ANDRZEJ K. KOŹMIŃSKI
This paper presents interdisciplinary research on the transformation of Polish society and the economy. A new composite Balanced Development Index (BDI) has been constructed and applied in a ‚beyond GDP’ paradigm to analyse Poland’s socio-economic development during the 1999-2014 period and to make predictions for 2015-2017. Four groups of detailed indicators-two economic ones (external and internal) and two social ones (concerning the objective and subjective current situation, and public expectations for the future)- are used to construct four middle-level indexes, which are subsequently aggregated into the general BDI index. The congruency between the four middle-level indexes is interpreted in terms of the balance relevant for future socio-economic development. The validity of the index is proven by its high correlation with the psychological conditions of society. The results indicate a less optimistic picture of development in Poland than is provided by the GDP, which has been constantly growing.
Game of the City Re-negotiated: the Polish Urban Re-generation Movement as an Emerging Actor in a Strategic Action Field
In recent years, many Polish cities have become the sites where a new urban movement emerges, shaped in the meeting between the engagement of neighborhood activists around what Mergler (2008) has called a „concrete narrative” of particular space and everyday needs, and the inspiration of internationally connected „norm entrepreneurs” (Finnemore and Sikkink 1998). As part of the movement formation, a number of small groups and local associations have become important in the process of linking local issues to the global dispute over quality of life in urban areas. Although the process is multi-faceted and the involved actors diverse in nature, we claim that it can be described and analyzed by using the recently developed framework of Strategic Action Fields (Fligstein and McAdam 2011, 2012). We illustrate how this new group of civil society actors have become important in the „game of the city” in Poland-thus re-negotiating the public-private divide, which is a crucial part of the urban policy field in-between a retreating city-level public sector and the entrance of corporate actors.
Development of Trust in Low-Trust Societies
The article focuses on the issue of trust development in low-trust societies. Based on a review of the existing literature, we discuss the types of trust as well as mechanisms of trust creation. On this basis, we propose a dynamic four-stage model of trust development. The model is based on the assumption of gradual accumulation of various trust forms on a social level. The article also discusses the implications of the model as well as the possible future routes of empirical research it may open.
Complexity, Institutions, and an ‘Agile’ Disability Policy
The aims of this article are: 1) to offer a deeper and more theoretically grounded understanding of the dysfunctions of the institutional support system for people with disabilities in Poland; and 2) to propose inspirations for a new, ‚agile’ disability policy. To this end the author applies concepts from Niklas Luhmann’s theory of social systems and its more recent interpretations, as well as ideas from so-called complexity theory. It is shown that the dysfunctions of the institutional system can be interpreted as resulting from the system’s autopoiesis and insensitivity to the complexity of the environment. Yet, as the system/environment relationship is precarious, the system could be motivated to redefine itself and to implement solutions that would make it more responsive to the environment. It is argued that an agile disability policy, based on the assumption that complexity is a crucial environmental feature, could be a solution to this problem.
Analysis of the Dynamics of the Internet Use by Persons with Disabilities in Poland over the Decade 2003–2013 in the Context of Their Socio-Demographic Characteristics
The aim of this article is to present changes in the scale and functionality of internet use by persons with disabilities in Poland over the course of a decade (2003-2013). In the first analytical step, the growth in internet use by disabled persons is presented in connection with the basic variables of their socio-demographic profiles. While demonstrating the stable pattern of influence of socio-demographic traits on internet use by disabled persons over time, an attempt has been made to verify the thesis that the side of the digital divide on which a disabled person will be situated is not determined by the sole fact of having a disability but is rather a derivative of the person’s social status. As the second half of the article attempts to show, social status for this category of user also determines the level of the internet’s functionality (the number of activities performed on the internet and the amount of time devoted to their performance). Empirical analyses were based on data from successive editions of the Social Diagnosis research.
SUZANA ŽILIČ FIŠER
Aging Adults about Online Dating:
“I am back on the relationship market!”
The incidence of increasing aging populations and the popularity of online dating point to the importance of examining aging adults’ involvement in online dating. The study uses semi-structured in-depth interviews with 38 individuals from Slovenia aged 63 to 74. The analysis reveals than the majority of the participants claimed that they had access to a large market of potential partners by use of online dating. They used economic metaphors and related them with extremely positive expressions of recovery: we are alive again because we are back on the relationship market. Their decision to seek a partner through online dating meant that they were once again active in a socially important space, which stimulated a sense of revitalization. Even though the participants lived the majority of their lives under socialism, they have internalized the principles of the market economy and perceive their re-entry into the relationship market as their revival.
JÓZEF M. FISZER
This article addresses the arguments in an article in the quarterly Polish Sociological Review, no. 1(193)2016, entitled ‚The Rocky Road of Europeanization in the New Member States: From Democracy to a Second Try at Democratization’ by Attila Ágh, a Hungarian political scientist. In my opinion, Ágh’s interesting article, which looks at political transformation processes, Europeanization, and democratization in new member states of the European Union (i.e., Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia), has certain methodological and factual deficiencies. Moreover, it contains numerous ideas that I believe are debatable and require further empirical research.
This paper argues that the five East-Central European states have a common historical trajectory as a region, in which Poland fits to both the conceptual framework and to the average data, being on some issues somewhat better, on some other issues somewhat worse than the ECE average. Therefore, the paper denies the thesis of Poland’s „singularity” that presupposes the special situation of Poland, very different from the ECE region based on a particular success story in the last Quarter-Century and/or during the EU membership. It means also that the latest developments in Poland can push the country to more divergence from the EU mainstream as it has been the case in the 2010s with Hungary.
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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.