An elite in transition : an analysis of the higher administration of the region of Upper Silesia, Poland, 1990-1997
This thesis traces the administrative elite of the Upper Silesian region of Poland in the transition period of 1990-1997. It introduces the research by analysing the historical development in the higher administration of the region, up to the legacy of failure in the socialist era, specifically its excessive centralisation and vertical fragmentation. In 1990, despite its perceived ineffectiveness, administrative reform was introduced at the local level, while the two higher levels of district and region were left untouched, on the grounds that simultaneous reform on all three levels might destabilise the state. The thesis examines the administrative actors of the region, their attitudes, and the shifts in their policies over time, in two types of institution, first, the reformed local government and second, the regional-level voivodship office headed by voivode - which remains unreformed despite the wish for reform of the voivode himself and other members of the regional elite. Local-level reform established communes as elected self-governing units, bringing to an end their subordination to higher levels and leading to an increase in their administrative capacity and efficiency. At the regional level, the thesis focuses on the impact of two voivodes. First, the 'revolutionary' Wojciech Czech who proposed radical administrative reforms and wished to renew Silesian 'lost values'. The second is his 'Bourbon' successor, Ciszak, who wished to continue the socialist status quo in order to maintain the prominent position of the regional elite and the special status of the region built on its heavy industry. The thesis then examines various attempts to reform regional administration, most notably the so-called 'Regional Contract' between Katowice and Warsaw, signed in October 1995. The thesis concludes with a description of the changes which took place in the regional administration after the national election in 1997. This marked a watershed of the transition period, since administrative reform was thereafter conducted at both district and regional levels.