Agata Zysiak

is a historical sociologist, researching for RECET, Vienna University, Austria, and the University of Łódź in Poland. Her latest book, ‘Limiting Privilege: Upward Mobility Within Higher Education in Socialist Poland’ (2023), examines first-generation students entering academia and follows her book ‘Punkty za pochodzenie’ (Points for Social Origin, 2016). She is also an activist for the Topografie Association, an NGO gathering oral histories, and runs the social archive


Cover for: Bleaching blue collars

Socialist reform and modernization in post-WWII Poland opened the higher-education gate to underprivileged students. But early streaming to vocational school and societal expectations remained as barriers. What became of the working-class freshers who made it to the lofty heights of academia?