Cultural Ableism in Poland during the Iron Curtain Period Learned Helplessness and the Need for Reeducation

Main Article Content

Beata Borowska-Beszta
Katarzyna Wasilewska-Ostrowska

Abstract

The following article is written from the perspective of disability studies (Głodkowska, Pągowska 2017) and concentrates on cultural ableism as a dominant pattern present in Poland during the Iron Curtain (1945-1989). The authors are of the opinion that the conditions of forced functioning of the Polish society behind the Iron Curtain generated current and long-term effects formulating cultural ableism patterns. It should be pointed out that Polish academics (especially special pedagogues) mention the existence of transformation phenomena after the hardships of the past system, or sometimes are silent about the ideologisation, censorship and indoctrination of Polish society for 44 years, with Soviet concepts relating to disability. It happens also that the scholars cut off more or less strongly from the idea that in fact Soviet defectological thought was present or developed in special education. On the other hand, among the various long-term effects of being dependent on Soviet ideology and political supremacy, related to the construction of learned helplessness in many aspects of attitudes towards disability. The authors believe also that for some reason even in current Poland, speaking and thinking about disability corresponds with the cultural ableism effects and supreme slogan of Soviet defectology to "fit a man into the system" (Kalinnikova and Trygged 2014). The article was divided into sections in which the authors analyse the defectological concept of disability, normalization of cultural ableism towards the disabled people in times of the Iron Curtain. Then, there is discussion the issues of learned helplessness and the analysis of this phenomenon within the system and legal acts, and in the context of the segregation in the education system. The article ends with conclusions and implications for reeducation of normalized cultural ableism patterns.

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How to Cite
Borowska-Beszta, Beata, and Katarzyna Wasilewska-Ostrowska. 2019. “Cultural Ableism in Poland During the Iron Curtain Period”. International Journal of Psycho-Educational Sciences 8 (1), 6-21. https://www.journals.lapub.co.uk/index.php/IJPES/article/view/348.
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Articles
Author Biographies

Beata Borowska-Beszta, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Poland

Associate Professor, Faculty of Education Sciences
Head of Chair of Disability Studies

Katarzyna Wasilewska-Ostrowska, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Poland

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education Sciences, Chair of Social Work