PSR 3(179)/2012

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In Defence of the Political

The Crisis of Democracy and the Return of the People

from the Perspective of Foucault and Rancière

Abstract: Taking as his point of departure the London Tottenham riots, a product of a mob lacking political consciousness and postulates, the author strives to identify the fundamental deadlock (aporia) confronting western parliamentary democracy.Nowadays, collective phenomena are analyzed within a moral-economic frameworkwhich reduces the perspective on society to a sumof individuals. This contradiction is responsible for the reductionism which is leading the latest theories of social and political philosophy to the conclusion that we have reached „the end of politics” and are venturing into the „postpolitical era.” According to this author, rather than describing the essence of the problem, these terms are merely skimming the discursive problem. If, as Foucault would have it, discourse is always a specific practice, the aforementioned reductionism can also be approached as a political strategy. Therefore, in order to grasp the „political” as a feature of the situation in which the people are participants, rather than in substantial terms, the author discusses the theory of development of the modern political subject within the framework of Michel Foucault’s liberal „government” paradigm and Jacques Rancicre’s theory of democracy as a proper political element. Drawing upon these two thinkers, he sketches the genealogy of contemporary liberal democracy, stigmatized by the increasing rift between the people’s political activity and the managerial class’s apolitical reproduction.


The End of Postcommunism?

The Beginning of a Supercommunism?

China’s New Perspective

Abstract: Some scholars think that the term postcommunism is now useless because the outcomes of transition in the former state-socialist European countries have been consolidated. However, ongoing transformation in China, particularly the recent return of the influence of the state in both economic and social welfare domains, makes this country a specific model of “transition” that negates the end-of postcommunism

thesis. I argue that even after more than two decades of moving away from the classical

socialist system, postcommunism is not a redundant concept. Instead, for comparative research on EastAsia and Central and Eastern Europe, recognizing the past of actually existing socialism as well as its legacies would considerably contribute to our understanding of countries’ diverse trajectories and performances.


Challenging Urban Exclusion? Theory and Practice

Abstract: Urban exclusion has become one of the most studied subjects in the areas of both urban studies and exclusion studies. The problem is interpreted as a range of serious issues affecting the very social order of contemporary cities. Urban exclusion hinders the equal and sustainable development of society, hence leading policymakers to try and employ different programmes focused on tackling urban exclusion.Although their overall aims are similar, their specific means and measures differ significantly. However, it is important to ask whether the phenomenon of urban exclusion is sufficiently specific enough to allow for

the development of particular effective approaches to challenge it.



New Urban Middle Class and National Identity in Poland

Abstract: This article discusses the question of the emergence of new forms of collective identities brought about by the recent social and cultural changes and their influence on Polish national identity. Specifically, it attempts to analyse those evolutionary changes which have been transforming the character of this identity from an exclusive, ethnic model towards a pluralistic, civic one. The article aims to show that the most significant agent of these processes is a new urban middle class whose growing role in the Polish society challenges traditional national discourses. The article advances a thesis that we are witnessing

an emergence of a new platform of identification which significantly blurs the overwhelming contours of traditional national identity and instead strengthens on the one hand local identification and on the other, a cosmopolitan one.


The Identity of Consumers in Social Networks

Italian Internet Users and New Experience of Consumption

Abstract: Recent technological innovations (Web 2.0) in today’s society mean that a major socio-anthropological change is occurring. On the net, audiences can experience new forms of participation, share information and entertainment practices, and establish new relationships. This paper describes the main characteristics of Web 2.0 with specific reference to the Italian context and categories of users who use social networks (and their motivations), using the latest national survey data.This paper analyzes changes in the identity and culture of consumption,which thanks to social media are today expressed according to the logic of experience and performance. Through social media, performative consumption represents one of the most suitable way to describe the multiple aspects of the contemporary consumer’s identity.



Graduate Labor Mismatch in Poland

Abstract: This paper investigates education-labor mismatch for university graduates in Poland using the HEGESCO survey. Mismatch refers to the level of discord between the job performed by an individual and its education and skills. We evaluate three different dimensions of mismatch: vertical (under-/overeducation), horizontal (wrong field of study for the job performed), and skills mismatch (under-/overskilled). We discuss our results in the light of the large increase in the demand for tertiary education as well as in the number of tertiary education institutions that occurred in Poland after the transition process

from communism to market economy.


Evergreen Ethnographies

Abstract: The article promotes the argument that anthropological or ethnological knowledge is primarily produced through ethnographies that present fieldwork experience. As publications that appear after returning home, they provide the social sciences with the most recent information about the present reality. Moreover, that is where we can find new methodological approaches and new theoretical concepts.

Our contemporary experience in such a fast-changing world shows the uselessness of the formerly applied analytical notions, forcing us to search for a new form of description and new interpretative categories. The article is actually a survey of the best known fieldwork monographs presented through theories, schools and trends in cultural and social anthropology that have been constituted or overcome by these very monographs, which are milestones in over a century of ethnological/anthropological research. As the last ones are from the 21st century, they present not only the newest research results, but also the most

up-to-date methodologies.


Workshop on Embeddedness and Embedding

Conference of the Polish Sociological Association,

the University of Gdańsk and the Kashubian Institute.

Gdańsk, 14–15 May 2012 [Adrianna Mica; Rafał Wiśniewski]

Memory Genealogies in Central and Eastern Europe

Theories and Methods

International Conference. Warsaw, 23–25 November 20111

[Marta Karkowska]









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