The contributors to this book mainly belong to the scientific and research field of sociology, their common points being marked out in the training and interest topics they approached, the interdisciplinary approaching method being specific to sociology and to our area of interest. The studies disclose a varied palette of projects and researches originating in the same competence field and scientific community. The main objective of this volume is to inform on the researches in major interest topics and to establish a support for the research, and as related to the knowledge delivery of the sociologists’ community in Romania. The presented studies try to integrate the research and theory in a unit, like an argument to their development, concurrent and not parallel.
We are living in a continuously changing Romanian society and world. It is a world of challenges, desires, accomplishments, tensioned inter-human and institutional relations. This tension may also be felt in the scientific field of sociology, either we talk about education, about research or about university.
The justification for such approach is in the consistency of the answers for the questions addressed by practitioners. The question we start from with this step and which we try to offer an answer to is in what extent and which of the contemporary sociological theories offer a pertinent reading and interpretation key of the issues of the Romanian contemporary society. Many current sociologic theories waived the historical dimension of society, replacing it by the integration of the actor in the system, with it being possibly manipulated by the system, with the establishment of social order and the reduction of tensions, of social conflicts, with the rationalization of the “actor” and of “society”. Contemporary sociological thinking is therefore marked, on the one hand, by the preoccupation of sociologists to find theoretical solutions to the social issues of communities, resuscitating the interest for the great theoretical syntheses and historical approaches, especially, in the academic environment, and on the one hand, by the orientations rich in empiric suggestions, focused on the explanation of the human being in a community hypostasis, as result of a social context of transition. We consider the paradigm of social action as topical, starting from the influence of G. H. Mead and from the reconstruction proposed by H. Blumer. Social action comes from the changes of symbols within interactions, taking shape of the customs, rituals, rules, institutions etc. The individuals succeed in different degrees in establishing their own self and to adopt proper roles from the perspective of a “generalized another”, which leads to the differentiation of social order in vertical political and horizontal socio-professional structures. The regulation of social order is performed by organized social attitudes, which take shape of institutions. Hence, a long way for the sociology which studies institutions, aspect underlined by the contributions from this volume. Phenomenological sociological investigation signals the subjective significance of daily social activities. This approach is still current mainly at the level of micro-sociological analyses of groups, organizations or social processes, like the following: human communication and intercommunication, the genesis and evolution of the beliefs and value system, common social knowledge, macro-social integration, alienation, social identity, deviance etc. The auctioning problems of phenomenological sociology, in the paradigm initiated by Th. Luckman and by P. Berger, insists upon the concepts of reality and knowledge. Despite its subjectivity, social reality contains a system of constraints and social control, by which certain social groups manage to get imposed in the structure of society, becoming dominant, as consequence of the monopolization of our values, generalized norms, cultural identities etc.
Phenomenological sociology contributes to the interpretation of social reality and by the variant of social dramaturgy, concept proposed by E. Goffman. Therefore, we are looking for a discourse on sincerity, morality and honour, in current society, where deceptiveness is much more important than what is hiding beyond. (see here Asylums and totalitarian systems). The conflicts amongst groups, due to their hierarchic ordination, base social change. M. Fischer and A. L. Strauss consider that the current interactionism may be specific the following problematic areas: social progress or evolution, change in institutions and social control, participation based on consensus, the limitations imposed by social conflict or disagreements, power distribution and fairness, role of intellectuals in social development. The contemporary period leads to a higher and higher need to re-discuss social values. Social science must become relevant in relation to the current social problematic, to wave the false objectivity and to become critical, contributing to a deep social reorganization and invoking perennial social-human values. This need appears as reaction to the reality perceived by individuals as more and more toxic, constraining and deforming, questioned by a greedy and dehumanizing capitalism.
Radical sociology may offer as well answers to the problematizations of contemporary society, conceiving the ideas as medium for reforming society, supporting the need of acute concrete approaches of the social by the passion for the ethic, judging aspect of the operation of the social body. It places the contemporary man in the mass society. It is marked by the obsession to be a happy robot, to keep his/her prestige and status and to accept any affiliation which may guarantee the preservation of his/her status. Sociological imagination in the interpretation of C. W. Mills may represent as well a conceptual support for the remake of sociologic perspectives complementarity. Through the agency of sociological imagination, people may hope to notice what is happening in the world, what is happening to themselves, as minuscule intersection points of biography and history within society. The sociological imagination, Mills considers, tends to become the common denominator of the cultural life from the current communities, as it is centred on the human being and on his/her becoming in history and society, focalizing all such preoccupations, which concur upon the fulfilment of a humanism of dignity and rationality.
Although the distinction between the holist – system and individualist –actionalist positions does not seem to direct towards happy ending, each of them considerably contributes to the development and diversification of sociology. The holist-systemic sociologic knowledge marks out, first of all, a better implementation of the research programmes of the more and more modern social organizations, in the nowadays social – political activity, and the advantages of methodological individualism especially consist of stimulating social creativity. And, finally, any sociologic topic is both systemic and actionalist, the aforementioned controversy, permanently accompanied by the synthesis attempts of the two types of sociology, as shown, allows unprecedented enrichment of contemporary social sciences.
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