PSR 3(207)2019






Let it Fly High! On the Need for ANT with a Positivistic Inclination

Actor-Network Theory has proven to be highly successful, fulfilling much of its early theoretical and methodological promise. Proponents of ANT have argued, among other things, that an acceptance of the specific (techno-)social ontology which assumes consistent relativity of beings and anti-essentialism will enable us to address the aporia that are haunting sociology. The authors argue that, sociological applications of ANT (at least as regards the dominant understanding of the theory) result in a lowbrow methodology leading to a radical cognitive limitation of the discipline. The text finishes with an attempt to sketch an alternative version of ANT, one with a positivistic inclination opening the path for synthetic sociology.

Keywords: actor-network theory, explanation, science and technology studies, sociology of knowledge.




Trust in Symbolic Interactionist Research and in Phenomenological Investigation

We will show some interpretations of trust from two perspectives: symbolic interactionist research and phenomenological qualitative research. Trust could be interpreted in many ways. Generally, the cognitive and “rational” approach prevails in researching trust in social sciences. The everyday life connotation of trust that is created by chance or in unpredictable situations because of unknown and unpredictable conditions could be treated by such research as “irrational”; however, we are interested in those meanings of trust and their research in this paper.

The symbolic interactionist perspective will help us to see how the subjective interpretation and situational features influence the creation of trust or distrust. We will analyze trust as an interactive phenomenon. The phenomenological approach could show us the essential features of trust and also its embeddedness in the lifeworld of participants. We will see how the lifeworld is maintained or refused, how routine activities are the basis of trust, and how existential security is created.

Keywords: symbolic interactionism, phenomenology, qualitative research, trust, Buddhism, existentialism.




People’s Evaluations of Income Inequality and the Gini Coefficient

Different in Details, Similar in Patterns

 Recent studies suggest that the Gini coefficient’s and people’s evaluations of income inequality differ. Thus, we risk adopting policies that decrease the coefficient but not the inequality people see. This article argues that the coefficient does reflect people’s perception of inequality, at least in relation to the criticised Pigou-Dalton Transfer Principle stating that inequality falls whenever a person with higher income gives a small part of it to a person with lower income. Results from a questionnaire experiment where 105 WUT students evaluated inequality of different income distributions confirm that answers strictly following the principle are rare (around 3% of the sample). However, the average correlation between respondents’ and Gini’s evaluations was relatively high (0.693). Furthermore, when respondents’ evaluations were averaged, the correlation jumped to 0.954. An MDS analysis confirms that while these evaluations differed in details, the pattern common to respondents’ evaluations was in line with the Gini coefficient.

Keywords: income inequality, inequality, transfer principle, inequality perception, multidimensional scaling.



The Effect of Education on Earnings Distribution in Poland: 1988–2013

The effect of education on incomes may reflect the rise of a meritocracy in the patterns of social stratification. Using survey data based on national samples, I analyze the dynamics of this relationship in Poland in 1988–2013 across educational levels controlling for social origin and demographic variables. The results show that the rise of a meritocracy began in the 1980s and continued until 2005, as indicated by an increase in returns to university education. In 2005–2013, the wage premium for higher education persisted despite the economic crisis, the growth of non-standard forms of work, and turmoil of varying kinds in the market economy. At the same time, social origin significantly affects the distribution of incomes, although it occurs indirectly via cultural capital and social connections.

Keywords: stratification, meritocracy, ascription, incomes.




A Field Theoretical Model of the Polish Emigration to Other European Countries 

This article presents a formalized field theory of international migration. Departing from the theories of Kurt Lewin, the author assumes that the valences of different migration targets create a field of attracting forces, which may trigger long-range “locomotions.” Moreover, the author hypothesizes that the selection among the different migration targets also depends on the perceived opportunities: the higher the number of vacancies at a target and the stronger the reporting about these vacancies by earlier migrants, the stronger the field of perceived opportunities. A mathematical model based on these theoretical assumptions is tested with data about migration from Poland to other EU countries. The goodness of fit of the model is quite high and seems to corroborate its field theoretical foundations. The model is further explored by simulating its behavior for different scenarios of valences and perceived opportunities. The article finishes with a summary from the perspective of analytical sociology.

Keywords: Poland, international migration, social field theory, analytical sociology, international comparisons.




Between Alien and Citizen: Denizenship in the “Old” and “New” Europe

Denizenship means that a state grants certain economic, social, and (sometimes) partial political rights to long-term residents who are settled within its borders but do not possess its citizenship. The main objective of this article is to explore the phenomenon of denizenship in the countries of the European Union to see if there are important differences between the 15 countries of the “old” Europe and the 10 countries of the “new” Europe in terms of the expansion of denizenship. The main principles, development, and theoretical frameworks of denizenship will be presented, along with considerations on the presence or absence of international regulations that might influence policy-makers’ decisions on implementing denizenship within the European Union. As the research shows, denizenship is becoming common in both parts of the continent, blurring in this respect the East/West divide and becoming a sign of a “united Europe.”

Keywords: denizenship, the European Union, the “old” Europe of 10, the “new” Europe of 15, long-term residents.



Defenders of Democracy at the Protest 

The paper focuses on the manner people active within the Committee for the Defence of Democracy present their protests. The author analyses the way the protests’ image presented by the interviewees is built, as well as the sources of its form and content. The aim is to identify the applications of discursive strategies used in the positive self- and the negative other presentation. As it is shown, in the process of discursive construction of the protests, the ‘us’ and ‘them’ dichotomy, and the specific rules that form the basis for the functioning of the public sphere in Poland are applied. Hence, the distinctions are created with nominations (metaphors, naturalising), predications (positive, negative traits) and representations (examples) referring to the figures of civilised and uncivilised men present in the Polish public discourse. Thus, the analysed presentation of the protests can be interpreted as inscribed in the binary structure of civic discourse.

Keywords: discourse, social movement, discursive strategies, Protest, self-presentation.




Summary of the Operation of the Tripartite Commission for Socio-Economic Affairs in 2001–2015

The Case of Polish Social Dialogue at National Level 

This article presents the results of the work of the Tripartite Commission for Socio-Economic Affairs (TC) in 2001–2015. To show the effectiveness of the TC’s work, the author’s adaptation of the associational participation scale (Tálos, Kittel 2001) was employed. The result was categorisation of the effects achieved by the TC within social dialogue and a periodisation of the TC’s activity in the research period, which quantitatively confirmed

the results reported by other researchers. The article concludes with a discussion about the potential use of results in order to formulate expectations about the future effectiveness of the new tripartite body in Poland (the Social Dialogue Council) and elaborate a framework for comparing the effectiveness of tripartite bodies worldwide.

Keywords: Poland, tripartism, social dialogue, Tripartite Commission, effectiveness.