Closing the Gap. Digital divide and digital cultures in Poland: an introduction

In his seminal book Diffusion of Innovations (New York: Free Press, 2003), first published in 1962, Everett Rogers admits that “the structure of a social system can facilitate or impede the diffusion of innovations in the system”. This is especially true today, as new technologies, new thought paradigms and new models of communication are continuously disrupting and recasting our lives, whilst putting huge pressure on the underlying social structures. The penetration speed of innovation is thus a function of the amount of inertia such structures are inherently endowed with, even though it was the collapse of solid societies, as Bauman would call them, that first demanded for a global re-editing of traditional models.

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A tale of two cities: Nowa Huta

Nowa Huta – so many things.

From a merely cadastral standpoint, Nowa Huta is the easternmost district of Krakow, the XVIII. It is, also, one of the few places in Poland inhabited without gaps since the Neolithic Era; subsequently, the site is home to a large Celtic outpost as well as to the country’s oldest Slavic settlement. Later on, it appears to be linked with the city’s eponymous founder, Krakus, and with his daughter, whose mortal spoils rest underneath the Wanda Mound (Kopiec Wandy), a few kilometres away [1].

Still afterwards, Nowa Huta becomes grange to the Cistercian monastery of Mogiła. In due course the outskirts of the yet-to-be-recognised district are included in the border between territories controlled by Austria-Hungary and Russia. After 1945, the socialist regime decides to erect a satellite city combined with a vast industrial complex, in part to attract people from the countryside and to abash the resistance of the city’s middle class.

In Polish, Nowa Huta means “New Steelworks”.

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