The Socio-political Forms of Representing the Ethnic-national Borderland Communities in Upper Silesia

The problem area of borderland belongs to the most significant research categories in political science. The phenomenon fascinates succeeding generations of scholars from many different branches of science. It also makes a subject of wide-ranging discussions not merely within political science, which is only one of the disciplines of science taking part in the interdisciplinary scientific discourse that includes also geography, sociology, economy, culture anthropology or history. The present article attempts to present a voice in this large-scale discussion. The borderland is an object of reflection of political science due to the close relations with the category of border, independent of the accepted range of understanding of the term (broad or narrow). After all, not only is it contained in the very term itself as its root, constituting somehow its most fundamental part, but it is also a determinant of frames of supremacy of the state over the given territory, thus not as an institution of primarily political significance. The territory of Upper Silesia can safely be regarded as borderland. It is this region which makes the subject of this work, whose main goal is to answer the following questions: In what way do ethnic-national communities of the borderland represent their interests? In what way does making use of such political forms as participation of leaders of these communities in elections or their being in power locally influence their recognizance among the inhabitants of Upper Silesia? Looking for answers to the questions is possible solely through an analysis of the activity of the organizations which function in the region, as well as through an analysis of results of elections to local governments on all three levels of territorial self-government. For the needs of this article the attention has been focused on the following organizations representing individual national communities: – Silesian, i.e.: Ruch Autonomii Śląska (RAŚ), Związek Górnośląski (ZG), Związek Ludności Narodowości Śląskiej (ZLNOE); – Polish, i.e.: Związek Wypędzonych z Kresów Wschodnich RP, Polska-Wschód; – German, i.e.: Towarzystwo Społeczno-Kulturalne Niemców Województwa Śląskiego (TSKN) and organizations and election committees affiliated with TSKN.
Ganowicz, E. (2014). The Socio-political Forms of Representing the Ethnic-national Borderland Communities in Upper Silesia. In: W. Chlebda (ed.), Open Europe: Cultural Dialogue across Borders. Volume 2: Historical Collective Memory within Borderlands. Opole: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Opolskiego, pp. 37-56.