PSR 1(201)2018




Education and Support for Democracy in Poland: Attitudinal, Structural, and Cognitive Mechanisms

While it is well-known that education is positively connected to support democracy (competitive elections, a multi-party system, and the belief that political leaders must obey the law) in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, we have few empirical tests of how attitudinal, structural, and cognitive mechanisms mediate that connection. I use the Polish Panel Survey (POLPAN) for 2008–2013, a crucial period that captures the Polish political experience after acceding to the European Union and before the massive political change of the 2015 elections, to empirically test how these different mechanisms impact the link between education and democratic values. I find empirical support for the hypotheses that (a) in terms of attitudes, higher levels of education are associated with lower authoritarian attitudes, which in turn correlate with stronger pro-democratic values; (b) in terms of structure, individuals with higher levels of education, who are more likely to belong to privileged social classes, are more pro-democratic; (c) in terms of cognitive mechanisms, higher educational attainment is associated with higher cognitive abilities, which in turn correlate with stronger support for democracy.

Keywords: Democratic values, education, authoritarianism, social class, cognitive abilities.



The Cultural Perspective in Social Movement Theories and Past Research on the Solidarity Movemen

The issue of culture, while present in the Polish scholarship on the Solidarity movement, remains untheorized. Explorations of culture in the literature are largely descriptive rather than explanatory in nature. In this article, I examine the opportunities that arise when we assume a cultural theoretical perspective in the sociological study of social movements. I focus primarily on the available definitions of culture and their relevance to the problem.

I consider the role of culture from three perspectives: first, as the cause of the social movement’s emergence; second, as the movement’s internal organizing structure; and third, as a consequence of the movement. The issues discussed in this essay will be related both to the current state of the theory as well as the ongoing and potential studies of the Solidarity movement, thus providing an illustration to the subject at hand and paving the way for research on other Polish movements. The article concludes with a discussion of the benefits and drawbacks of the cultural approach in the sociology of social movements and considers its place within the scope of the Polish research on the subject.

Keywords: cultural theories of social movements, Solidarity, Polish sociology




Family, Friends, and Money—What Makes an Entrepreneur? Analysis of Data from Poland, 1993–2013

Since entrepreneurship plays an important role in economy, especially in post-communist countries, it draws attention of researchers in the social sciences. Different determinants of becoming an entrepreneur have been already described, including background characteristics, personal motivations and attitudes, and liquid assets.

This paper examines the role of social resources—family and friends with entrepreneurial experience—as well as financial resources, in shaping future entrepreneur in Poland in an advanced stage of economic transition to a market economy. The analyses are based on the Polish Panel Survey POLPAN, focusing on the period 1993–2013. The results show that originating from an entrepreneurial family has a paramount importance on running a company in the future. Also the fact of being surrounded by entrepreneurial friends in 1993 and being able of acquiring even a modest investment capital at that time are significant for becoming an entrepreneur 5, 10, 15 or 20 years later. The analyses of combined effects of independent variables show that social resources influence career choices much stronger than potential financial resources. A person who had an entrepreneurial father and was surrounded by entrepreneurial friends in 1993 might have been even six times more likely to become an entrepreneur in the course of the next two decades; the effect of financial resources is weaker.

Keywords: entrepreneurship, transformation, social networks, Polish Panel Survey POLPAN, Poland




The Task of the Translator in Times of Dismantling the Social. Zygmunt Bauman and Active Utopia

The author presents the figure of Zygmunt Bauman as a public intellectual and a translator. Following Walter Benjamin and his essay “The Task of the Translator” and Jacques Derrida and his text “What Is a ’Relevant’ Translation,” the author concludes that a public intellectual as a translator is persistently confronted with the task of translating statements and postulates from the “language of politics” into “language of practice” and “individual experience,” from the “language of science” into the “language of collective action,” and from the “language of sociology” into the “language of the media.” The author claims that the key category in Bauman’s thinking was neither “liquidity” nor “modernity,” but “socialism as active utopia.” For Bauman, socialism is impossible without a socialist culture, but culture is a practice, i.e. it is an attempt to attune our collective goals aimed at improving the social world. This alignment comes without resorting to the idea of a collective conductor (a program), but by means of resorting to the idea of a translator.

Keywords: active utopia, culture, individual society, practice, socialism, strangers, translator.




Consumerist Culture in Zygmunt Bauman’s Critical Sociology: A Comparative Analysis of his Polish and English Writings

In this article I analyze Zygmunt Bauman’s oeuvre on consumerist culture, from the Polish (1953–1968) and English (1968–2017) stages of his scholarly career. I demonstrate that despite the passage of many years and the numerous changes in the way Bauman approached sociology, it is possible to see considerable overlap between the interpretations that he advanced in the two periods of his career. In the first part of the article I focus on how Bauman’s observations—dating back to the sixties and relating to the theory of culture, Marxist theory,and the method of ideal types—found their reflection in what he called the “consumerist syndrome” (seen as a set of properties permeating all planes of social life). In the second part of the article I highlight the fact that his observations were inspired by a model of critical sociology that evolved from Antonio Gramsci’s “philosophy of praxis” and utopian thinking of an iconoclastic nature. And even though my analysis focuses on the denotative and conative dimensions of Bauman’s vision of consumerist culture, I also present more general conclusions regarding the continuity and variability of his entire sixty-plus years of scholarly activity. The article offers an opportunity for English-speaking readers to become familiar with Bauman’s Polish writings and should encourage further research in this area.

Keywords: consumerist culture, Zygmunt Bauman, critical and engaged sociology, theory of culture, Marxist theory, method of ideal types.



From Relational Space to Engagement—Designers’ Ethics and Responsibility in the Light of Empirical Research

The main goal of this article is to present the contemporary designer’s profession in the scope of its personal definition of ethic and social responsibility. In order to deal with, it will be showed some empirical data from own sociological research conducted among Polish professional designers. The opinions have described their attitude to the problem and made possible endeavoured to place collected opinions in broader, relational context of this profession. To bring more clearity to the matter, there will be also presented the definition of design, differentiation of roles undertaken by contemporary designers and their influence on shaping the material environment of human life.

Keywords: design, relation, professional ethics, social responsibility.




The Perception of Sexually Provocative Advertisements of American Apparel by Generation Y in Poland

In this paper we show results of a survey aiming to study the attitudes of young Poles towards sexual appeals and ethical issues in advertising on the example of American Apparel. A strong majority thought that the use of sex appeals was provocative and distasteful. The negative feelings about a sexually provocative advertisement of American Apparel were not compatible with the respondents’ opinion about the ad. There were some notable gender differences. More women than men thought of the ad as distasteful and immoral. More women were indifferent to shockvertising, while more men were rather negative. Women thought more often than men that ethical problems in advertising should be solved using legislation and that ethical problems in advertising are culture bound.

Keywords: advertising ethics; sexually provocative advertising; sexual appeals; shockvertising; fashion; Generation Y; Poland; American Apparel.




Race or Class? Testing Spatial Assimilation Theory for Minorities in Los Angeles

This paper examines whether socio-economic status influences residential outcomes (e.g. proximity to Whites) equally across minority groups. Using tract-level data from 2000 U.S. Census for Los Angeles County, California, this paper investigates the relationship between high income status of a neighborhood and proximity to Whites by mapping residential distribution of major racial groups in comparison to residential patterns of affluent minorities in Los Angeles. The findings have implications for theories of residential segregation and locational attainment.

Keywords: Residential segregation, socio-economic status, spatial assimilation theory, minorities in the United States.


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Polish Sociological Review – The English-language versions of publications were financed on the basis of decision no. 573/1//P-DUN/2017  and no. 817/P/DUN/ 2018, by funds allocated by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education for the dissemination of knowledge.

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. 817/P-DUN/2018 allocated by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education for the dissemination of knowledge.