Silesia invented and imagined. The Silesian studies in the post-modern narrative
The presented article is a personal reflection on the condition of contemporary Silesian studies. Silesian studies are treated as an autonomous research area, related to the regional identity, but also to the interests, needs and intentions of three neighbouring states: Poland, Germany and Czech Republic. The essential element of this reflection is the evolution of identities in Upper Silesia, caused by the political transformation of Poland in the years 1989-2014. Their dynamics, determined by the activity of, earlier non-existent, German minority and autonomous movements, reflects the quality and scale of social transformation. The main thought of the article is a thesis, that in the period from 1989 to the present, most of opinions, beliefs and judgments within the Silesian studies have been devaluated. The effect of this process is a lack of clear narrative and conceptual framework. Hitherto existing labels stigmatizing the Silesian reality had lost its value, but at the same time, this empty space has not been filled in with new ’Silesian’ narratives. Thus, the future of Silesian studies will not get away from open and perspective discourse, both in empirical and methodological terms.
Upper Silesia; Opole Silesia; regionalism; borderland; multiculturalism; national identity; invented tradition