PSR 3(203)2018





Divergence Not Convergence. The Strengthening of the post-Communist Welfare State Model in Central and Eastern Europe After European Union Expansion 

This paper analyses the welfare states in the post-Communist countries from Central and Eastern Europe, which are members of the European Union. It applies the welfare regime typology methodology, partly developed by Esping-Andersen, as a framework for this research. The paper examines the two main predictions that emerged from the literature on the future of the welfare states in Central and Eastern Europe. Firstly, was the thesis that these welfare states would not fit easily into any of the existent models in Western Europe. Secondly, that these welfare states would gradually converge with one or more of the welfare regimes existent in the West. We have used hierarchical cluster analysis to check the extent of this welfare convergence/divergence over the first ten year period after the eastern expansion of the European Union (2004 and 2014). We discovered that in 2004 the post-communist countries were divided between two clusters, although by 2014 all of the post-Communist countries (apart from Slovenia) had grouped together in one separate cluster. Therefore a process of divergence from the western European welfare models and a convergence between the post-Communist welfare states had actually occurred.

Keywords: Welfare state, Esping-Andersen, European Union, Central and Eastern Europe, Cluster analysis, post-Communism

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Was Another Modernisation Possible? Liberal and Leftist Critique of the Transformation in the Public Debate in Poland

The article regards the public debate focusing on the assessment of the political transformation and the model of modernisation implemented in Poland after 1989. In recent years, the conservative and right-wing criticism, which focused on pro-Western modernisation and the liberal discourse of transformational success, is more and more often accompanied with self-criticising statements uttered by the former liberal leaders of the democratic transformation and with appeals for a radical retribution of the past which are put forward by the young generation of Polish intellectuals. On the basis of the analysis of the public discourse between 2013 and 2017, the author differentiates between the retribution and reckoning dimensions of the liberal and leftist discourse, reconstructing its interpretative and argumentative structures. The discourse of ‘being disappointed with the transformation’ is considered a symptom of the condition of public debate in Poland.

Keywords: transformation, modernisation, public debate in Poland, liberalism, discourse analysis.

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The Dialectic of Freedom and Discipline: an Examination of the Fitness Filed

The article aims to examine how fitness centres fall in line with the reflexive project of the self and active policy of choice. Such a perspective makes the gym a contradictory category involved in a number of individual and social processes connected with freedom and discipline, control and pleasure or work and leisure.

Drawing on qualitative research I wanted to see how the interviewees used the term fitness, how it related to their everyday life, what sort of commitments and responsibility it elicited and the implications arising thereof, and to explore the ambivalence based on a complex interplay of tension and release in fitness. Through the empirical discussion, I show that the reflective attitude is rarely a matter of choice, but rather a result of pressure or social-cultural obligations. Self-discipline as an element of fitness gives the illusion of being causative in the sense that it is strongly entangled with expert knowledge systems.

Keywords: fitness, reflexive project, paradoxes of reflexivity, ambivalent experience, freedom, pleasure, discipline, control, commercialization.

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Healthy Lifestyle and Pro-Consumer Orientation among Poles

Much like Western societies with developed economies, Polish society has become increasingly consumer-oriented, as is manifested by Poles’ desire for instant pleasure and the search for the meaning and sense of life through the purchase and consumption of goods and services available on the market. Such an approach could be positively or negatively connected with a healthy lifestyle. The aim of our study was to explore the relationship between a healthy lifestyle and the pro-consumer orientation in Poland. The study involved a survey conducted in 2016 on a nationwide sample of 1,000 people. The findings suggest that a pro-consumer orientation is positively correlated with those elements of a healthy lifestyle that are trendy and symbolize membership in certain social groups. On the other hand, this orientation is inversely correlated with behaviors that require constant self-control and do not bring immediate benefits.

Keywords: consumer society, pro-consumer orientation, healthy lifestyle, eating, sports, smoking, sociology of health.

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Rethinking the Role of the Intelligentsia Habitus in the Case of Polish Workers in the North of England

This article considers upward mobility of UK Polish migrant workers by introducing a Bourdieusian habitus perspective. Drawing mainly on the interview data it was inquired whether the intelligentsia habitus understood as an example of embodied or learned “social expectations” concerning the position in the social hierarchy provides Polish migrants the motivational scripts for learning and innovating in the labour market. It was found that the intelligentsia habitus can legitimize successful jobs seeking strategies of some respondents. However, this paper also notes that a significant number of analysed respondents were unable to mobilize cultural capital resources and remained in a vicious circle of long hours of monotonous factory work that has created an additional constraint complicating their learning capabilities.

Keywords: the UK; the intelligentsia habitus; upward mobility; Polish migrants; segmented labour markets.

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Doing Biographical Research — Ethical Concerns in Changing Social Contexts

Rapid changes in different spheres of social life (especially the commercialization of science, the digitalization of data, and the explosion of social media) have recently influenced definitions of research situations and approaches to findings in the social sciences. While various new standards from the natural sciences have been implemented, research situations have also been shaped by circumstances related to wider cultural changes, that is, by a sort of a cultural shift, especially in the sphere of new media communication. All these phenomena have revived the discussion of ethical issues. This article analyzes the current methodological status of biographical research as part of a professional ethic construed as the systematic exploration of the methodology used bybiographical researchers and the need for constant reflection on the research process. The article is devoted to different areas that may be associated with ethical concerns: the relationship between a researcher and an interviewee; problems related to the consequences of digital archiving; the proper style of doing research when there are strong expectations that the results will be disseminated; the possible consequences of using informed consent with the illusory expectation that it removes ethical dilemmas; and the practices leading to a professionalization of ethics.

Keywords: Ethical dilemmas, biographical research, qualitative studies, informed consent.

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Tablet Terra Incognita: Research Note on the Role of Tablets in Digital Parenting of Preschool Children

Our research note reports the results of a qualitative and quantitative evaluation of the pilot edition of the Coding Masters Junior program, conducted in 2015 by Centrum Cyfrowe: Projekt Polska. It focuses on the results of a semantic analysis for the keyword “tablet” of the IDIs conducted with parents of preschoolers. The analysis has shown, among others, that in many households tablet is seen as belonging to the domain of the child, its property (toy). At the same time, quantitative research reveals that in 26% of tablet-owning households the device is not made available to the child. This strong polarization of practices shows that tablets remain a terra incognita to a significant group of parents, one they often have no wish to explore.

Keywords: tablet, digital parenting, semantic analysis, preschoolers, mobile technology.

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

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.