Herbert Blumer on the Interactional Order of the Democratic Society
The article draws attention to the potential significance of Herbert Blumer’s heritage in the sociological analysis of the issues with which modern democracy has to deal. It aims to strengthen that current of interpretation pertaining to symbolic interactionism which opposes the widespread tendency to consider it as a microsociological orientation. The article emphasizes medium-range phenomena-in other words, mesosociological problems of organizations, interest groups and social movements. Blumer helped George H. Mead’s ideas, including the basic concept of the self, find a fuller application in sociology. To properly evaluate Blumer’s achievements, one should consider him as a researcher of the changes occurring in modern societies in general. He emphasized the existence of a constant process of defining and redefining social institutions, and thus, the role of civic agency-in other words, ultimately, of the reflexive self. In Blumer’s conceptions of symbolic interaction, joint action and negotiated order one may see an elaboration of the interactional order of the democratic society.
Toward an Interactionist Sociology of Ethnic Relations
This text has three parts. In the first, I discuss the presence and absence of the concept of „social relations” in social sciences and focus on „ethnic relations.” Then, I analyse the ways in which the theoretical problems of ethnic relations are conceptualized in sociology. Finally, I offer my own suggestions. Why is it worth dealing with concepts of interactions and social relations at all, especially with respect to macrosocial phenomena (such as „ethnic issues”)? First, it seems to me that these are some of sociology’s most basic concepts. Second, the relational and interactionist current in contemporary sociology offers some important inspirations relating to the analysis of macrocultural phenomena. I suggest to follow Randall Collins’ ideas and seek the „microfoundations” of macrosocial phenomena in the chains of interaction rituals present at the foundation of society as such. I intend to avoid such a sociological approach to ethnicity which calls all ethnic phenomena „ethnic relations” but in fact deals mainly with individual groups, types of structured ethnic order or attitudes. Actually, ethnic order rests on the interactionist understanding of the social relations between ethnic actors. It is these relations which dynamize social order.
JUAN CARLOS CHECA OLMOS
ÁNGELES ARJONA GARRIDO
Anti-Immigrant Feeling in Spain
In just a few decades, with the arrival of immigrants from many different places, Spain has become a multi-ethnic society. Facing these increased streams has been a huge challenge to Spanish society. This article examines the evolution of feelings toward immigration in Spain (2000-2007) with data from a country-wide survey. The results show increasing hostility toward immigrants. The variables that contribute most to explaining this phenomenon are competition and threat, both individual (salaries, jobs or welfare resources) and group (national identity).
Crossing Boundaries of Self: Multidimensionality
of Ethnic Belongings and Negotiating Identities
Among Polish Migrants in Belfast, Northern Ireland
This paper discusses multidimensional aspects of identity formation in a European context, referring to Polish migrants’ experiences of migration in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Its aim is to understand the dynamics inherent in the process of identity construction by exploring the incidence of multiple ethnic identities among Polish nationals. To this end, following theoretical consideration on a sense of belonging and boundary making mechanisms in contemporary societies, it examines the incidence of Polish, local, European and cosmopolitan identities among migrants. It then points out at contradictions between different layers of belonging and explores the situations in which they occur. The paper draws on the findings of a one year long ethnographic fieldwork and uses the results of participant observation and in-depth interviews.
Stone, Cross and Mask: Searching for Language of Commemoration
of the Gulag in the Russian Federation
This article examines the commemoration practices of the Gulag in the Russian Federation. On the basis of qualitative data collected during a field research carried out in a few former lager districts (the Solovetsky Islands, Komi Republic, Perm region and Kolyma), I reconstruct a way the history of Soviet repressions was uncovered from oblivion and the process of Gulag commemoration began. Starting from the assumption that the Gulag memory was not started to working through in Russia till the end of 1980s, and that the last stage of Perestroika had a crucial influence on a way the repression past is nowadays commemorated in the country, I examine several memory projects erected in that time and show how the process of reworking the Gulag experience and presenting it in a narrative form occurred. On a base of the first exhibition dedicated to the Gulag past, SLON-Solovetsky Lager Osobogo Naznachenya, (the Solovetsky Special Purpose Camp) I reconstruct a process of rewriting history and describe how the repressive past was perceived at the end of the 1980s. In turn, analyses of meaning and social function of the monuments commemorating Gulag show that at the beginning there was a diversity of the past interpretations and that the processes of the transformation of the soft into the hard memory proceed quite quickly. However, since the mid-1990 a comeback to the traditional, well recognizable model of culture is visible. Thus, the memory of Gulag supported by the Russian Orthodox Church slowly dominates the social perception of the repressive past.
The Usability of Scenario Studies:
the Case of the EUruralis from the Users’ Perspective
Scenario studies are seen as useful tools to support planning and decision making processes because they provide integrated projections of future trends and developments and their impacts on land use. They play an important role in facilitating cooperation and interaction at the science policy interface. This article contributes to new understandings of the role of science-based tools and instruments such as scenario studies at the science-policy interface. It uses a theoretical framework that connects the criteria of credibility, salience and legitimacy to the concepts of coproduction and boundary object to analyze the EUruralis project; a scenario study that addresses the future of agriculture and rural development in Europe. The findings demonstrate that aspects related to legitimacy contributed to the capacity of the EUruralis to function as a boundary object between the scientists and policymakers involved. They also show how cooperation in the EUruralis project resulted in joint learning and reflection. The article concludes by discussing the role of the EUruralis as a boundary object and connecting the findings to the concept of coproduction.
Facebook as a Catalyst for Beneficial Participation in Culture
The article considers how Facebook service impacts its users’ patterns of experiencing and cocreating culture. The discussion is based on the results of the 2010 research regarding Facebook activity of Warsaw cultural institutions conducted by the authors. The text attempts to answer the question whether Facebook has a positive effect on the cultural life of a specific local community and whether Facebook activity can be interpreted as beneficial participation in culture, as defined by Andrzej Tyszka.
Grażyna Skąpska, From “Civil Society” to “Europe”. A Sociological Study on
Constitutionalism after Communism.
International Studies in Sociology and Social Anthropology, Volume 118.
Leiden: Brill, 2011, pp. 253.
Sharon Gewirtz, Alan Cribb, Understanding Education. A Sociological Perspective,
Cambridge: Polity Press UK; Malden: Polity Press, USA, 2009, pp. 240.
Warsaw Studies in Culture and Society
Book series edited by Jacek Wasilewski
Magdalena Góra/Zdzisław Mach/
Katarzyna Zielińska (eds.)
Collective Identity and Democracy
in the Enlarging Europe
Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New
York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien: PETER LANG
Internationaler Verlag der Wissenschaften, 2012,
The Modernization of Poland]
Edited by Witold Morawski
Warszawa: Wolters Kluwer Polska-Oficyna, 2012.