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In Poznań, Natalia Bloch, Katarzyna Chlewińska, Mariusz Filip, Elżbieta Goździak, and Izabela Kołbon helped me to feel at home as an anthropologist in Poland.Joanna Zalewska has been an interlocutor from the beginning of this project and I am grateful for her insights.I hope that this work might serve as a testament for those who so deeply wished to share their lives with others.iii My academic colleagues in Poland have been equally open, warm, and hospitable.I am grateful to the Institute of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology at Adam Mickiewicz University for providing me with an academic home during my time in Poznań, and especially to Michał Buchowski for enthusiastically welcoming me into the Polish anthropology community from my first trip to Poland in I thank the University of Lower Silesia in Wrocław for inviting me to participate in conferences and seminars, and especially Hana Červinková, for being an energetic advocate for my work.In Wrocław, Anna Wiatr and Edyta Zierkiewicz broadened my understanding of Polish society through their own research and activism.
I am grateful to fellow travelers Alexandra Gerber, Julie Jacoby, Laura Hilburn, and Jennifer Solheim; even though they were living in Warsaw, Prague, and Paris while I was in Wrocław and Poznań, they felt closer than the distance implies.
I am also grateful to my transcription assistants, Magdalena Michalak, Anna Wiatr, Julia Beger, and Bartłomiej Zgolus, who sensitively and patiently listened to hours of conversations, decoding recordings often made in less-than-ideal conditions.
Some of the people whose stories appear on these pages have passed away.
The time I have spent with all these friends has enriched my fieldwork by deepening my attachment to the places where I worked and teaching me what I did not know I needed to ask.
I am grateful for the financial support that has made this dissertation possible.From the beginning, conversations with Elizabeth Dunn helped me to find my place as an anthropologist in Poland and provided invaluable academic connections in Poland.