In this study I explore the use (and the non-use) of ICTs in the broad survey on their use by modern social movements, providing data on the demographics of the movements and their activists worldwide, and on the use (and non-use) of the ICTs. Based on four online surveys (including international, local US and Polish), data on distribution of social movement organizations, age of organizations and activists, numbers of activists and supporters, and organization goals are presented. Analysis of the diffusion and use of specific new ICTs follows. The research questions revolve around the blurring boundaries between members and non-members (unofficial supporters and volunteers) and the specifics of the use of new media (by whom and for what) with particular focus on the importance of organizational and membership age. The findings with regards to the use of modern ICTs show the success (wide diffusion and estimates of empowerment) of email, static websites, phones and social networking, contrasted with the relatively poor performance of blogs, podcats and online petitions on the social movement scene.
Keywords: ICT, information and communication technology, new media, social movements.
Social Activism in Post-Communist Countries and New Media: The Case of the Tent Camp Protest Action in Minsk, 2006
Social movements, along with political parties play a significant role in socio-political life of contemporary democracies. As distinct from political parties, they do not pretend to take part in the direct exercise of power (though many of them do demand to be included into the decision-making process), but realizing their specific aims and functions, they exert considerable influence on the political process. Existence in a given country of wide range of social movements, struggling for their own interests is widely considered an indicator of a strong civil society. But how do social movements pursue their goals in countries with underdeveloped institutes of civil society? Does the intervention of new ICTs have certain emancipatory potential, which could be used by social movements to facilitate the desired social transformations? Is it possible to speak about the generational change in social movements, meaning new collective actors, using ICTs and Internet, significantly differ from those that can be termed “old” collective actors? In this paper, I analyze the ways in which new ICTs change the scope, ideology and structure of contemporary social movements and illustrate these transformations with the example of peculiar Belarusian movement,—namely, the Tent Camp, emerged as a result of falsification of the presidential elections in March, 2006, on October Square in Minsk.
Keywords: New social movements, Melucci, Internet, post-Communist collective actions, Belarus, Tent Camp.
Consumers, Play and Communitas—an Anthropological View on Building Consumer Involvement on a Mass Scale
There is an increasing interest in effective methods for building consumer involvement on a mass scale. This paper offers an interdisciplinary theoretical framework for consumer involvement analysis and forwards an anthropological approach to this issue. It uses categories of play and communitas to examine cultural dynamics underlying consumer involvement. It summarizes and extends theoretical understanding of the topic and provides numerous examples from contemporary marketplace such as Heineken Open’er Festival and Volkswagen ‘Fun Theory’ initiative. Several research propositions are formulated for future empirical endeavors and implications for practice are defined.
Keywords: Communitas, consumer involvement, Heineken Open’er Festival, marketing events, play, the Fun Theory.
The Black Box of the Educational Reforms in Poland: What Caused the Improvement in the PISA Scores of Polish Students?
On the basis of the existing research and available theories this paper attempts to determine whether there is any causative relation between the educational reform introduced in Poland in 1999 and the improvement of Polish pupils’ scores in the PISA study. Analysis suggests that the element of the reformsmost likely to have contributed to the improvement of Poland’s PISAscores was the introduction of externally evaluated examinations with a multiple-choice format. There are also two strong methodological conclusions that can be drawn from this research: (1) given the complexity of the reform, its aims and outcomes should be ‘decomposed’ for more detailed analysis, and (2) given the cumulative outcomes of the reform, PISA scores between 2000 and 2012 should be explained by a different set of hypotheses for each round.
Keywords: PISA, reform, education, Poland, central examinations.
Alternative Approaches to Public Diplomacy
Abstract: The aim of this essay is to discuss the possibility of applying knowledge from the field of sociology and other disciplines into the theory of public diplomacy. Due to changes in the international environment, public diplomacy (a complementary tool of foreign policy) is used for various foreign policy goals including spreading state influence. We identify the need for alternative approaches to public diplomacy especially within the domain of value and norm diffusion. Current prevailing concepts, such as state branding (derived from marketing discipline), do not prove to be effective in the political aspect of this field. This calls for the implementation of new approaches in international relations and diplomacy, particularly from sociology, psychology and communication studies. This article should stress the importance of transferring the knowledge from the above mentioned fields into the theory of public diplomacy—which has been neglected (or only now starting to gain importance) in the theory of international relations. It tries to draw attention especially of sociologists who have much potential to contribute to its development and analysis.
Keywords: social capital; alternative; public diplomacy, influence; values; norms; branding.
The Perception of Benefits of Short-term Volunteering— the Case Study of Young Poles’ Opinions
The aim of the text is to capture and identify the differences between volunteers and non-volunteers in the scope of the widely understood image of volunteering and the beliefs surrounding it. The data was gathered in three Polish cities and shows that there is a great disparity between young volunteers and non-volunteers. This disparity can be of substantial importance to the future of volunteering in Poland and it conclusively proves that young people are very pragmatic. Volunteers see the sense in sports volunteering via the instrumental benefits that transcend the experience, although they do not question the autotelicy of sports volunteering, especially when it comes to its value as an emotional experience.
Keywords: volunteering, motivation, instrumental benefits, autotelic benefits, image of volunteering.
The Image of Genghis Khan in Contemporary Buryat Nation Building
GenghisKhan is highly valued among peoples ofCentralAsia, a radical departure fromRussia, and other nations across Europe, where he is regarded as the embodiment of savagery, barbarism, destruction and ruthlessness. Yet, another image exists among the Buryats, who accept theirMongolian origin and find support for their ethnos in it. The article concerns the functioning of Genghis Khan’s image in popular culture and the everyday lives of Buryats living in the ethnic Buryatia.We are, therefore, interested in how the nation’s elite succeeds in constructing a vision of the past, its golden age, to guarantee cultural and political entity in the modern time.
Keywords: Genghis Khan, Buryats, ethnic Buryatia, national integration, mass culture, elites.
The Meanings of Ordinary in Times of Crisis: The Case of a Palestinian Refugee Camp in the West Bank
For people living in violent and insecure contexts, “ordinariness” and “crisis” take on new meanings. Daily efforts to manage these contexts transform everyday life into a scene of resistance, a place of refuge and a domain of resilience and survival. The article discusses four ways in which Palestinian refugees from Al-Am’ari camp in the West Bank frame the ordinary amidst protracted exile, ongoing occupation and recurring military conflict by: (1) suspending everyday life, (2) defending normalcy amidst the crisis, (3) normalizing the experience of crisis and (4) fostering a normative sense of ordinariness. Instead of adopting arbitrarily defined categories of ordinariness and crisis, the aim of the paper is to reconstruct how they are produced, understood and narrated by camp inhabitants. The analysis is based on eight months of ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Al-Am’ari camp between January 2010 and August 2012.
Keywords: crisis, violence, daily life, ordinariness, agency, Palestinian refugees in the West Bank.
Chloe Froissart, La Chine et ses migrants, La conquête d’une citoyenneté [China and its Migrants, the Conquest of a Citizenship]
Carine Pina-Guerassimoff, La Chine et sa nouvelle dispora, la mobilité au service de la puissance [China and Its New Diaspora, Mobility in Service of Power] (Kaja Skowrońska).
Polish Studies in Culture, Nations and Politics Edited by Joanna Kurczewska & Yasuko Shibata vol. 4
Yasuko Shibata, Discrimination for the Sake of the Nation. The Discourse of the League of Polish Families against “Others” 2001–2007 (Marcin Ślarzyński)
Włodzimierz Piątkowski, Beyond Medicine. Non-Medical Methods of Treatment in Poland (Antonina Doroszewska)
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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.