The Baltic Region

2013 Issue №4(18)

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The structure of political elite networks in the Republic of Poland in 1993—2013

DOI
10.5922/2079-8555-2013-4-9
Pages
95-104

Abstract

To identify the structure of network ties within Polish political elites; to study the features of network ties formation and the impact that both primary and labour socialisation periods and diaspora characteristics have on this process; to describe the structural features of the resultant network structures over different periods of time and analyse the structural dynamics of political elites for the purpose of forecasting major trends in the structural transformation of Polish political elites. In the course of the study, biographical data on the presidents, ministers, advisors, and party leaders of the Republic of Poland was collected and processed. The work follows the network analysis paradigm and identifies the dynamics of the key network parameters: distance, density, transitivity, and compactness. The author analyses the dynamics of representation in the structure of political territorial diaspora elites, business community members, and ‘moral politicians’. The article identifies two periods of formation of political party networks in Poland: the first period (1993—2007) saw a transition from rather weakly integrated systems to high density and cohesion networks as early as the second electoral cycle, after which a gradual decrease in the key indices of network integration was registered. A new peak of network cohesion and integration was reached in 2007—2011; however, the death of some key members of political elites in a plane crash resulted in a decrease in the network integration indices to the level of 2001—2005. On the whole, the network structure of Polish political elite is characterised by unstable dynamics relating to the crisis events of the past. However, it is established that the elites have a pronounced diaspora core and an unstable periphery; the share of businesspeople directly participating in political processes is decreasing, whereas ‘moral politicians’ usually take an active part in the formation of political elites.

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