9:00-9:10 Official Opening
Chair: Steve Reicher (University of St. Andrews, UK)
Towards the Round Table. Solidarity and communists on the road to the compromise of 1989
Jan Skórzyński (Collegium Civitas, Poland)
Solidarity established in August 1980 after the great wave of workers’ strikes represented a civil society in the making. The union peacefully challenged the communist party dictatorship. It designed a gradual, evolutionary path of democratization with the principle of non-violence. It continued that approach after the declaration of Martial Law in December 1981 by Jaruzelski government. The next decade in Poland was marked by Solidarity’s peaceful fight for the peoples right to representation and, on the other side, the communists defence of the monopoly of power. The failure of the restauration of the orthodox communist order was due to the persistent resistance of democratic opposition and its moderate programme, to the exhaustion of the economic model of socialism and to the progressing de-legitimisation of authorities. The social dialogue in Poland was finally undertaken because thousands of Solidarity activists had not given up on their democratic demands, creating a civil society, with hundreds of independent newspapers, secret trade union cells, self-study courses and artistic life. With independent self-organization and a programme of democratic evolution Solidarity created a credible alternative for so called real socialism. For this reason it was fought by the regime –and that is also why in the end it became a partner in a political contract. The economic collapse and the Gorbachev policy of non-intervention opened the doors to the gradual democratization agreed in the Round Table talks in 1989.
On the role of psychology in Roundtable Agreements
Janusz Reykowski (Polish Academy of Science) & Janusz Grzelak (Warsaw University and Academy of Special Education)
11:40 -12:10 Coffee break
Plenary session 1: Social identity perspective on leadership & conflict resolution
chair: Martijn van Zomeren (University of Amsterdam)
Part of the nation? Leadership, cooperation and the conditions of democracy in the roundtable proces
Steve Reicher (University of St. Andrews, UK)
I shall use this session to frame a discussion about three core issues as approached through a social identity perspective.
- First, what are the psychological conditions of democratic governance and to what extent do they depend upon framing opposition as ingroup rather than outgroup?
- What is the role of leadership in the framing and reframing of categories?
- How are leaders able to built trust with their opponents in the negotiation process without losing the trust of their base? Correspondingly, how they are able to mobilise their base in order to gain leverage in negotiations without letting that mobilisation destroy the possibility of compromise and agreement?
How victimhood affects interpretations of contemporary political events?
Michał Bilewicz, Maria Babinska (University of Warsaw, Poland)
This presentation looks at how societies adapt to the experience of victimization. We show that groups that suffer from victimization tend to interpret current political events as caused by conspiracies. Studies performed in two historically victimized countries (Poland and Ukraine) vs two countries that have been historical perpetrators and collonizers (Spain, UK) show that only in the historically victimized countries the sense of collective victimhood is related to conspiracy mentality. A recent study of this topic in Poland shows that people who consider their nation to be historically victimized would be more willing to use conspiracy theories to interpret political reality, including the Roundtable Aggreement. Based on that we suggest that national groups adapt to historical circumstances – if their historical experiences are full of victimization, they tend to interpret current political processes through lens of conspiracy theories.
13:40-14:40 Lunch break
Plenary session 2: Negotiations in the processes of reconciliation
Chair: Peter Krekó (ELTE University, Hungary)
The Needs-Based Model of Reconciliation: Basic Ideas and Relevance to the Roundtable Agreements
Nurit Shnabel (Tel Aviv University)
The talk will consist of two parts. First, I will define the (rather elusive) concept of reconciliation, and present the Needs-Based Model, a theoretical framework that aims to explain the social psychological dynamic between conflicting parties and identify ways to improve it. Second, I will borrow insights gained through research within the Needs-Based Model’s framework to explain the success of the Polish Roundtable Talks. In particular, I will highlight the importance of: (a) instrumental considerations (e.g., fear of public outburst) in increasing the conflicting parties’ motivation to engage in reconciliation efforts; (b) the successful exchange of power (provided by the PZPR) and moral acceptance (provided by Solidarity) as the mechanism underlying reconciliation; and (c) the importance of non-violent resistance by Solidarity in preventing “competitive victimhood,” a dynamic that characterizes dual conflicts (in which both parties transgress each other) and is known to have detrimental consequences for reconciliation.
Reconciliation as an Emotion Regulation Process
Sabina Čehajić-Clancy (Sarajevo School of Science and Technology)
In this talk I would like to discuss the following three questions. First, I would like to offer a new conceptual framework on reconciliation as an emotion regulation process. In this regard, I will argue that successful and sustainable restoration of intergroup relations in any post(conflict) society requires regulation of negative intergroup emotions such as anger or fear into more positive emotional states. Second, I would like to briefly outline some important socio-psychological interventions which can target specific and important negative intergroup emotions and as such facilitate reconciliation processes. And finally, I plan to briefly discuss underlying psychological processes of such interventions in relation to social identity changes.
16.10-16.40 Coffee break
16.40 – 18.10
Plenary session 3: Moving collective action to negotiation – online and offline
Chairs: Mirek Kofta, Marta Witkowska
Moving collective action to negotiation – online and offline
Martijn van Zomeren (University of Amsterdam), Anna Kende (Eötvös Loránd University), & Paulina Górska (University of Warsaw)
The mixed perception of the Polish Roundtable suggests that people value more radical changes while opposing the violent ways of achieving it. The key question of our presentation is whether achieving social change through negotiations remains a model for today, and whether reaching it would still be possible or desirable. We highlight some of the general dilemmas connected to social change goals and the means to achieve them. First, negotiations behind closed doors, of course, still play a role in democratic politics. However, exerting influence on politics may have become more direct, and people can nowadays be mobilized through their existing social networks without any central organization. As such, the top-down process of social change has been largely replaced by bottom-up influence. Second, we discuss how social change goals may change in the course of the actions, and sometimes lead to paradoxical results, such as in the case of the Italian Five-Star Movement. Taken together, we raise the question whether social media, while ultimately more democratic and egalitarian, can undermine traditional democratic institutions.