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Berliner Journal für Soziologie
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Institut für Sozialwissenschaften
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Last updated Mai. 29, 2007

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Contents - Issue 1/2005



Klaus Eder
Editorial     p. 3

Friedrich Pohlmann
Heinrich Popitz – Outlines of his Thought and Work    p. 5
          Abstract

Dominik Sommer
Mass Art for the Market. The Origin of Horkheimer’s and Adorno’s Cultural-Industry Thesis in Toqueville’s Diagnosis of Art in Democratic Societies    p. 25
          Abstract

Elke Wagner
Social Criticism and Sociological Enlightenment. Convergence and Divergence between Adorno and Luhmann    p. 37
          Abstract

Uwe Wilkesmann
The Organization of Knowledge Work    p. 55
          Abstract

Paul Schmelzer
The Influence of Institutional Changes on the Structure of Networks. Weak Ties and Strong Ties in East Germany before and after 1989    p. 73
          Abstract

Berndt Keller/Rainer Schnell
Social Structure and Problems of Interest Representation in the Public Sector. An Empirical Analysis of Staff Councils in West and East Germany    p. 87
          Abstract

Susanne Frank
Gender Trouble in Paradise. The Changing North American Suburbia    p. 103
          Abstract



Review Essay

Peter Hägel
Governing without sovereignty?    p. 121



Communications and Reports

Margit Weihrich
Staging Inequality. Report on the 32. Congress of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Soziologie in Munich    p. 131

Irmhild Saake
Asymmetric Presents – Solidary Futures. Report on the 32. Congress of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Soziologie in Munich    p. 138

Fritz Thyssen Foundation Award for Social Science Articles published in Journals in 2003 (founded by Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Erwin K. Scheuch)    p. 143

Schaderpreis awarded to Ulrich Beck     p. 144










Abstracts Issue 1/2005


 

Berliner Journal für Soziologie 15, Issue 1

Friedrich Pohlmann
Heinrich Popitz – Outlines of his Thought and Work

Heinrich Popitz, who died in 2002, was one of the most important scholars of post-war and contemporary sociology in Germany. Popitz had a unique style of thinking, which consisted of two particular characteristics: on the one hand, the anthropological dimension, manifested throughout his quest for the basic structures of human society – and on the other hand, the artistic dimension of his scholarly writings, which can be viewed as fine works of art. Popitz’ work develops within four social scientific fields: the sociology of power, the sociology of norms, the sociology of technology and the social anthropology of creativity. Thus his work is both a subtle comment and an answer to Georg Simmel’s question „How is society possible?“
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Berliner Journal für Soziologie 15, Issue 1

Dominik Sommer
Mass Art for the Market. The Origin of Horkheimer’s and Adorno’s Cultural-Industry Thesis in Toqueville’s Diagnosis of Art in Democratic Societies

Max Horkheimer’s and Theodor W. Adorno’s theory of culture-industry is based on the sociology of art in Alexis de Tocqueville’s second volume of Democracy in America. The article shows how Horkheimer and Adorno subsumed the empirical findings of Tocqueville’s art-diagnosis of democratic societies under their own culture-industrial manipulation perspective. Aiming at the average audience, mediocrity, public taste, entertaining interest and social indifference are characteristics of the market-mediated artistic products of Tocqueville’s democracy as well as of the products of Horkheimer’s and Adorno’s culture-industry. Tocqueville’s democratic person demands self-reference regarding the content of her or his everyday life in art and, as a result, the work of art loses its sublime character. Analogue to this, the culture-industrial products analyzed by the Frankfurt School theorists duplicate the reality and therefore lose their society-transcending content. Since Tocqueville’s democracy is fundamentally connected to the economic effort of the individual, Horkheimer and Adorno can extend his empirical findings of commercial popular art within their own late-capitalistic manipulation hypothesis of capitalist power. The concept of the identical („Das Identische“) in Horkheimer’s and Adorno’s culture-industry corresponds to Tocqueville’s tyranny of unanimity in democratic societies; the concept of the non-identical of art in the bourgeois social philosophy to the personal freedom of the French aristocrat.
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Berliner Journal für Soziologie 15, Issue 1

Elke Wagner
Social Criticism and Sociological Enlightenment. Convergence and Divergence between Adorno and Luhmann

Difference versus mediation, observed, polycontextural reality versus monocontextural false reality – this formula could be used to paraphrase the differences between the theoretical concepts of Theodor W. Adorno and Niklas Luhmann. In my contribution I argue that taking recourse to functional analysis puts us in a position to show how both authors solve certain mutual problems. Both address the problem of a sociological description of the emergence of the social by favoring universal theory over empirical research. Both insist that a universal theory must show that research cannot claim a non-situated point of view, and that it is necessary to both conceptualize and bear the impossibility of an ultimate foundation for one’s own position. This impertinence can take either the form of paradoxy or aporia. Luhmann and Adorno both formulate alternatives to the actual by means of a complex language focussing on the category „time“, thus making visible the contingencies of the existing order. The theoretical figures fulfilling this task are unmarked space or the non-identical. While systems theory deconstructs the notion of truth by taking recourse to Spencer-Brown’s theory of distinction, Adorno was still holding on to metaphorical notions of „Versöhnung“ and „Erlösung“ (reconciliation, redemption). The article concludes that systems theory offers a possibility for critique without putting itself in the enlightenment’s tradition of reason.
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Berliner Journal für Soziologie 15, Issue 1

Uwe Wilkesmann
The Organization of Knowledge Work

The article focuses on two questions: How is knowledge work organized and what are the consequences for the concept of organization? Knowledge work is defined as an action without programmed ends and means, therefore constituted by the need for the exchange of data and the interactive generating of new forms of knowledge. The term knowledge work is then reconstructed in the light of the discourse of economics, systems-theory and the sociology of work. It is shown that knowledge work cannot be managed in a traditional way by control and influence from the outside. In the analysis of the means of contextual coordination, the scope of the freedom of action is emphasized, stipulating intrinsic motivation and unintended coordination. When knowledge work is defined in this manner, readjustments to the term of organization have to be made. These are illustrated by drawing on two examples: partnerships and circular organizing.
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Berliner Journal für Soziologie 15, Issue 1

Paul Schmelzer
The Influence of Institutional Changes on the Structure of Networks. Weak Ties and Strong Ties in East Germany before and after 1989

The institutional changes since 1989 in East Germany have had an effect on human and social capital. The transformation from non-market towards market society provides a unique chance to test social theories. The aim of this article is to scrutinize Marc Granovetters statement of the qualitative similarity of networks in market and non-market societies. Being analyzed in terms of economical embeddedness in social relations, networks are assumed to differ only gradually. In opposition to Granovetters considerations Ilja Srubar argues for qualitative differences between networks in the former GDR and Germany since networks in the GDR arose on the ground of scarcity of goods, leading to social relations which can be described in terms of reciprocity. In order to operationalize the qualitative shifts of networks since 1989, two types of networks are distinguished: weak-ties and strong-ties. The findings presented in this article justify Srubar’s considerations: Networks in the former GDR were qualitatively different; Granovetters hypotheses with respect to weak-ties before 1989 could not be approved. Neither could his hypotheses concerning strong-ties be confirmed. Since these are shaped on the basis of scarcity of commodities and not interchangeable, they could not be adjusted to the new market principles.
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Berliner Journal für Soziologie 15, Issue 1

Berndt Keller/Rainer Schnell
Social Structure and Problems of Interest Representation in the Public Sector. An Empirical Analysis of Staff Councils in West and East Germany

The first part of this article presents an empirical summary of the social structure of staff councils in West and East German government agencies (e.g. size, election participation rates, and composition by status and gender). The second part of the article deals with various problems related to interest representation (economic restrictions on the scope of activity, focus of activity, relations between the agency and sectoral levels, and modernization of the public sector in general). In contrast to our initial expectation, despite different history and operating conditions, we observed hardly any differences between East and West Germany, in terms of either council composition or activities and problem areas reported by the councils. It is only a higher female representation and the social consequences of staff reduction that are clearly more common in East Germany. Therefore, action and structures of staff councils seem to be more determined by their operating conditions than by factors of so called „organizational cultures“.
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Berliner Journal für Soziologie 15, Issue 1

Susanne Frank
Gender Trouble in Paradise. The Changing North American Suburbia
The article takes a critical look at the common perception of suburbia as the utmost antifeminist environment within gender-related urban research. By referring to the process of suburbanization in the United States it is demonstrated that Suburbia is indeed a highly gendered social model, strongly connoted to social, cultural, and moral norms and values. But, as the article points out, this conception has at no time been undisputed. It was in particular Suburbia’s gendered character – respectively the gender-images and gender-roles which it is built on and formed by – that has always been, and still is, subject of partly enraged disputes over its negotiation and interpretation. The latter are analyzed along the three phases of the US-American suburbanization process – starting from the Victorian construct of suburbia from the mind of symbolic dichotomies via the Fordist generalization and consolidation of Suburbia to the postfordist dissolution of suburbia into a new city. It becomes clear that social change does not only intensely effect the change of suburban living- and settlement-structures, but that their very change is again of great importance to gender relations.
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