RCIN and OZwRCIN projects


Title: Disco Polo from the Podhale Region: The Cultural Power Game


Małanicz-Przybylska, Maria

Date issued/created:


Resource type:



Ethnologia Polona 39 2018 (2019)


Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology Polish Academy of Sciences

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24 cm

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The Podhale Region, located at the foothills of the Tatra Mountains, is a special place in Poland. It is generally regarded as the region which has retained its oldest traditions. The inhabitants of the region –Górale – still speak the local dialect, build houses in a traditional style, wear traditional clothes; and they still play, sing and dance to traditional music. Much has been already written about the folk music of Podhale. However, rarely in the literature can one read about the less prestigious genre of music which is called Górale Disco Polo. ; Nowadays, the popularity of this music in the Podhale region is enormous. It can be heard all the time: in local shops, public transport, discos, and it is also the core of the soundtrack to indigenous wedding parties. You can hear it in thousands of Górale houses, mostly because Radio Alex – the most popular radio station in the Podhale region – plays it al the time. Radio Alex is also the institution responsible for the local development of Disco Polo. This banal, simple, uncomplicated music, characterised by the sound of lo-fi keyboards and bawdy texts, also relates strongly to local, Górale issues. It is not an export product. It is created exclusively for people from Podhale region, for Górale. ; During my ethnographical fieldwork, I noticed some interesting threads concerning Disco Polo music. Above all, I argue that the members of the Górale local elite treat Disco Polo as a distinctive element in the sense described by Pierre Bourdieu. In their view, this genre has the power to indicate who are ‘real’, ‘authentic’ Górale and who are not. Moreover, Disco Polo music is a bone of contention between members of local Górale elites and businessmen focused around Radio Alex. It is a tool in a battle for symbolic power. In the end it is worth asking whether Disco Polo can be termed a new local tradition.


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Ethnologia Polona



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oai:rcin.org.pl:122012 ; 0137-4079 ; doi:10.23858/EthP39.2018.006


IAiE PAN, call no. P 366 ; IAiE PAN, call no. P 367 ; IAiE PAN, call no. P 368 ; click here to follow the link




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Copyright-protected material. [CC BY-NC-ND 4.0] May be used within the scope specified in Creative Commons Attribution BY-NC-ND 4.0 license, full text available at: ; -

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Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences

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Library of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences



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Apr 16, 2021

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Apr 27, 2020

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