Letter from the Editor
Dear Readers of the Polish Sociological Review,
Since January 2015, I have honor and pleasure to serve as an Editor-in-Chief of the
Polish Sociological Review. I am very grateful to those of you who are continuously interested in our journal and in Polish sociology, as both the readers and the members of the past Editorial Board. Special gratitude has to be expressed to Joanna Kurczewska who led Polish Sociological Review for many years and devoted a lot of her time and effort to assure its high quality and good reputation.
My tasks will be to strengthen an international character of the journal and to maintain the balance between theoretical and empirical articles, while preferring those combining these two approaches. Presenting Polish sociology to foreign readers remains of course to be an important role of the PSR but foreign authors are cordially invited as well.
I strongly appeal to all of you not only to read our journal and to recommend it to students and colleagues, but also to submit your articles for publication. In order to increase the number of published empirical analyses, we indent to add a new section of “Research notes,” in which shorter and simpler articles could be published alongside full-bodied ones.
I would immensely appreciate your contribution as the authors and also your comments and suggestions concerning the journal in general as well as the particular articles published in it. The discussion articles will be especially welcome. We can together make Polish Sociological Review an interesting and good journal.
Krzysztof Zagórski Warsaw, March 2015
From Sociological Vacuum to Horror Vacui:
How Stefan Nowak’s Thesis Is Used in Analyses of Polish Society
Abstract: In the late 1970s, Stefan Nowak posited the existence of a sociological vacuum in Poland, and his concept became one of the most widely employed in studies of this society. The author of the present article uses an inventory of publications citing Nowak’s perspective to analyse the manner in which this key concept has been implemented in sociological explanations. According to his findings, the idea appears to be most often used in accounts of the 1980s “Solidarność” movement, in reference to civil society and social capital, and in treatments of democracy in Poland. The validity of Nowak’s idea is not usually questioned, and scholars referring to his thesis frequently modify the initial argument by shifting its meaning and ignoring its national identity element. Furthermore, in the analyzed works, the authors point to a sociological vacuum as an obstacle to the desired development of civil society, social capital, and democracy in Poland. This is usually done without deeper theoretical or empirical discussion, and in an essayistic and dramatized fashion. Such an anxiety about the lack of necessary ingredients in Polish society is described as horror vacui—i.e., fear of empty space.
Keywords: Sociological vacuum, Stefan Nowak, horror vacui, “Solidarność”, civil society, social capital, condition of democracy.
Information and Fears around Decision Making
International Migration from Hungary
Abstract: Social distances are shortening in contemporary European Union by easier and cheaper travelling, increasing language skills and as a consequence, migration rates are growing. On the other hand, despite the spreading of virtual communities, participation and activity in these communities has become more and more common in our everyday life but civic publicity is still not a part of the discourse thus it cannot have any influence on migration related decisions. Moreover, virtual communities cannot give real integrity in every aspect. We researched migration outflows from Hungary with university communities to find out whether a personal connection or a stronger cohesion could result a shift in influential mechanism of information on human attitudes. Chain migration is motivated by many reasons and in our viewpoint gathering more information about possibilities and other circumstances of migration is not enough to extend the limits on emotional level. These fears would mean the limitation of migration potential and the possibility of further growth in the future.
Keywords: virtual communities, network migration, international migration, chain migration, community values.
Does Adult Children Migration
Lower the Level of Intergenerational Solidarity?
Evidence from Lithuanian Transnational Families
Abstract: Within the context of high filial norms and a limited formal care system for the elderly in Lithuania the paper examines the effects of adult children migration on intergenerational solidarity from elderly parents left behind perspective. More specifically, we analyze if changed geographic proximity as a result of adult children migration has crucial effects on the associational, affectual and functional dimensions of solidarity or it is (also) being predicted by other individual and familial factors. The analysis is based on a quantitative survey of elderly parents (N=305) with at least one migrant child. The results suggest that even if adult children migration has some negative impact for associational solidarity (and to a certain extent, for affectual one), in a way it is being compensated with positive impact on functional solidarity in terms of financial support. While greater geographic proximity as a result of adult children migration is the crucial factor of associational solidarity and determines some forms of functional solidarity, the affectual dimension of solidarity is being shaped by other familial and individual predictors.
Keywords: migration, elderly parents, intergenerational solidarity, predictors of intergenerational solidarity.
Biographical Pathways of Roots Migration:
the Case of Students of Polish Ancestry from the Post-Soviet Area
Abstract: The paper presents, firstly, the phenomenon of internationalisation of Polish higher education, especially the structural conditions of pursuing studies by people of Polish origin from the post-Soviet successor states. Secondly, the article investigates biographical implications of students’ roots migration to the ancestral homeland. It concentrates on the individual determinants of their mobility, including sociocultural background, role of the family and local community, as well as national ideologies and images of Poland and Polishness they have been exposed to in their countries of birth and upon relocation to Poland. Empirical data covers autobiographical narrative interviews with the examined students.
Keywords: educational mobility, roots migration, diaspora, Poland, USSR, narrative.
The DSM as a Moving Laboratory:
The Role of the Diagnostic Manual in the Stabilizing
and Objectivization of Pharmaceutical Reason
Abstract: The aim of this article is to trace the paradigm shift that occurred in psychiatry in the 1970s. This change had a key impact on the social perception of health and illness. The theoretical framework of the text is actor-network theory (ANT) and science and technology studies (STS), which deal with the influence of technoscience on society. Using the model of laboratory practice produced within their framework, I attempt to show how the creation of a new diagnostic manual resembled constructing an innovation in a special environment for the purpose of achieving replicable results and controlling the invention’s operation outside the context of creation. In the second part of the text I will deal with the new medical rationale, defining the concept of ‘pharmaceutical reason’ and linking its model of human health with the process of biomedicalization. At the end I cite research referring to the use of the diagnostic manual in medical practice.
Keywords: actor-network theory (ANT), science and technology studies (STS),medical sociology, standards, biomedicalization, pharmaceutical reason.
Lay Constructions of Genetic Risk.
A Case-study of the Polish Society of Huntington’s Disease
Abstract: This article explores the lay constructions of genetic risk, the right not to know and the obligation to do a genetic test, know the risk and share genetic information with others. The study was carried out on 27 members of the Polish Society of Huntington’s Disease. I describe their understanding of bioethics and their arguments for and against the right not to know. I argue that lay perceptions of the risk, rights and obligations mentioned above are shaped not only by the type of genetic disease involved but also depend on the social group to which it poses a threat and/or costs. Consequently, such obligations are framed toward: future generations, family members, society, the State and oneself. I also argue that genetics is turning families into bioethicists who, as lay experts, become one of the key players in the biomedicalization of society and bioethicization of genetic discourse.
Keywords: genetic risk, lay experts, right not to know, responsibility, the Polish Society of Huntington’s Disease.