PSR 1(193)2016



Towards a Dialogical Sociology

Most sociological action theories and typologies were not able to establish interdependencies and sequences between different types of action. They also ignored the existential meaning of the choices the typologies implicitly involved. The imaginative dispositions and the ability to critically examine one’s own presuppositions are shown to constitute action as a future-oriented, self-expressing, and interpersonal phenomenon. Both dimensions may be found in the Socratic dialogical attitude but should not be taken as constituting a normative nor even a desirable type of action. The article identifies several limits of dialogue and its relationships with other types of action defined according to the same criteria.

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The Circulation of Knowledge in Public Discourse—Between ‘Popularization’ and ‘Populization’

The main objective of this paper is to investigate the circulation of knowledge in public discourse. Two models of circulation, which could be called the ‘popularization’ and ‘populization’ of knowledge, are discussed. The first is identified with the traditional activity of academic elites and usually involves informing the general public about scientific discoveries and translating hermetic academic jargon into language accessible to a wider audience. The second attempts to describe the process whereby the dominant administrators of scientific knowledge lose their monopoly position. An especially valuable proposal for describing ‘popularization’ and ‘populization’  is the category of ‘de-distantiation’ (the reduction and weakening of distances in social relations) invented by Karl Mannheim. The circulation of knowledge is also considered as an important component of modernization and anti-modernization discourse.

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The Gender Gap in Political Knowledge in Poland

This paper utilizes nationally representative survey data to examine the gender gap in political knowledge in Poland. Political knowledge was assessed by asking respondents to indicate whether each of twelve national political parties was currently in the ruling coalition. We use motivation, ability, and opportunity to explain political knowledge. We predict answering ‘don’t know’ as well as answering all questions correctly. Political interest, educational attainment, previous voting behavior, having children, and age predict ‘don’t know’ responses for men and women. Having access to cable or satellite TV appears to reduce ‘don’t know’ responses, but only for men. All else being equal, men and women are equally likely to answer ‘don’t know.’ Political interest, educational attainment, previous voting behavior, age, and self-esteem predict perfect scores for women and men. Religious attendance increases perfect scores, but only for women. The gender gap in perfect scores remains significant despite controls.

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Civil Dialogue in Poland in Light of EU Experiences

This article deals with the issue of civil activeness in a system of free market democracy. Participation in social and civil dialogue is a sign of citizens’ engagement and is considered here in the context of Jürgen Habermas’s theory of communicative action. The manifestations and consequences of the extant institutional arrangements are shown, as are the means of describing and explaining them in the Polish socio-political and economic context. The reflections presented here illustrate the weakness of the existing measures. Both the institutional structure and the theoretical tools used in Poland are imitative in nature and do not fulfil the practical expectations of either participants or researchers of civil dialogue.

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The Rocky Road of Europeanization in the New Member States:  From the Democracy Capture to the Second Try of Democratization

There has been recently a change of paradigms in the academic literature on the historical trajectory of the new member states (NMS). It has been in the last years switching from the success stories to the danger of peripherialization what I call the Rocky Road of Europeanization. Instead of positive evaluations of the first ten years in the EU, more and more “balanced,” “mixed” or even negative evaluations have appeared. These evaluations have been based on the huge datasets of the international ranking institutions like the Bertelsmann Foundation, The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), Freedom House, IMF, OECD, Open Society Institute and World Economic Forum. The huge datasets have facilitated the elaboration of the conceptual turning point in the evaluations of the NMS historical trajectory. This theoretical paper—relying on the above datasets—deals with the controversial development of democratization in NMS in the Quarter-Century of systemic change and after Ten Years of the EU membership. It tries to elaborate a new conceptual framework on the decline of the top-down democracy, leading to democracy capture or façade democracy, and on the return to the participatory democratization as a bottom-up process.

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The Higher Principle? An Attempt to Develop a Near Universal Approach to Explaining Voter Turnout through Micro-Macro Interactions

Over the past decade, several authors have tried to explain why people participate in elections by examining both direct and contingent effects of diverse sets of factors. While the direct effects follow a simple logic that some independent variable directly affects turnout, contingent effects work on the assumption that the influence of one explanatory variable differs across varying levels of another explanatory variable. In the previous research, the existence of latter effects has been justified on the basis of more or less convincing stories. An attempt is made here to provide a more general framework, stemming from the question, “At what moment do representative democracies achieve political equality?” From this starting point, the article introduces a near universal approach for understanding contingent effects in voter turnout theory and for developing various hypotheses that may be tested using multilevel models that include cross-level interaction.

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The Evolution of Anti-Gypsyism in Poland: From Ritual Scapegoat to Surrogate Victims to Racial Hate Speech?

Building my argument on the analysis of two cases of anti-Roma violence (Oświęcim 1981 and Mława 1991), I would like to search for a pattern of evolution of anti-gypsyism in Poland. In the 1980s, the ambiguous stereotype of Roma, has been giving way to the picture of Roma as a convenient scapegoat to be blamed for the insecurity and economic hardships. This shift in the stereotypical image of Roma, together with the specific “management of discontent” performed by the communist authorities, prompted pogrom-like outbreaks of anti-Roma violence in the towns of Konin and Oświęcim. Similar attacks on Roma have taken place again in the beginning of the next decade, already in post-communist Poland. The mob aggression against Roma in the town of Mława in 1991, although retained many features of the earlier acts of violence, has already represented a new pattern in which Roma personified the fears associated with the transformation toward neoliberal capitalist economy. This new pattern of perception has provided fertile ground for the racialization of the anti-Roma discourse which I intend to trace down in the most contemporary instances of hate speech against Roma.

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Social Conflict Theory in Studying the Conflict in Northern Ireland

The aim of this paper is to discuss the usefulness of social conflict theory as a theoretical framework for analyzing the conflict in Northern Ireland. The social conflict theories under consideration are Lewis Coser’s functionalist theory of conflict, Ralf Dahrendorf’s theory, and Randall Collins’ sociology of conflict. The main question is whether social conflict theories provide a useful analytical tool in understanding ethnic conflicts: their nature, bases, and the actions of the social actors involved.

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Polish Sociological Review – digitalization of publications and monographs in order to ensure and maintain an open access through the Internet is financed  by the decision no. 618/P-Dun/2016 allocated by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education for the dissemination of knowledge.

Polish Sociological Review – The English-language versions of publications were financed on the basis of decision no. 618/P-DUN/2016 by funds allocated by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education for the dissemination of knowledge.

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