the National Center for Science within the grant "Moving modernizations. The influence of the A2 motorway on local cultural landscapes" NCN OPUS (number 218958).
Waldemar Kuligowski – profesor w Instytucie Etnologii i Antropologii Kulturowej UAM w Poznaniu. Kierownik Zakładu Studiów nad Kulturą Współczesną. Od 2013 roku przewodniczący Interdyscyplinarnego Zespołu ds. Narodowego Programu Rozwoju Humanistyki. Członek Komitetu Nauk o Kulturze PAN i Komitetu Nauk Etnologicznych PAN. Prowadził badania terenowe w Polsce, Niemczech, Hiszpanii, Albanii, Węgrzech, Serbii i Uzbekistanie. Redaktor naczelny kwartalnika „Czas Kultury”.
Agata Stanisz: dr, adiunkt w Zakładzie Studiów nad Kulturą Współczesną w Instytucie Etnologii i Antropologii Kulturowej oraz współprowadząca Pracowni Antropologii Audiowizualnej na UAM w Poznaniu. Autorka i redaktorka czterech książek. Badaczka terenowa i fieldrecordist, a także fotografka, bloggerka i rzeczniczka idei ruchu wolnej kultury. Jej zainteresowania badawcze obejmują: antropologię transportu towarowego i reżimów logistyki, road studies i mobilną etnografię; antropologię dźwięku.