Please take a look at the new
Journal für Soziologie
Last updated Mai. 29, 2007
English Abstracts 1994
M. Rainer Lepsius
Nationalism as Integration?
The Federal Republic of Germany--a new nation-state?With the reunion of the two German post-war states, a new discussion has ensued concerning the national identity and the nation-state of the Germans. The Federal Republic is said to have gained, or will or should gain, a new character. In light of the integration difficulties between Eastern and Western Germany, a new national spirit is needed; nationalism, so to say, as an aid to solidarity. This essay attempts to work out the categorical uncertainties presented in this debate, and to define the situation of the Federal Republic following reunification.
Social Integration and National Identity
Only individuals can cultivate identities. Groups cannot. Societies (or "nations") also have no identities of their own. Their members, however, can identify with them as members of their "Us Group". Group identifications are a source of social integration and solidarity. They are therefore considered politically desirable. But in the case of Germany--meaning the former East and West Germanies and the united Germany--a "national" social integration is, due to historical factors, hardly recognizable. The integration mode of system integration dominates. In view of the solidarity deficits in the wake of German reunification, we can observe efforts to mould the citizens' willingness for national identification through "Pseudo-Us-Group Formation," in that the exclusion and discrimination of nonmembers is stepped up and the intrinsic value of being "German" is symbolically elevated to excess. The social integrational effect of such efforts is minimal.
Bernhard Giesen/Kay Junge
German Identity and Intellectual Discourse
Having reconceptualized classical concepts from the sociology of knowledge within an evolutionary framwork the authors give a systematic account of the different codes of nationhood, which have guided the modernization process in Germany. Codes for national identity are taken to be codes for social inclusion. Four such codes are distinguished within the period of observation between the time of the enlightenment and the foundation of the german Reich in 18l71: 1. the moral foundation of the nation proposed by the patriotic "Bildungsbürger", 2. the aesthetic idea of the common peaple by the early romantic movement, 3. the image of a revolutionary and democratic community, which has been propagated by the intellectuals of the "Vormärz" and finally 4. the "realpolitische" concept of the nation, which was held by the borussian historians ofter the failure of the German revolution.
Steffen Sigmund/Richard Utz
Religion and Nationalism in Ireland
Even twenty-five years after the dispatch of British troops to Northern Ireland (1969) and a multitude of attempts at a political settlement, the conflict between Northern Irish Catholics and Protestants continues with undiminished severity and radicalism, claiming victims almost daily. In the following essay, the attempt will be made to outline the causes of the conflict in association with the historical genesis of a specific Irish national concept, to be analyzed within the framework of an interaction of ideas, institutional orders and vested interests. The first step is to outline a specific Irish national identity, with central importance attributed to the reinforcement of the denominational antagonism between Catholics and Protestants that accompanied the institutionalization of English power bases. The second step demonstrates how the emergence of heterogeneous interests, reflecting different concepts of nationhood gave rise to a conflict-laden relationship of tension. The third step involves the identification of the respective institutional representatives, which gave the power of validity to the various blueprints for order. This historical process of the birth and development of the Irish nation and Irish nationalism remained unfinished, leading to the emergence of the Irish Republic while simultaneously dividing the island. As a consequence, the centuries-old conflict between Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland continues to smoulder.
Yesterday an Instrument of Legitimation, Today a Substitute for Politics? Empirical Social Research and the Political System
Since sociology, even in its humblest form, has at its goal to uncover what is, it is not surprising that this science is presently persecuted and suppressed, especially in totalitarian societies. This was equally true in fascist societies as it was of so called socialistic ones.In the first part of this article the development of sociology in the GDR and its function for the power apparatus will be examined: Science, as well as social science, an instrument of criticism, degenerated in the course of development into an apologia, and the SED became its victim.Sociology, with its object of societal analysis, is, on the other hand, dependent upon this same society for its development. The second part of this article will illustrate this fact through examples in democratic societies, as well as through the problematic relationship between empirical research, especially opinion polls, and politics.With reference to the behavior of the officials of totalitarian societies, one could argue the following, albeit in a somewhat exaggerated manner: In the same way the officials of totalitarian societies tend to negate the opinion of the people (because what can stop the flow of history?), the politicians of democratic societies are dependent upon opinion research like a hospital patient on his I. V.
How History Enters into Daily Life
Historical changes at the level of governmental and social systems amounting to a process of "transformation" do not have immediate and direct repercussions on everyday actions and habits. That which seems socially relevant may not be equally relevant in the individual settings of daily life. Altered working and living conditions are processed and organized increasingly in a selective process of subjective perception, interpretation and assimilation. In this way, a personal dimension of social reality arises at the level of everyday life. In the current transitional phase of the former East Germany, two strategies dominate the way in which people come to terms with recent history: "Wait it out" or "Make a new beginning." In their own way, both strategies not only promote the individual's survival of a new and impenetrable framework, but also produce continuity and stability as a subjective element of social order.
Culture and Society. On the Way to a New Cultural Sociology?
There has been a renaissance of the sociology of culture lately. What was once a specialty for conaisseurs starts permeating the other disciplines and fields of social science as "cultural sociology" with a distinct perspective. In this article, causes, forms and challenges of a new sociology of culture are discussed. In a first step the works done in this field in different countries will be traced. In a second step, a comparison of old and new sociology of culture shows that today it is not useful to start with the programme of the traditional sociology of culture. In the last step, some of the challenges the new sociology of culture has to meet will be outlined.
Jeffrey C. Alexander/ Philip Smith
The discourse of American civil society: A new proposal for cultural studies
This essay presents a new sociocultural paradigm. The article begins with a critical outline of the socio-scientific preoccupation with culture and a critique of a few alternative viewpoints now in currency. The next section develops an alternative model that traces culture's relative autonomy in terms of social structure from the semeiology of symbolic codes. The third part of this essay applies this model to the discourse of American civil society. The final part demonstrates the plausibility of this fundamental model, in that it makes reference to studies of various events in America's social and political history.
Culturalism. On the Disappearance of the Social in Social Discourse
In the last decade the social sciences as well as history in a growing measure have tried to explain social processes as culturally determined and culturally "lived" processes. With that they approched to a cultural scientific and ethnological view understandig the activity of people and groups in the context of locally and temporally bound and therefore culturally constituted interpretation horizons. This process of going into the "inside" of society, into perceptions and self-images of the protagonists has been an essential step towards a distinguished image of history and society. At the same thime this progress also brings forth risks: There are tendencies of a "culturalization" of social processes reducing in that framework economic and political facts to cultural phenomenons, in which the key word "culture" is misused to camouflage social-political purposes. This appears most clearly in the context of the new national and ethic thinking. Tradition and origin, language and religion in a new way are declared basic cultlural values that would be menaced and therefore should be defended. Such tendencies not only can be observed even more in East European contries but they rather appear also in value discourses of West European industrial societies if there ethical and ethnic subjects are discussed. Ethnological and cultural studies increasingly have to argue with this tendencies towards the culturalization of the social discourse in the sense of an old and a new value fundamentalism if they want to continue their conception of culture and society in reasonable ways.
Cultural Transfer. On the Relationship of Common, Popular and Academic Culture
The growing importance of the field of cultural production does not only bring about effects on contemporary culture but on its analysis too: the researcher runs the risk to interpret the residues of his own previous research as ,authentic` material. The author investigates the interdependence of science, media and everyday culture which not only comes to the fore in the agenda setting function of mass media but also in the use of ethnological texts as doityourself-kits of personal and collective identities.
(Reproductive) Work is done by Others, or: What do Groups of Traditional Forms of Living Contribute to the Emergence of Modern Life-Styles?
The modernization of societies has brought about not only problems in distributing productive work, moreover, the reproductive work is no longer taken for granted: Increasing care for the elderly, decreasing birth rates and the spread of nonconventional forms of living especially in the urban centres and the well-educated milieus raise the question of the consequences of modern life-styles for the further development of modern societies. The paper investigates these consequences with respect to the emergence of new kinds of social inequality. This new inequality emerges as a consequence of the declining birth rates related to modern life-styles, regional and international mobility, collective upward mobility of the resident population and collective replacement of the low status strata.
Peter Noller/Werner Georg
Occupational Strata - The Lifestyles of the Newly Employed in Frankfurt. From Homologous to Reflexive Occupational Strata
Proceeding from the thesis that we are decreasingly able to explain occupational strata on the basis of homology between the occupational position and environmental mentalities, a study has been undertaken concerning the representational and stylizational patterns of new employees in the banking, advertising and data processing sectors in Frankfurt am Main. The results indicate a relatively homogeneous structure between affiliation with an occupational stratum and the members' daily aesthetic orientation and socio-spatial patterns of perception. At the same time, it is apparent that mentalities and ways of viewing the world can be understood as resulting from the interplay between the reflexively produced individual impression of life and the collective, stylized patterns and representations of an occupational stratum. The study came to the conclusion that in an individualized society, occupational strata are increasingly constituted through cultural codes and individual choices, and they therefore constitute relatively stable and rigid forms of social integration and closure.
Peter Franz/Ulfert Herlyn
We keep on suffering, but on a higher level. Panel findings from a small town in Thuringia
Within the social research targeted to the unification process of East and West Germany panel studies have the specific advantage of measuring intrapersonal change (or stability) in a direct way. This paper presents some results of a panel study directed in Gotha/Thuringia. The panel is part of a more general community study including different research methods. The selected data deal a) with attitudes concerning some consequences of the unification, b) with ratings of the personal economic standing, c) with the stereotypes of the "East German" und the "West German" and d) with personal expectations directed to the future. The data show contradictory tendencies that are discussed within the conceptual frame of system integraton and social integration.
"Brave New World": the New Context of Politics
The idea of enlightenment, that an increase in knowledge automatically permits an increase in social control, has become obsolete. Human intervention in nature and in social life has increasingly produced new, man-made uncertainty. The changes that have accelerated this development in recent decades can be categorized into three groups: globalization, the emergence of a post-traditional social order and the penetration of social reflexivity into more and more spheres of life. These changes have a long-term effect on the context of politics. This article portrays the basic framework for radical, reformulated politics that combines important basic values of philosophical conservatism with those of socialist thinking in a contemporary form.
Restrictions and opportunities of democratic consolidation in post-communist societies.
A comparison of countries in east-central Europe
The democratic consolidation of the young democracies in East-Central Europe is facing problems, which distinquishes it from the transitions to and consolidation of democracy in Southern Europe and Latin America. The structural heritage in economy, (civil)society and state pose severe constraints to the action of political elites. Moreover, the room of manouvre is further constrained by the problematic interdependencies of the simultaneous economic, social and political transformation in these countries.The success of democratic consolidation in East-Central Europe will largely depend on the interacting action and behaviour of the political elites and the population under the restrictive circumstances. The democratic consolidation will last longer than in Southern Europe of the 1970s. With regard to the structural constraints as well as the configuration of political actors and the political culture, Hungary and the Czech Republic dispose of considerably better cchances than the young democracies of Poland and Slovakia.
The economic dynamics of development in the "post-socialist" transformation process - on the interplay of general structural and specific historical factors
The point of departure consists of a specific formation theory framework. The main thesis is that structural and historical conditions are greatly influencing the present process of transformation in Eastern Europe. Therefore basic characteristics and consequences of the "socialist" economic system are first described and differences in the historical developments worked out. Then the main macroeconomic trends are presented. Common features and country specific differences are explained by means of historical conditions and present reform strategies. Finally structural changes such as the privatization and the tendency towards "wild" capitalisms are discussed and their social impact is analyzed.
Hungary - the next run-up to modernization
Since 1989/90, Hungary has been immersed in new efforts towards modernization in order to bring the economy and the society closer to western European standards. However, he transition to a modern market economy and to democracy has proven to be more difficult than initially expected. The tendencies and problems of this modernization process are examined with the help of data from sociological studies conducted since 1990. The social structure is tending increasingly towards that of a modern society: the middle strata, such as those occupied by educated officials and the petty bourgeoisie, is growing; the reigning elite is broadening and diversifying. Poverty has more than doubled, due to the slide in production. Dissatisfaction is high and emotional problems common among the disadvantaged strata. Lawlessness seems to be the greatest barrier to successful transition. The election results of 1994 can be interpreted as an expression of dissatisfaction. The worst of the economic crisis, however, seems over, and the democratic political system has, to this point, not been jeopardized.
Young people in Russia
In Russia, the bodily, mental and moral state of young people is deteriorating in a dramatic fashion, along with their economic and social position and political status. To an increasing degree, processes of social disintegration, desocialization and marginalization can be observed. The crime rate among youth is growing at an equally alarming rate. The initial political support for reform is decreasing, while the potential for protest rises. Negative trends in the environment and in the development of young people are understood as an expression of the crisis that the whole Russian society is currently going through, particularly the profound loss of values. In a report to the president and the government of Russia, which is summarized in this article on the basis of select facts, a line of arguments is taken which demands a new policy towards young people with reference to possible scenarios. The report is partially based on sociological studies and statistics and can be understood as a type of primary social report on the condition of young people in Russia. This condition can no longer be guarded as a state secret, but which nonetheless, according to the opinion of the compiler, is largely ignored by government officials and even by the population. The academic community, on the other hand, is called upon to give this issue its complete attention.
"Loyalty to the system" as a condition of social mobility in state socialism, using East Germany as an example
The connection between loyal behavior and mobility in societies of state socialism is much noted. This article attempts to make this discussion accessible to an empirical analysis. Using East Germany as an example, it shows the extent to which loyal behavior and parentage determined professional carriers in the privileged positions of the society under state socialism. The data were gathered from 2323 interviews of men and women from four age cohorts in East Germany conducted in 1991/92 under a project entitled "Professional careers and historical change in the former East Germany" at the Max-Planck Institute for Educational Research. The analysis confirms that there was a basic "politicization" of careers at all levels of the communist state throughout the existence of the German Democratic Republic. However, the continuity of parentage, loyalty to the system and the opportunity for mobility was subject to historical change. While "loyalty to the system" was often practiced by the older generation in order to compensate for deficiencies in the area of parentage, the younger generation was required to have both loyalty to the system and privileged parentage in order to gain ascension into the ruling elite.
Building a democratic public in eastern Europe
Opinion formation in the new democracies of eastern Europe poses a challenge to public research. In substantive terms there is a need to look for the complex interconnections between public processes in eastern Europe, and not only that, but also a chance to rethink the theory of the public arena. The observable processes in which public scene is being constituted reveal conditions, developments and functions which connot be found in the same forms in "normal democracies". The public in eastern Europe seems to be at the focus of sociopolitical change to a greater extent than elsewhere. In some cases, it faces an excessive burden of expectations and functions it is not normally required to perform. This means addressing the problem. To this end, the author considers the internal and external prerequisites, institutional conditions and metacommunicative aspects in a comparitive temporal approach.