Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


In Poland in 1977, a group of intellectuals formed an independent educational enterprise under the name "Flying University." Interestingly, the original "Flying University" was organized by a group of radical professors nearly a century earlier, at a time when the Polish state disappeared from the political map of Europe. I was interested in seeing whether the two were the same, as their common name would suggest, or if they differed in any respect. I attempted to answer this question by focusing on the so-called universities' memberships, ideologies, and objectives.

I have followed the method of interpretive historical sociology (Skocpol, 1979) which allows a meaningful interpretation of events by stressing the importance of their respective historical setting. I have relied mostly on secondary sources and provided my own translation of the Polish material included in this study. Theoretically my study was informed by New Social Movements and Resource Mobilization paradigms.

I concluded that the two Flying Universities should be considered as distinct developments. Despite sharing in the ethos of Polish intelligentsia, and invoking both the philosophies of Polish Romanticism and so-called Warsaw Positivism, they differ significantly with respect to their specific aims, social origin, membership and others.