WORLDS OF KNOWLEDGE

Abstracts


SOCIAL MOVEMENTS IN THE SPOTLIGHT. IN SEARCH FOR MEANING

ZORNITZA TCHAKMAKOVA

Last years were marked by several social movements’ actions worldwide: in North and South America, Europe, Asia. The intensity of mobilization in different contexts challenges social scientists. In regard to the increasing number of social movements, including movements in Bulgaria, there is an undeniable necessity in analytical apparatus that permits making sense and a profound understanding of these phenomena. The current article presents the main academic approaches to studying social movements. The notion of social movement is operationalized. The accent is put on the framing perspective that focuses on the processes of mobilization – signifying, construction of meaning, action-orientation, and elaboration of strategies.  

Keywords: social movements, collective action, framing perspective


ACADEMIC ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN BULGARIA: DILEMMAS AND CHALLENGES

VENELIN PETROV
The current paper calls into question the applicability of a popular university technology transfer model, which was imposed as an innovation paradigm in our country mainly through the medium of EU funding without taking into account national institutional characteristics. Currently, not only empirical research but also a lot of policy initiatives are inspired by abstract and normative models of university and industry relationship, like those for the establishment of technology transfer offices.

Keywords: academic entrepreneurship, university technology transfer, entrepreneurial university


A SOCIOLOGICAL STUDY OF A “MUSIC LABORATORY”. THE DUET OF SCIENCE AND ART  

VENETA MITEVA
This article presents the music as an object of sociological analysis and the focus is on two musical genres – rock music and electronic music. The idea of writing this article was engendered from my personal commitment to the subject of study, as my aim was to examine technique and technology in the process of creating music. The basic theory used is the actor-network theory (Bruno Latour), complemented with the concepts of “taste of public” (Antoine Hennion), and the analysis of the contact between author and audience (Alfred Schutz). The article refers to empirical evidence of fieldwork from 10 to 30 October 2013.

Keywords: sociology of music, subculture, actor-network theory, rock music, electronic music


WHEN THE STARS DISAPPEAR. ABOUT THE CONSTITUTION OF ASTRONOMICAL OBJECTS
AND THEIR AUTONOMY

TIHOMIR MITEV, IVAN IVANOV
The paper presents an attempt at analysis of the process of the constitution of the scientific object. Examining the case of astronomy, in particular the field of the National Astronomical Observatory Rozhen, the paper focuses on a “crisis” situation, which authors have witnessed during the summer school “Science, technology, innovations”, part of the curricula of the students in Sociology of law, economics, and innovation at Plovdiv University. The concepts of research object, scientific knowledge, observation are questioned in the way that they appear in an actual research situation.
Nota bene: the structure of the presentation follows a logics of a “blown up” temporality – time does not pass, it does not follow; it explodes into the epicenter of the presented “crises” situation. It is the “crises” since it is actual “trials of strengths” (Latour), that make its own time, space, filling an order (of the astronomical everyday life)…

Keywords: astronomy, research object, scientific knowledge, action, actor-network theory


IDENTITIES AND ATTACHMENTS: RICOCHETS OF THE DIGITIZATION OF OBSERVATION
IN THE PROFESSIONAL AND AMATEUR ASTRONOMY

IVAN TCHALAKOV, IRINA POPRAVKO
The article analyzes the worlds of professional astronomers and astronomers-amateur and their technological base. It adopts a critical look at the established research approach to this subject, in particular the actor-networks theory (ANT) of Bruno Latour and Michel Callon. The concept of (professional) identity is considered from the perspective of “ethnography of professions”. An attempt was made to introduce a new language for describing and analyzing the two knowledge communities based on the sociology of taste and attachment of Antoine Hennion. The paper questions the feasibility of ANT “relationist notion” of a technical object in situations, where the prediction of the future effects of this object introduction is needed. Following Graham Harman, the paper suggests supplementing ANT approach with elements of the media (artefactual) analysis of the Canadian researcher Marshall McLuhan.

Keywords: identity, endurance, actor-network theory, professional and amateur astronomers, telescope, digital camera, media theory of Marshall McLuhan


WHEN THE PERSONAL IS POLITICAL: COERCION IN THE NAME OF AUTONOMY

INA DIMITROVA
The aim of the article is to discuss one conceptual contradiction in the arguments of the disability rights/critique perspective, concerning two crucial issues – selective abortion of fetuses, diagnosed with genetic condition, and assisted suicide. The argumentative scheme, employed by these scholars and activists, deserves close reading since, first, it has the potential to go beyond the disability rights debate and to play a positive role in the process of limiting the right to abortion. Second, because it makes visible one important theoretical problem, concerning autonomy and, particularly, the notion of (non-)voluntary action, which is in the focus of the debates on paternalism, which recently enjoys renewed attention.

Keywords: assisted suicide, selective abortion, non-voluntary action, paternalism


APPLYING THE BEST INTEREST PRINCIPLE TO CHILDREN’S TREATMENT

MARGARITA GABROVSKA

Regardless of the widespread compliance with the concept of child’s best interest in the social, medical, legal and other areas, there are still significant ethical disputes about the criteria that constitute the concept and the reliability of its implementation. The article analyzes both the notion and practice, related to the concept when it comes to making decisions about children in the field of medical treatment and care. Employing available experience and knowledge the text examines two separate approaches to substantiate the best interest principle, and also to link it
to criteria ensuring its proper implementation within the field the specialized care for children.

Keywords: ethics, medicine, children, best interest

 

 


RIGHTS OF NATURE – IS THERE A PLACE FOR THEM IN THE LEGAL THEORY AND PRACTICE?

STOYAN STAVRU
With the increase of the ecological problems and most of all with the increase of the adverse to human beings climate changes, the question of nature protection from human impact is (more) often raised. This brings a number of ethical and legal questions, including those with the potential to change the subjective structure of the currently existing law. The article attempts to systematize the holders of legal personhood and to locate potential areas for the rights of nature in the law structure. We could outline a “full range of legal entities”, which includes two major categories: physical persons and legal entities. Physical persons can be divided into two groups: people (human persons) and other individuals (nonhuman persons). Legal entities can also be divided into two groups: social entities, the most common of which are corporations, and natural entities, the most common of which are ecosystems. So the outlined categories and groups are symmetric: on one side there are animals as “nonhuman” physical persons and natural formations as legal entities, and on the other side – people as “human” physical persons and their social formations as legal entities. This symmetry in the delineation of possible legal personhoods creates conditions for balance on a structural level – at the level of structure of law there are already comparable mechanisms for balancing the interests of people with those of animals, and the interests of corporations with those of ecosystems.

Keywords: rights of nature, animal rights, human rights, rights of corporations, physical persons, legal entities, human persons, nonhuman persons


RELATIONSHIPS OF HARM AND VIOLENCE. EXPERIENTIAL SUBSTRATE BEDROCK,
THE UNCONSCIOUS TRANSMISSION OF TRADITION / UNCONSCIOUS TRADITIONS AND VIOLENCE IN SOCIAL PRACTICE

JÜRGEN STRAUB

People live in “collective relationships of harm and vulnerability”. This social-theoretical concept focuses on the fact that people interact as vulnerable subjects and subjects capable of violence whose vulnerability, solidified in dispositions, may be considered the result of violence sustained and inflicted in historical constellations. Following an outline of psycho-analytical research results, the author presents the concept of transgenerational transmission of serious (traumatic) injuries and emphasizes the importance of enactments as a special form of unconscious actional retrospection in social situations. It is argued and illustrated that these and other traces of collective violence – even those dating back to the early centuries – are eminently manifest in modern immigration societies (e. g. in interactions with political refugees). From a normative perspective, the author advocates a heightened sensibility towards harm that presupposes a differentiated concept of violence that also includes symbolical and psychological forms. After giving a short explanation of two modes of symbolical and psychological injury that are important in migration societies – “dyspresentation” and certain forms of omission, namely silence –, the author finally discusses the ‘danger’ of promoting a dubious “tribunalization” of psycho-social realities through an increasing (scientific) sensitization for relationships of harm and vulnerability.

Keywords: violence, trauma, transgenerational transmission, enactment, vulnerability

 

LISTENING TO SUFFERING: SOCIOANALYSIS AND THE “PATHOS” TURN IN THE CONCEPT OF EXPERIENCE

SVETLANA SABEVA
The article relates socioanalysis to the so-called ‘science of the suffering subject; as developed on the borders between phenomenological anthropology, psychopathology and psychoanalysis. Before any scientific or clinical objectivation (typification, diagnosis etc.), this ‘science’ – or, rather, analytic – thematizes the affective space of suffering, viewing it not only as intrapsychic but as intersubjective, intercorporeal and shareable, without presupposing the practical dualisms (between psychic and somatic, individual and social, abnormal and normal) or the division of labour between the ‘sufferance experts’. The text focuses on one of the instances in this affective space – the ‘ear’ of the analyst (who can be a lay person) and the listening to the other’s suffering. The first section thematizes the pathos turn in the concept of experience, placing it in the historical context of Benjamin’s diagnosis of the ‘devaluation of experience’, the weakening of its communicability, and the ‘decline of storytelling’. The second section problematizes – in the context of an actual case – the limits of dialogue in the course of narrative construction of identity, as well as the corporeal ‘enactment’ of a situation of vulnerability. The third paragraph presents situations of professional listening – correspondingly the suffering of the schizophrenic (in the dispositive of phenomenological psychopathology) and the ‘everyday sufferance from society’ (in the dispositive of Bourdieu’s socioanalysis. This demonstrates how precisely self-telling and self-understanding today are increasingly more and more constituted as from the active, maieutic listening. The article argues that the maieutic listener represents a specific ‘transitional figure of experience’ and a ‘primary representative’ (in the sense of Waldenfels) of the suffering subject, one to whom is due a fundamental achievement of social life: reflexive existential knowledge, respectively – the recognition of suffering.

Keywords: socioanalysis, ‘suffering subject’ pathos turn in the concept of experience, ‘active and methodic listening’, recognition of the other’s suffering


THE LIE AS A REGULATOR OF EVERYDAY UNDERSTANDING

KOLYO KOEV
The lie as a social phenomenon is terra incognita for sociology. Possibly this has its roots in the manifest or tacit favoring of truth as a negation of lie. The present paper tries to show the sociological potentials of situated treating of the lie, which means conforming of telling a lie to certain expectations in the course of the everyday conversation and generally of the everyday interaction. The paper puts into its focus Harvey Sacks’ lectures under the title ‘Everyone Has to Lie’ and more specifically his consideration of the lie as a key mechanism of the so-called accountable actions.

Keywords: lie, truth, account, accountable actions, everyday talk, quantifiers, everyday logic

 

OUTSOURCING CENTERS AS GLOBAL “SAVIORS”: SHORT TERM PERSPECTIVE, PRESTIGIOUS ALTERNATIVE OR SOCIAL CONSTRAINT FOR BULGARIAN YOUTHS

NIYA NEYKOVA
The paper sets forth the task of continuing the tradition of Cultural Studies’ approach to contemporary youth cultures in Bulgaria. Based on fieldwork (a participant observation in two outsourcing companies and in-depth interviews), the analysis presents the new opportunity on the labor market, rapidly turning into a major option for youths in big cities – the outsourcing companies (Bulgaria is currently considered to be among top outsourcing destinations). The text is an effort to comprehend the unprecedented development of this sector in the last fifteen years and in particular the work of client service centers which are mainly outsourced in the country. This reveals some changes in the labor market, in youth alternatives for work, but also in the idea for successful career development and for an adequate professional biography. Specific media rhetoric meets the specific professional strategies of three groups of youths who consider such professional realization respectively as short-term perspective, as prestigious alternative or as social constraint, all this when “import” of corporative culture in Bulgaria does not take into consideration regional factors in relation with country specific context which produces different type of workforce in the sector, with different motivation and requiring different methods of loyalty building.

Keywords: outsourcing, call centers, youths, youth unemployment, corporate culture, social constraint

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