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GSSR New Projects Seminar #3 March 16th. Join on Zoom

16 March 2021

The GSSR announces the third in our new series of seminars addressed both to doctoral students and academic staff. The seminars aim to bring together students and established researchers working in the same field, thus promoting closer interaction and future collaboration between them.

During the seminars doctoral students present for discussion well-advanced research projects, with experienced scholars from various academic centres in Poland and abroad invited to take the role of commentators.

The seminars take place on the Zoom platform and are open to all.

This next seminar is scheduled for March 16th  at 15:00 Warsaw time (CET) with Gabriel Klimont presenting the topic, “The Origins of Biopolitics in Poland? Transformations of Power over Vagabonds in 18th Century Warsaw”, and Marta Bucholc and Aleksandra Derra as commentators.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 880 0435 6887
Passcode: 585867


Further seminars are planned for March 30th at 16:00, and April 20th at 16:00.



15:00  Murat Kök – Chair of the seminar – Welcome address

15:05  Szymon Wróbel – Biopolitics in Poland: What could it be?

15:10  Gabriel Klimont – The Origins of Biopolitics in Poland? Transformations of Power over
Vagabonds in 18th Century Warsaw

15:40  Marta Bucholc (Warsaw University) – Commentator

15:55  Aleksandra Derra (Nicolaus Copernicus University In Toruń) – Commentator

16:10  Discussion

16:45  Closing remarks


Gabriel Klimont

The Origins of Biopolitics in Poland?

Transformations of Power over Vagabonds in 18th Century Warsaw


The aim of my paper is to critically examine the practices of the first Polish police institutions in the second half of the 18th century. I argue that the ongoing “fight against vagabonds” was highly ineffective (both at the logistical and economical level) and should be understood in biopolitical terms.

My main argument is based on both qualitative and statistical analysis of 90 interrogations from Warsaw (1787-1794).  The usage of biographical methods (D. Bertaux) enables to reconstruct the life-cycles and highly heterogeneous identities of the people usually referred to as a “social margin”. On the other hand, the statistical interpretation of the main correlations in my database (between age, gender, social origin, number of migrations and conflicts with law) allows me to draw a conclusion that the people caught by the early modern penal institutions in Poland did not differ significantly from a normal population. Furthermore, I will also briefly discuss the main institutional projects that aimed at using vagabonds as an asset (Warsaw’s prison and a couple of the manufactures supported by the state). I argue that these projects had a biopolitical character.

The paper will contribute to a more detailed understanding of the “modernization” process in the peripheral context, as my analysis will hopefully prove, that the Polish police institutions were not fighting against “social margin” – they were in fact actively producing it.



Previous seminars:

Seminar 2 March 3rd 2021

Philip Højme, Commentator Marcel Stoetzler (Bangor University, UK) Reading Butler as a Dialectical Thinker: Juxtaposing Butler with Adorno.


Seminar 1 February 17th 2021

Helen Grela, Commentator: Randall Auxier (Southern Illinois University)

The Lockean and Smithian Roots of Entitlement Theory: Labor, Money, and the Transition to the Free Market system



The New Projects Seminar is funded by Narodowe Centrum Badań i Rozwoju, the project “Humanities and Social Sciences for Society and Enterprise” (POWR.03.02.00-IP.08-I019/17). The project is co-financed by the European Union from the European Social Fund under the Operational Program Knowledge Education Development 2014 – 2020.


Phone: (+48) 22 828 80 09

Fax: (+48) 22 826 48 21

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