TOPIC OF THE ISSUE:
BODIES AND INSTITUTIONS
Issue Editor: Ina Dimitrova
REGULATION AND ACTIVISM AT THE LIMITS OF LIFE
Collective Identity in Health Social Movements. The Case of Mobilization around Arts in Poland
The Birth Certificate Program: Politics and Pragmatic of the Reform
Sociological Close-Up on Morbidity and Mortality after 1990 in Bulgaria
Elitsa Dimitrova, Tatyana Kotzeva
DISABILITY, VULNERABILITY, ENABLEMENT
Mindful Skin: Disability and the Ethics of Touching
Blindness and „Normality“ – Rumi’s Case
NORMATIVE REGIMES OF EMBODIMENT
New Medical Technology and Human Dignity
The Human Body as a Regulated Situation
The Camp Inmate’s Body: Life at the Borderline of Death
CAPITALIZING THE (IN)VISIBLE: GOVERNMENTALITY OF BODIES
The World of Bodies and the Age of Biopower. The Paradigm of Immunity
Body, Performativity and Depression Screening
The Commercial Body: Identity and Abuse
„Health Qualification“ for Military Service in Bulgaria, 1878–1939: Standards of Medical Fitness
Towards the Outline of an Invented Body: the Worker from Imaginary to Real Social Category
Globalization, Identity, Science: Problems and Paradoxes
Svetla Koleva Interviews Galin Gornev
Social Construction of Childhood: the Case of Children’s Toys
FREEDOM AS AN ACTUAL POWER
An Apology of Freedom in the First Person. Part I: Revisiting the Paradox of the Subject
SOCIOLOGY OF NON-EVERYDAY
SCIENCE AND NEW SOCIAL PRACTICES: HORIZONS OF REFLEXIVITY
Theory and Practice of Cosmopolitan Sociology: Ulrich Beck’s „Invitation to Sociology“
The Challenges of „Knowledge Society“, or Science in a New Social Context
Sociologies as Utopias
RASTKO MOČNIK AT THE AGE OF 70
Theories of Ideology. Part One: The Inverted Forms
Ideological Interpellation as a Retroactive Effect
Kiril Vassilev (1918–2014)
The Contradictions of Legacy (A Virtual Museum of Socialism)
(March 7–9, 2014, Plovdiv)
Second National Conference on Bioethics and Biolaw
(November 7–8, 2014, Sofia)
REVIEWS AND COMMENTS
A Large-scale Work on Bulgarian Small Entrepreneurship (Tanya Chavdarova. Social Embeddedness of Small Entrepreneurship)
When Water Begins to Speak: Taming, Translating and Integrating the Non-human Actor in Human Communities
(Tihomir Mitev. Of Waters and People)
Curiosity or Hope: The Dilemma from Pandora’s Box
(Soyan Stavru. Bioethics. Visions in Pandora’s Box)
On Pierre Bourdieu and Bourdieu on Symbolic Violence
and Classes (Pierre Bourdieu, Loic Wacquant. Social Classes
and Symbolic Power)
Simmel: „This so meaningful and so enigmatic life of society“ (Georg Simmel. The Fragmentary Character of Life. Essays)
The Critical Present Instant (Walter Benjamin. Kairos)
Two books on new history of economic thought
Contents of the 46th YEAR OF THE JOURNAL SOCIOLOGICAL PROBLEMS
BODIES AND INSTITUTIONS
COLLECTIVE IDENTITY IN HEALTH SOCIAL MOVEMENTS. THE CASE OF MOBILIZATION AROUND ARTs IN POLAND
The aim of the text is to examine social activism concerning infertility and assisted reproductive technologies in contemporary Poland. It focuses mainly on the process of constructing a collective identity and analyses how collective identity based on infertility is being (re)assembled, and contested by people active in the Association for the Medical Treatment of Infertility and in the Support of Adoptions „Our Stork“ and its online community (www.nasz-bocian.pl). The goal is to provide a better understanding of how people engaged in health social movements establish and maintain solidarity and commitment, and to identify not only the benefits of this process but also the potential risks, negotiations, and trade-offs involved. The empirical illustration of this process is derived from a case-study of grassroots mobilization around assisted reproduction in Poland. It builds on a qualitative analysis of texts and posts published on the most popular Polish Internet portal „Our Stork“ („NaszBocian“ www.nasz-bocian.pl) that is exclusively concerned with infertility, as well as documents such as open letters, commentaries, information for the media, and interviews with activists published in print and electronic media between 2007 and 2014.
Keywords: social movements, collective identity, infertility, patients’ activism, Poland
THE BIRTH CERTIFICATE PROGRAM: POLITICS AND PRAGMATIC OF THE REFORM
Since the mid 2000’s medical help to expectant mothers has been one of the key issues in Russian social policy. The birth certificate program is one of the most significant policy innovations introduced in the sphere in order to ameliorate healthcare services and increase their availability to different categories of pregnant women. This paper considers the reform from a social science perspective and studies how the program is actually implemented, i.e., how innovations of social policy are „translated“ into the pragmatic language of the everyday professional practice of Russian obstetricians. The results of case studies conducted in four state-funded maternity clinics show that the reform has different effects on the actors involved in the process of medical care for pregnant women. On the level of the everyday practices this expectedly liberal political measure has unexpectedly led to more bureaucratization of doctors’ work as well as to increased responsibility for each pregnancy case.
Keywords: reproductive healthcare, social care, healthcare reforms, post-socialist healthcare.
SOCIOLOGICAL CLOSE-UP ON MORBIDITY AND MORTALITY AFTER 1990 IN BULGARIA
ELITSA DIMITROVA, TATYANA KOTZEVA
Based on W. Cockerham’s health life style theory, the study explores the main trends in morbidity and mortality after 1990 in Bulgaria. The main focus is put on gender differences in the trends. The results show that structural determinants related to growing social inequalities, mass impoverishment and increased insecurity of socio-economic conditions has brought about negative developments in the trends of morbidity and mortality for both sexes. However, the societal restructuring has had a much more negative effect on men’s health status and longevity. The increasing mortality and morbidity is also explained by the spread of various health impairing practices such as drinking, smoking, violence and unhealthy eating. Thus, the empirical data analysed in the paper suggest that, along with the structural determinants, individual agency related to (un)healthy life styles and behaviours also significantly contributes to the growing trends in mortality and morbidity during the transition period in Bulgaria.
Keywords: mortality, male extramortality, morbidity, health, social inequalities, health life styles, gender differences
MINDFUL SKIN: DISABILITY AND THE ETHICS OF TOUCHING
This essay theorizes skin as a potential meeting point of Buddhist mindfulness, disability activism, and an ethics of care. The phenomenological turn in disability studies has redirected attention from social conditions to the materiality of the body, restoring discussions of pain, sexuality, and caregiving to disability praxis. Yet metaphors of health continue to suffuse philosophical work on moral agency and touch, and explanations of mindfulness tend similarly to assume a non-disabled physicality in their discussions of mind-body interaction. At the same time, little of the work on touch in the context of disability and pain focuses on the precise moment of contact between subjects. How, then, do we think about the symbolic import, and the psychotherapeutic value, of skin touching skin? Mindfulness practice begins with the belief that skin mediates between bodily and emotional states. If we take seriously the kind of skin-to-skin connection that might occur in instances where someone is in pain or has a disability, we might arrive at a more nuanced and sustainable notion of embodiment as the site of emotion, intelligence, and change. This in turn might foster ways of understanding ourselves as interdependent and corporeal beings, introducing the intensities and transformative potential of physical touch into the ways in which we conceptualize subjectivity.
Keywords: disability studies, skin, Buddhism, mindfulness, touch, phenomenological theories of disability, embodiment, relationality, moral agency, mind-body theory
BLINDNESS AND „NORMALITY“ – RUMI’S CASE
The article deals with the problem of research tools, whereby there is a greater chance of understanding Rumi’s world as a blind man; it traces the relationship between the world of blindness and the world of sight in this particular case. The main aim is to thematize manifestations of „normality“.
The text consists of three parts. The first part considers questions related to research methods. It problematizes the conducting of interviews and highlights the „go-along“ (Kusenbach 2003) as a main research tool. The second part includes moments of Rumi’s story that illustrate different modes of his biography. These modes reveal his identity in certain perspectives and his attitude to the world of sight. The third part dwells on the „significant others“ and their point of view, on their ideas of Rumi as a person and the world of blindness.
Keywords: the „go-along“ method, biography modes, world of blindness, world of sight, „normality“
NEW MEDICAL TECHNOLOGY AND HUMAN DIGNITY
The first part of the article summarizes the discussion as to which subjective rights are inseparable parts of human dignity. There are perhaps four possible relations: dignity has a wider extension then rights; the extensions of both are equivalent; dignity includes in itself a bundle of rights; or dignity is just a simple right. I see good reasons to support the last two positions, even the last one – dignity is the right not to be humiliated (or degraded). In finding a technical support for this thesis in the formula „no one shall“, we can identify those rights that are absolute. Their validity expresses in the most appropriate way the sense of human dignity and the corresponding duties to respect.
The second part evaluates some of the most challenging innovations in medical technology, and whether they are acceptable or not with regard to the subjective rights closely connected with human dignity. Here the article mainly focuses on 3 topics: preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), cloning, and fusion of human-animal cells. The reasons to choose only these topics are the following: they are well-known in publicity and in legislation, sharing somehow as their common feature the idea of discrimination, representing images from many cultural traditions. Using some leading moral principles – non-discrimination and non-instrumentalization – we can face the new and future human condition and then look for some normative framing of the technical rules accepted in medicine. The discussion sees in a new light not only the normative but also the ontological problems of gradual protection of human life, the power of genetic identity and determination, and the difference between human cells and fertilized eggs.
Keywords: human dignity and rights, agreement, respect, humiliation, embryo selection, cloning, hybrid, chimera