Gatherers of central Poland: a field study


  • Tomasz Rakowski University of Warsaw



This paper concerns the way in which poor inhabitants of a rapidly industrialized terrain in central Poland gather and collect different sort of waste. Such phenomena as dwelling by using gathered scrap and any industrial waste serve as a field for an anthropological study. One the one hand the gathering is a certain strategy of surviving. On the other these collected things create a kind of a narrative - the objects anchor the gatherers experience, write down their biographies and reveal their relation to the local social and economic life.

Author Biography

Tomasz Rakowski, University of Warsaw

Tomasz Rakowski studied ethnology and cultural anthropology at the University of Warsaw (Poland), and at present he stands as a doctorate student at the Institute of Polish Culture at the University of Warsaw. He is about to finish his PhD dissertation, entitled: 'The anthropologist as a poverty visitor; Polish economic transition and the culture of powerlessness'. He has carried out fieldwork in the rapidly de-industrialised regions in Poland and in northern Mongolia (Hovsgol). He is also a medical doctor, graduated at the Medical University of Warsaw and working at the Emergency Unit. He can be contacted at tomaszrak(AT)