Social Transformations in Theory and Practice


Junior Visiting Fellows’ Conferences, Vol. XXXI
IWM, Vienna 2012 [Published on the Web]

Edited by: Marta Bucholc

Contributions by: Yulia Arskaya, Marta Bucholc, Elmar Flatschart, Piotr Kuznietzow, Natalia Palisheva, and Olena Palko

Multiple Facets of Social Change

Introduction This volume joins a long series of works on social transformation emerging in Central and Eastern Europe. It has become a cliché to imagine social sciences in this region as primarily, and somewhat narcissistically, interested in the transformation processes currently in place in most of the CEE countries. Nevertheless, is seems that the interest …
Read more

The Influence of the Global Context on the Perception of the Sources of Social Inequality

The colonial system is a specific form of communication between different cultures and societies. In this article, I analyze the influence of Western colonialism on Indian society. I pay particular attention to the emergence of a new Indian colonial elite and to the development of its political and social thought. The elite held views about inequality in society which were absolutely novel in Indian thought. Their ideas about inequality in the larger framework of the colonial system also evolved during the colonial age. On the one hand, such development could be explained by the encounter of traditional Indian thought with European social, political and legal conceptions. But on the other, this new Indian line of thought originated from different and very often contradictory tendencies.
Read more

A Bolshevik Party with a National Face
Being Ukrainian among Communists

This paper touches upon the early Soviet period in Ukraine at the beginning of the 1920s. Its main focus is the influence of Ukrainian communism on the establishment of Soviet authority in different political spheres, most notably its policy towards the various nationalities. For this reason, the historical background of Ukrainian national communism is briefly examined, and the main parties which represented that orientation and their political aspirations are described. Those parties, after merging with the Bolshevik party, are shown to be the main source of the nationally oriented policy which was launched by the party leadership in the early 1920s.
Read more

Some Aspects of Deconstruction of Totalitarianism in Russian and German Postmodernist Literature

While deconstruction of totalitarianism has been an important issue for Russian postmodernist authors since the 1980s, German-speaking postmodernists rather reluctantly take up the topics of National Socialism and the pro-Soviet regime in the GDR. It is characteristic for both Russian and German literatures that they developed postmodernist poetics later than the American and the most European literatures. Nevertheless it seems that postmodernism has discovered its own strategies for reflecting totalitarianism. As in the postmodernist point of view there is no faithful history, and it’s the focus that makes the whole historiography, the authors neglect historical truth for the purpose of investigating the mechanisms of totalitarian power implicitly present in any public practice.
Read more

Critical Dialectics for the Social Sciences.
Towards a mediation of Critical Realism and Critical Theory

In many ways, the 20th century was the age of applied science. The gradual shift towards a “knowledge society”[1] is not only noticeable in the realm of application, it is also pivotal in philosophy, namely the “linguistic turn” and the triumph of a logically sedimented empiricist analytical philosophy of science[2] I would interpret this success of a …
Read more

Climbing the Stairs.
On the Progress of Society and Science in Norbert Elias’s Theory

The metaphor of a population climbing the stairs of a tower was used by Norbert Elias to depict the development of human knowledge. I propose to interpret it as an image of progress, both of humanity as a whole and of science as a specialized, detached type of social knowledge. After commencing with a discussion of the roles played by metaphors in social sciences in general, I go on to decode the heuristic potential of the climbing picture, presenting certain aspects of Elias’s philosophy of human relations and ethics of social sciences. I argue that Elias’s approach may serve as a new picture of scientific and social progress, distinctly different from and independent of its Enlightenment and evolutionary predecessors, although resembling them in their optimism and belief in the controlling function of rationality.
Read more