PSR 4(180)/2012

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SZYMON WRÓBEL

In Praise For Monstrosities. The Case of Niccolò Machiavelli

Abstract: In the paper author refers to the passage from The Prince of Niccolo Machiavelli, in which the famous Florentine says that there are two kinds of combat: one with laws, the other with force. Author defend the claim that by writing this, Machiavelli opened up a new and still unused way of thinking about nature-culture relationship. A follower of this way of thinking withdraws from saying that nature is surpassed by culture, or that nature is nothing else but a subject of an on-going human speculation, and rebuts the sole hypothesis that what there is, is nothing but nature. Modern Western culture entrusted its key opposition to the nature-culture relationship. By and large, political philosophy is a story about surpassing the nature in order to establish a state under the rule of law. According to Machiavelli, the juxtaposition of nature and culture, the narrative on surpassing by politics the laws of nature, just as well as the narrative on us being stuck in it, are all utterly wrong. Accepting the ambiguity of the opposition between nature and culture and assuming that the social contract is indeed fictitious, author would like to question Machiavelli about his vision of subjectivity and politics in a world where “natural objects” appear to be socialized, and “cultural subjects” appear to be dissocial. In the way author puts the question: does Machiavelli recommend monstrosity by writing stories in praise of monstrosity as it may well seem?

ANDREA MAURER

Social Embeddedness” Viewed from an Institutional Perspective

Revision of a Core Principle of New Economic Sociology

with Special Regard to Max Weber

Abstract: Starting by the very fact that Mark Granovetter’s notion of “social embeddedness” became very successful by establishing new economic sociology in the 1980s yet it is argued that current economic sociology needs to work on a stronger connection to institutional arguments. It is shown that this can be based on new theoretical developments by linking micro and macro level. This article reconstructs Granovetter’s attempt of working within an action-based framework that has strong ties to the work of MaxWeber as well as to some parts of new institutionalism. The particularity of Granovetter’s approach is seen in his assumption that individuals’ interests as well as their economic actions are socially embedded in “networks of social interactions” that influence the economic outcome. With regard to Max Weber and new institutionalism, it is then argued that Mark Granovetter omits to carefully consider both firstly how mutual expectations defined within social relations are affected by more general social expectations (the institutional framework) and secondly what kind of coordination problems are precisely solved by social relations through information or expectation. But this would be important for a more complex and more realistic picture of economy. Therefore, it is recommended to analyze the interplay of different social mechanisms—social capital, trust, legitimacy, hierarchy, social entrepreneurs—that work either through information in a network, group norms or generalized expectations in an wider institutional framework. In conclusion, a methodological suggestion is made by combining historical-empirical work with theoretical arguments.

ŁUKASZ AFELTOWICZ

The Cognitive Closure of Science

Case Study: the Discourse about the Etiology of AIDS, 1981–1986

Abstract: As the sociology of scientific knowledge has revealed, research fields may frequently maintain or legitimize hypotheses independently or in the absence of experimental data or other empirical evidence constituting conclusive scientific proof in accordance with declared methodological standards. This essay aims to show certain of the mechanisms and social factors that allow scientific discourse to function as a self-referential system, i.e., in an autonomous manner in regards to the border conditions of empirical experience, as described by W. Quine. I particularly concentrate here on how the organization of scientific work in selected disciplines can result in the local findings of individual laboratories being quickly

transformed into unrevisable facts (black boxes). The phenomenon of the self-reference of scientific discourse is well illustrated by the case of the debate on the cause of AIDS. This discourse was so configured that by referring to one another and by theoretical imputation researchers caused the hypothesis on the causal relation between HIV and AIDS to begin to be accepted as an indisputable fact, even though the corroborating evidence had not appeared in the meantime.

PHILIPP SCHNELL

JOSEF KOHLBACHER

URSULA REEGER

Neighbourhood Embeddedness in Six European Cities:

Differences Between Types of Neighbourhoods

and Immigrant Background

Abstract: This paper analyses neighbourhood embeddedness of immigrant and non-immigrant populations in six European cities. We define neighbourhood embeddedness as an individual level concept and distinguish two main dimensions: place and network embeddedness. The neighbourhood embeddedness concept provides us with the possibility to study attitudinal and behavioural aspects of individuals related to the place of living. Using data from the ‘Generating Interethnic Tolerance and Neighbourhood Integration in European Urban Spaces’ (GEITONIES) project, we explore communalities and differences in the degree of embeddedness and its underlyingmechanisms for immigrant and non-immigrant residents across a set of different neighbourhood types. Our findings suggest that neighbourhoods are still important focal points of social life. But immigrants are characterized by higher levels of neighbourhood embeddedness than native residents which are mostly related to the strong link between perceived feelings of attachment to the people in the neighbourhood and the place as such.

LEA PRIJON

Clientelism and Slovenian Public Administration Reform

Abstract: Since disintegration of former Yugoslavia, Slovenia applied series of reforms in all spheres of life, including public administration. The main reform was contracted on introduction of modern trends in public administration. The article discusses main reforms of Slovenian public administration and their efficiency to change the bureaucratic system into an effective modern one. However, the article aims to understand modern Slovenian public administration within the elitist approach, which seems to explain certain malfunctions of Slovenian public administration after these reforms.

ANTONI SUŁEK

Emile Durkheim and the Polish Question

Abstract: In 1899 and 1907, Polish patriotic circles contacted well-known European and American intellectuals and politicians, asking them to express themselves on the subject of independence for Poland, which was then divided between Russia, Prussia and Austria. Emile Durkheim responded to both requests. The present article comments on these mostly unknown texts by Durkheim. The replies sent by Ferdinand Tonnies, Vilfredo Pareto and other scholars in the social sciences are also briefly discussed.

BOOK REVIEWS

Adriana Mica, Arkadiusz Peisert, Jan Winczorek (eds.).

Sociology and the Unintended. Robert Merton Revisited. Frankfurt am Main, Berlin,

Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien: Peter Lang, 2011. [Ewa Jarosz; Marta Kołczyńska].

Jeffrey C. Goldfarb, Reinventing Political Culture. The Power of Culture

Versus the Culture of Power. Cambridge; Malden MA: Polity Press, 2012.[Helena Chmielewska-Szlajfer].

 

Rejane Senac, L’invention de la diversité [The Invention of Diversity].

Paris: PUF, 2012. [Kaja Skowrońska].

 

COMMUNIQUÉ

The Research Committee on Sociology of Law

of the International Sociological Association

Jubilee Ceremonial Conference. [Jan Winczorek].

BOOKS RECOMMENDED