We hereinafter propose to answer the question, what does it mean, to “do sociology”, and to refer, in extension, to social sciences in general, trying to accumulate and put at hand significant studies, as well as a corpus of theoretical perspectives, doubled by rigorously underlain researches, as related to concept and methodology. By various topics of interest we hereby propose, we are trying to significantly contribute to the understanding of contemporary social structures and processes and to mark out the important role sociology has in understanding them. We chose such approach, theoretical and practical in the same time, as we often face issues related to sociological studies which offer a theoretical, explanatory perspective but disclose few hints related to practical consequences, without considering the background and dynamics of the current social institutions.
A solid theoretical substantiation will orient future studies and researches and will provide a better understanding, integration and focus of results.
We shall also offer, by this volume, a preamble for our students in the analysis and practice of Romanian sociology, an exercise of sociological imagination which may offer an alternative in understanding daily life experiences and how to insert them in the social background of nowadays Romania, complementary to the historical, psychological, economical and even philosophical approaches of reality.
The studies in this volume: Theoretical and methodological approaches in social sciences address both professors and students from Romania, and abroad, and we take this opportunity to thank our collaborators from Latvia and from the United States but also a larger audience, especially that involved in the field of social and humanist sciences. Certainly, when they learn in college on topics like social groups, family and change, socialization, the role of the mass-media in society, social classes and education, gender inequalities, the social insurance and health system, poverty and welfare, work, unemployment and spare time, the role of religion in contemporary society etc., such social institutions and practices (especially from the United States, UK and France) are presented as universal. Actually, we want to focus on autochthonous social and political structures, on the cultural and interethnic specificity of the Romanian society. Although the general framework of analysis, the doctrine coordination ideas, the research methodology are to be found in social sciences, the economical, political and social particularities disclose the specificity of Romanian modernity but also the questions and interpretations the new generation of young researchers in social sciences may offer.
Therefore, in order to answer the initial question, to “do sociology” in Romania must not be taken for the globalizing perspective with structures and systems presented as belonging to foreign or abstract society, but is related to a specific context of values and institutions, to a culture and social reality addressing a different target audience.
The chapters in this thematic volume present the recent efforts of the social researchers from Timisoara but also from Romania and abroad, in the attempt to extend the theoretical, conceptual and methodological base of doctoral and post-doctoral researches and not only, identifying important questions which define the field of social sciences. The following review offers information on each and every chapter and their points of interest.