The Garwolin Poland: What we do not know about the culture of contemporary Poland. An Exercise in Interpretative Sociology: The neo-institutionalist perspective
The paper delivers a micro case study based on a brief note published on the website of the most influential daily newspaper in Poland. The note presents information from the prosecutor’s office about the situation, which lasted between 2006–2010 at a Customs Post in the 16 thousands inhabitants city of Garwolin (about 40miles south of the country’s capital city, Warsaw). All eight customs officers from the post had arranged a corruptive “firm” which on a regular basis successfully commanded informal fees from local businessmen, who had to deal with the obligatory custom services of the post. The paper attempts to explain, how such a “firm” could smoothly operate for a number of years within a social environment officially declared to be democratic, abiding by the law, built upon principles of free market and the free media as well. The paper’s explanatory enterprise invokes the notion of largely hidden principles of the contemporary Polish culture which, according to the analysis, provide a conducive milieu in which a corruptive arrangements can become institutionalised and escape the attention of institutions of formal and informal social control. Additionally certain structural factors referring to organizational culture of the Customs Service are brought into the picture.