The clear sign of changes in socialist Poland of 1970s was the reopening of sociology departments, dismantled in the earlier, socialist phase. Staggering numbers of students, myself among them, flocked to analyze what type of society we lived in. Study there failed to provide me with insightful answers to that question, nor prepared me for such sociological exploration. For that I had to tap into Western Sociology, rendered by the Berkeley Sociology Department.
While in Berkeley, I was undergoing simultaneous adaptations -- to graduate studies, to marriage and double parenthood, to an immigrant life in the American society. In my first year there, I encountered a young Michael Burawoy who was intensely pondering on the very questions at the center of my interest'the nature of real existing socialism, its future and their theoretical implications for Marxism. Throughout many, long years he had tremendous patience, commitment and intellect to nurture my own answers to these questions. I was also very fortunate to learn doing sociology from Neil Smelser, David Matza, Bob Blauner, Vicky Bonnell Jerry Karabel and Neil Fligstein. These long years in the graduate program rewarded me with dear friendships, (many of them lasting), most especially, with Bob Freeland, Judy Auerbach, Terry Arendell, Gay Seidman, Steve Stoltenberg, Charlie Kurzman, Lynne Haney, Huyn Ok Park. They sustained me both emotionally and intellectually.
After graduation, I joined Sociology Department at Haverford College. Drawing on the training from Berkeley's Western Sociology, I now reach back to post-socialist Eastern Europe to explore how these systemic transformations modify our classical sociology's conceptions of the origin and nature of capitalism, property and agency.