Sociologický ústav SAV | Institute for sociology of SAS

Research projects

Application of general sociological theories in the analysis of social problems in Slovakia

Programme: VEGA

Principal investigator: Mgr. Miroslav Tížik PhD.
Duration: 1 / 2011 - 12 / 2013
Project VEGA no 2/0119/11

Team members: Mgr. Miroslav Tížik PhD., PhDr. Zuzana Kusá, CSc., Mgr. Katarína Strapcová, PhD., PhDr. Andrej Findor PhD. (FSEV UK), PhDr. Bohumil Búzik, Mgr. David Kostlán

Scientific colaborators in 2011: doc. Csaba Szaló (MU v Brne) Daniel Škobla, PhD. (UNDP), Joseph Grimm Feindberg (Chicago University), PhDr. Miroslav Dopita, PhD. (UP Olomouc)

Project summary:
The project confronts several pivotal topics of Slovak sociology and other social-science disciplines (social structure, inequalities, power, social discourse, public, religion, integration, precarity etc.) with influential general sociological theories of P. Bourdieu, J. Habermas and A. Giddens. It aims at the examination of the explanatory power of these theoretical models, which were developed in specific contexts of French, German and British societies, in the historical-cultural conditions of Slovak society. Moreover, the project’s objective is to strengthen and promote theoretical framework of sociological research in selected areas of Slovak sociology and improve theoretical explanation of topical social issues. Last, but not least, the goal of the project is to stimulate interest of Slovak scientists in the practical use and examination of universal applicability of explanatory schemes of these sociological theories. This will be mainly achieved by organisation of workshops and scientific conferences.

Scientific goals for whole period of this project:
The goal of the project is to analyse and reflect on possible applications of three contemporary most influential sociological theories in the analysis of social problems in Slovakia. These selected sociological theories also represent three fundamental historical pillars of European sociology: French (Bourdieu), British (Giddens) and German (Habermas) traditions. First aim of the project is to examine the existing applications and inspirations of these theories in Slovak social sciences. Secondly, the project aims to provide a closer look at the sociological relevance of these influential theories, especially their ambitions to offer a universal explanatory framework of diverse social processes. Third and most important goal of the project is to scrutinise the explanatory power of these universalist theories in a different historical and socio-cultural context as were the ones in which they were developed by means of their application in studying the selected social problems of contemporary Slovakia (social structure, inequalities, cohesion, classes, power, discourse, integration, public space, religion, precarity, and nationalism). Critical reflection of analytical limits of these “big” and globally influential sociological theories, which are often considered to be the main source of “travelling concepts” is the necessary precondition for their successful analytical adaption in researching of problems set in different configuration of conditions as these theories initially presupposed. Prevailing practice of sociological analysis in focusing at the description of partial sociological problems resulted in the weakening of theoretical foundations of scientific argumentation and solid analytical perspective as well as to the deficit of overarching thinking contained in the framework of general and universalist sociological theories. Theory which enables to unify the fragmented sociological field must be based on permanent confrontation with empirical manifestations of social life – a litmus test of its adequacy.
Institute for Sociology of SAS, Klemensova 19, 813 64 Bratislava, Slovak Republic