PSR 2(206)2019



A Reconfiguration of the Interest Representation System in the European Union

Interest groups are one of the main types of representation which mediate between public opinion and decision-making processes in the EU. The crisis of global capitalism and the crisis of liberal democracy as well as the accumulation of crises in the EU have shaped system of representing interests in a new way. The article features the latest changes in this system including the intermediary institutions activity conditions in the Member States and in the EU. Since the 2008 crisis, populist and authoritarian politicians, both “right-wing” and “left-wing,” have questioned the current system. In this context key aspects of the weakness of representation of interests in Central and Eastern Europe are presented. They result from the overlap of the global crises into the specific problems of the post-communist “dependent market economies.” In conclusion, some theoretical limitations of research on the representation of interests in the EU and the possibility of overcoming them are being discussed.

Keywords: global capitalism crisis, erosion of liberal democracy, redefining the representation of interests in the EU, weakness of organized interests in Central and Eastern Europe





The Quality of Local Self-Governance and the Political Participation of Non-governmental Organizations—Evidence from Silesia

The quality of local authorities performance is determined, among others, by the involvement of social actors in the policy-making process. Among them, it is the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that play a significant role in local polities, politics and policies. This paper tests if and how the participation of NGOs makes a difference in the quality of local self-governance, based on the evidence from Silesia (2010–2014)—the most densely populated region in Poland. The results show that the NGOs’ involvement diversifies the outcomes in the quality of governance only in a modest way and extend. Consequently, the authors conclude that the politically engaged NGOs do not qualitatively bring much of an added value and rather play a role of proto-parties. Formally not being recognised as political parties, they perform many (if not most) roles that classical political parties deliver, including the recruitment of political elites, offering the political alternative, channelling the citizens’ preferences and participation in power-sharing. Keywords: Governance Quality, NGOs Political Participation, Proto-parties



Strategizing Integration in the Labor Market. Turkish Immigrants   in Poland and the New Dimensions of South-to-North Migration 

The aim of this article is to examine the specific nature of the mobility patterns and labor market integration of the Turkish community in Poland, and to situate those phenomena in the broader context of migration from Turkey to northern Europe. Migration from Turkey to Poland is much newer than migration from Turkey to Western European states but has grown dynamically in the past decade. These migration flows are distinct from those inside the EU or from post-Soviet European countries such as Ukraine or Belarus to Poland. The article distinguishes three occupational trajectories that are typical for Turkish migrants in Poland. These paths are characterized by the various social environments in which they develop: the host society, the ethnic community, and the international (expat) community. Analysis reveals the great importance of co-ethnic networks, which play an even more crucial role because Turkish mobility to Poland is not supported by the state policies of either the sending or receiving country. The article refers to data from an original qualitative study (in-depth interviews) as well as to official statistical data from various sources.

Keywords: Turkish migration, Turks in Poland, immigrants in Poland, migrants in the labor market, economic integration.




Selective Exposure on Polish Political and News Media Facebook Pages

Increasing numbers of citizens rely on social media to gather both political and non-political information. This fact raises questions about belief formation and belief updating in the social media setting. Using Facebook data on users’ behaviour in Poland in 2017, I test the hypothesis that individuals tend to like content that confirms their beliefs. I measure the political preferences of nearly 1.4 million users who were active on the main political and news media pages and classify them as being supporters of certain political organisations or as being politically unaffiliated. Based on the principles of analytical sociology, I construct a theoretical model that may explain the results. According to the model, users tend to like posts from only one source of information. There are also statistically significant differences in the news media preferences of supporters of different political organisations. They are prone to like posts published by sources that accord with their views. The model also correctly predicts that politically unaffiliated users choose media outlets that are considered unbiased or less biased. The results support the hypothesis that users of social media prefer exclusive or near-exclusive sources of information.

Keywords: selective exposure, social media, echo chamber, beliefs, news media.



Golden Age of Tabletop Gaming: Creation of the Social Capital and Rise of Third Spaces for Tabletop Gaming in the 21st Century 

This paper re-examines two turn-of-the-century observations of Putnam and Oldenburg about the decline of social capital-generating activities, and disappearance of certain social venues. Based on a decade of multisite observations on three continents I show that a particular type of an activity that Putnam claimed was disappearing—face-to-face, tabletop gaming—is thriving, and often doing so in third-place-like venues that Oldenburg described as endangered—local cafés and clubs. I present data on the proliferation of related leisure activities, including an estimate of their longitudinal and geographical spread and popularity. I also illustrate how social capital is created in physical gaming venues, and propose a six-type classification of those venues.

Keywords: social capital, leisure, gaming, third places.





Time Perspectives and Online Behavior of Digital Natives at the Tertiary Education Level 

The time perspective has been the subject of various studies aimed at understanding human behavior.Our goal was to extend the growing literature in this field by studying the role of time perspectives in shaping online behavior among digital natives. 569 digital natives at the tertiary education level completed self-report forms assessing two major processes: time perspectives and online behavior. Adverse time-perspective biases were found to be related to rude, harsh, and distrustful online behavior. Present-oriented people displayed a high amount of online activity, while future-oriented ones showed a more functional approach to Internet use. Pastpositive and past-negative orientations occurred concomitantly with different levels of affability online. We discuss the findings and their limitations, along with suggestions for future research in this field. As it is possible to modify time perspectives, this study may contribute to the development of methods aimed at preventing undesirable online behavior and improving individuals’ well-being.

Keywords: Time perspectives, online behavior, social media usage, personality, digital natives.





Religious Diversity for the Sake of Ethnic Unity? Shamanism and Buddhism in Creating Buryat Ethnic Identity 

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, religious revival has played an important role in the changes taking place in the lives of peoples who inhabit Siberia. Religion has been regarded as one of the most important factors shaping national consciousness and, at the same time, one of the primary means through which national identity can be expressed. Nonetheless, religious diversity can affect this process of forging national bonds. Buryats are a culturally diverse people, divided along religious lines, thus engendering problems when a religious system is implemented for the purposes of modern nation building. Some Buryats advocate for the universal adoption of Buddhism, while others advocate shamanistic beliefs. Tensions arise from the fact that shamanism is prevalent throughout the lands occupied by ethnic Buryats while Buddhism is in fact territorially limited; the latter, however, is still institutionally and territorially more significant.

Keywords: Buryats, shamanism, Buddhism, ethnic identity, religious diversity, Siberian peoples.