PSR 1(181)/2013

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Adriana Mica

From Diffusion to Translation and Back.

Disembedding–Re-embedding and Re-invention in Sociological Studies of Diffusion.

This paper reviews and parallels the thesis of disembedding-re-embedding of ideas, objects and practices in the translation paradigm (a la Scandinavian institutionalism) with the discussion of reinvention in the diffusion of innovations theory (as put forward by Everett M. Rogers). The main inquiry to be answered is the extent to which these two propositions might be taken as theoretical allomorphs of a generic treatment of the dialectics of circulation of ideas. The analysis of the two assumptions makes use of Djelic’s (2008) classification of three main framing types within sociological studies of diffusion: diffusion as epidemiology, diffusion as encounter with embeddedness, and diffusion as mediation and construction. The main input of the article is that it shows that the re-invention hypothesis links the diffusion of innovations theory with the diffusion as encounter with embeddedness model, while the disembedding-re-embedding of ideas perspective associates the translation paradigm with the diffusion as mediation and construction model. The paper further discusses the dynamics as well as the theoretical implications of these theoretical affinities for the Scandinavian translation stream.


Jan Domaradzki

Extra Medicinam Nulla Salus. Medicine as a Secular Religion

Ever since sociology emerged as a scientific discipline, its founding fathers have stressed that modernisation will result in secularisation. The belief in the ‚death of God’ as a sine qua non condition for social progress has also been prevalent during the past 100 years and has resulted in the popularity of the secularisation thesis. In contrast this paper argues that religion has not disappeared in the Western World but is being transformed. It is argued that modern medicine reflects the religious heritage of Western culture: its ideology, myths, dogmas, symbols, beliefs, rituals, practices, hopes and fears. Even more, it is a form of secular religion. The analysis is based on functional, phenomenological and cultural approaches toward religion. The paper focuses on three components of the religion of health: 1) its general structure; 2) the morality of health and 3) the Church of medicine.

Binay Kumar Pattnaik

Globalization, ICT Revolution in India and Socio-cultural Changes: Sociological Explorations

This paper tries to articulate some of the socio-cultural impacts of the globalization induced ICT [Information and Communication Technology] revolution in India from sociological view points. Having perceived the phenomenon within the framework of social stratification, the paper tries to deal with the, (i) emergence of a new class of capitalists and a new class of elite workforce that has come to be known as ICT/ knowledge workers, (along with its own sub-culture). (ii) Further, the paper tries to sociologically analyze the phenomenon of growing class consciousness among the knowledge workers in terms of being class in itself / class for itself as they displayed conscious resistance to unionize themselves. (iii) The paper also analyzes the phenomenon of embourgeoisement among the knowledge workers in terms of their cultural and social capitals. Thus, based on primary as well as secondary source observations, the paper is a study of India’s Techno-Coolie and Cyber-Coolie, as a new class of elite technical workforce, the basis of its identity formation and its emerging sub-culture.

Vadim Radaev

Does Competition Eliminate Social Ties?: The Case of the Russian Retail Market

Conventional economic theories assume that competing firms act independently. This theoretical assumption is applied to economic policies and anti-trust legislation. In contrast, economic sociology describes competition as a special type of social action that is oriented towards others. More specifically, to remain in the market, competing firms monitor one another and cooperate by establishing inter-organisational social ties. This paper demonstrates that increasing market pressures, including higher levels of competition and stronger bargaining power among exchange partners, does not disrupt social ties but promotes them. Data for the analysis were collected in 2007 from 501 managers of retail chains and their suppliers in five Russia’s cities (Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, and Tyumen). The sample includes firms of different sizes that operate in the food and electronics sectors of the consumer market.

Dominika Vergara Polanska

Gated Housing as a Reflection of Public–Private Divide: On the Popularity of Gated Communities

in Poland

The aim of this article is to suggest an explanatory set of factors to the popularity of gated housing in the Polish context. The explanation focuses on the divide between the public and the private sphere and encompasses economic, cultural and institutional explanations to the gating phenomenon. The empirical material consists of interviews, discourse analysis, a questionnaire, official reports and data, and legal regulation analysis. The Polish example display that both the remnants from the past and the contemporary ideals can be derived from the public-private divide. This divide has played a central role in the negotiations on urban space, the role of housing, and the identities and activities connected to housing and spatial issues since 1989. It is argued that the introduction of market economy followed by socioeconomic inequalities, has resulted in specific forms of creative strategies for individual actions among Poles and to the popularity of gated housing.

Małgorzata Haładewicz-Grzelak

Andrew Wilson

Mapping Skeuomorphic Artifacts among Polish Young Adults:ASemantic Differential Study

of Sculptures at the Licheń Pilgrimage Centre

Surprisingly little is known about the religious attitudes of young adults in Poland. Existing scholarship is usually written from a prescriptive view: how young people should behave or what they should do. Quantitive studies, where the researcher’s voice is not heard, but, rather, young people have a chance ‚to speak’ for themselves, appears to be lacking. This article aims to redress this gap to some extent by quantitatively studying young adults’ attitudes to sculptures erected in Poland’s largest modern pilgrimage venue (Licheń). The paper also aims to contribute to understanding how the sacred is negotiated in a contemporary Catholic pilgrimage venue.We show how respondents actively create the sacrum dimension and how it correlates with the axes of Potency / Activity / Evaluation. We posit a semantically amorphous structure for the sculptural objects at the Licheń centre and use a semantic differential technique to extract affectively oriented dimensions in attitudes towards these skeuomorphic objects. The results highlight important implications for the understanding of religion in post-modernity and of the phenomenon of modern mega-centers of religious worship. They also support the view of secularization and sacralization as two additive concomitant processes, and of ‚sacred’ / ‚profane’ as gradient, rather than binary features. SD has been widely used as an analytical tool in sociological research to measure metaphorical meaning and societal attitudes to brands and particular products (e.g. Osgood 1981; Minato 1983). However, it has rarely been applied to investigate the boundary between the sacred and the secular, or ways of objectifying the sacred (e.g. Muth‚n 1977). We explore this possibility, drawing on a dataset of 100 questionnaires administered to undergraduate students in a middle-sized town in Poland in October-December 2012.We hope our research will contribute to an understanding of the wider issue of what societal products like material objects can tell us about experiencing the sacred in contemporary society.

15th Polish Sociological Congress in Szczecin (Poland)

“What after the crisis?”