How We Live Together:

Communities, Institutions, Networks

 

Issue Editor: Svetla Marinova

  --------------------

‘Bridge and Door’: Social Distance and Patterns of Translation in the ‘World Risk Society’
Svetla Marinova

Abstract: In the article, I aim to argue in support of the socio-scientific potential of Ulrich Beck’s concept of ‘cosmopolitization’ by subjecting it to a differentiated critique. Initially, the concept had a primarily Utopian potential, which is why critics have contended it had become obsolete in the context of the recent migrant crisis and its political consequences. On the contrary, I would argue that, beyond its Utopian potential, the concept has a social-scientific one as well. If detailed and elaborated, ‘cosmopolitization’ can become a useful sociological tool for analysis and diagnostics of current developments. Therefore, in contrast to Beck, who uses the term in an undifferentiated manner, I focus it at a specific level of social life – the level of normative regulations regarding foreigners; I explicate the sociological problem at this level by using Simmel’s metaphors of ‘window’, ‘bridge‘ and ‘door’. In conclusion, I suggest that revising the normative project of ‘cosmopolitization’ could advance the disclosure of the concept’s heuristic potential in a sociological perspective.

Keywords: World Risk Society; Cosmopolitization; Cosmopolitan Sociology; Social Distance; Cosmopolitan Empathy

  Dimensions of Glocality: The Local “Us” against the Global “Them”

Petya Kabakchieva

Abstract: The article poses two questions: how glocality is constituted in modern Bulgaria; and how the “us” identities (“the local people”) and “them” identities (“the refugees”) are constructed. The author concludes that the perception of glocality is increasingly constituted around the axis of a local, concrete fear of a global abstract threat, leading to the re-traditionalization of locality. Based on Brubaker and Cooper’s distinction between identification and categorization, “us” is seen as an identification of the small local community, and “them” as a categorization, constructed by political and media actors, of the “refugees as a threat”. Thus, glocality is charged with tension from the start, because two different worlds meet there - the real face-to-face world and the world of virtual media images. The encounter between the real “us” and the virtual “them” proves impossible, and this impossibility could easily lead to serious clashes between actual groups.

Keywords: glocality, identification, categorization, refugees, “Us” vs “Them”

 Transformations of Life Chances in “Middletown”

Dimitar Blagoev

Abstract: The article proposes an innovative approach to life chances, conceptualizing them in terms of the intricate interplay between the micro dimensions (personal resources and potentials) and macro dimensions (contextual opportunities) of sociality. This understanding of life chances is employed in a qualitative study of their transformations in four Bulgarian towns; the research was carried out first in 2005 and then repeated in 2016 by means of in-depth interviews. The article presents the main results of comparative analysis of empirical evidence, which reveal heterogeneous patterns of changes in and of life chances in the studied towns. This analysis contributes new insights to the sociological understanding of a particular form of social change.  

Keywords: Life chances, social change, heterogeneous social transformations

 

On “Identity” in the Social Sciences: Uses, Overuses, and Misuses of a Concept  

Boyan Znepolski

Abstract: The  article  aims to study the relevance of the concept of identity to research in contemporary social sciences. The concept is discussed in terms of both collective and individual identity. Following the analyses of the American sociologists Brubaker and Cooper, the author argues that the meaning of “identity” is incompatible with the specificity of social phenomenon as objects of scientific research. In this respect, constructivism and naturalism both lead to a groupist social ontology and to a conceptually impoverished sociology of identity that inevitably thwarts the understanding of the complexity of the social world. At the level of individual identity, the article focuses on the analyses by the French philosopher Vincent Descombes, who reestablishes the uses of the concept in the framework of three meanings: numeric identity, social identity and expressive identity. Criticizing the oxymoronic  use of expressions such as “multiple identities” and “changing identity”, Descombes emphasizes the necessary social foundations of personal identity and hence points out the inadequacy of philosophical individualism, and individualist approaches in general, with regard to social phenomenon.        
Keywords: identity, groupist social ontology, numeric identity, social identity, expressive identity.

 

Border, Heritage, Heirs

 Meglena Zlatkova

Abstract: Based on anthropological field research, the article presents study related to the experience of living in the border region between Bulgaria and Turkey in the part of Strandzha Mountain that is contiguous to the Black Sea  (Tzarevo Municipality). This experience of living close to the border influences the individual and collective strategies of social networking and local development. The author discusses the local cultural heritage(s) and the construction of communities of “heirs” of migrants. The border is interpreted by them as being “ours”, as a secure, open, but also dangerous, area. The attitudes to the border are ambiguous: the passage from a strictly protected border to a green one is felt dangerous for “our living here and now”, amidst fears of diseases and migrants that might freely enter the territory. On the other hand the border offers opportunities; the know-how of living close to the neighboring country is included in many economic strategies, policies and projects for local development, based on the valued status of “being local”.

Keywords: social capital, small town, border, heritage of migration, heirs

 

2019 Special 2

 

C O N T E N T S


‘Bridge and Door’: Social Distance and Patterns of Translation in the ‘World Risk Society’
Svetla Marinova

 

Dimensions of Glocality: The Local “Us” against the Global “Them”

Petya Kabakchieva

 

Transformations of Life Chances in “Middletown”

Dimitar Blagoev

 

On “Identity” in the Social Sciences: Uses, Overuses, and Misuses of a Concept
Boyan Znepolski

Border, Heritage, Heirs

Meglena Zlatkova

 

Global Public Space

Svetlana Hristova

 

Socio-economic Inequalities and Risk Behaviors among School-aged Children in Bulgaria: Results of the HBSC

Elitsa Dimitrova, Tatyana Kotzeva

 

Organic Agriculture and Commitment to Values in Bulgaria (2000-2013): Theoretical and Empirical Approximations

Petya Slavova

 

The Bulgarian Populist Radical Right: Representatives, Origins, Ideology, Development and Prospects

Petar Cholakov

 ------------

 

 

In March 2017, the Department of Sociology organized a two-day conference entitled “How We Live Together: Communities, Institutions, Networks” to mark the 40th anniversary of its founding. The conference was conceived as an invitation for a dialogue between social scientists and researchers working various institutions. Thus, besides members of the Department of Sociology, it gathered together representatives from the Institute for the Study of Societies and Knowledge at BAS, the University of National and World Economy, South-West University – Blagoevgrad, and Plovdiv University. In this special issue of the journal Sociological Problems, we are publishing some of the papers presented at the two-day conference.

 

While it was impossible – for different reasons – to publish all the papers, we believe the selection offered here is representative of the variety of basic theoretical and research perspectives, and issues formulated and discussed in the framework of the conference. The topics include: interaction with, and community with, the Other under conditions of growing social and cultural differences; the transformations of national and regional identities in the context of the increasingly radical fragmentation of the social; the transformations of life chances and the public sphere, of social inequalities and value attitudes.

 

Copyright © 2012 sp-bg.eu. All Rights Reserved.