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Last updated Mai. 29, 2007

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English Abstracts 1996






















English Abstracts 1996
Edition 1/1996

 
Dirk Baecker
Culture's Objection

Culture traditionally means fostering, admiration and comparison. This notion of culture needs upgrading since the social sciences recently began to relabel themselves as "cultural sciences" and started to review their subject, their procedure and their way to see themselves. Herbert Marcuse already emphasized that such an upgrading demands to be handled in "theoretical" terms. Culture, the article argues, relies on three and more-valued distinctions. Its objection to binary distinctions of all kinds is to indicate a Tertium Datur. As such an objection culture is produced and reproduced by society. Culture is a play entertained by society in order to be able to review the frames it relies on.



 
Michèle Lamont
The Nature of Virtue: Symbolic Boundaries in the French and American Upper-Middle Classes

This paper analyzes the social definitions of "a worthy person" that predominate in the French and American upper-middle classes. More specifically, it identifies types of symbolic boundaries, i. e. implicit definitions of the "pure" and the "impure", produced by interviewees when they discuss people who are "better" and "worse" than - or similar to and different from - themselves. The analysis is based on one hundred and sixty interviews which I conducted with randomly sampled college-educated white male professionals, managers and businessmen living in and around Indianapolis, New York, Paris and Clermont-Ferrand. Three types of boundaries emerge from the interviews: moral, cultural and social boundaries. I compare the relative salience of these boundaries across samples to discover that cultural exclusion, which is the most prominent type of exclusion in French society, is considerably less important in the United States. Americans most frequently draw symbolic boundaries on the basis of worldly success while moral exclusion ist equally salient in both societies. These findings bring a new dimension to the cultural capital literature as they indicate that traits other than command of high culture are central to the upper-middle class. These findings are also indicative of differences in broad national cultural patterns in France and the United states.



 
Stephen Kalberg
West German and American Interaction Forms: One Level of Structured Misunderstandig

Forms of interaction are seldom addressed in comparative perspective. This investigation based on field notes and interviews examines the manner in which a series of American and Western German patterns of interpersonal relations diverge. The insider/outsider, public/private, Freundschaft/friendship dichotomies, as well as modes of speaking and group dynamics, are discussed. A series of regular and structured misunderst"ndigs may result when Americans and Western Germans come into contact.



 
Franz Schultheis et al.
A Cross-cultural Comparison of Representations of Social Space. On the Criticism of Sociology's Powers of Judgement

This paper introduces an intercultural comparative view based in the sociology of knowledge regarding collective representations of the social space in two neighbouring European countries, France and Germany. Both countries differ quite fundamentally regarding their respective stat(e)istical classification systems ("professional position" or "socio-professional categories"), e.g. the official taxonomies of the social world legitimized by the state, which seems to pose almost insurmontable theoretical and methodological problems for intercultural comparative social structure analysis.A qualitative experimental study provided the basis for an aproach to the comparison of societies which refrains from the use of separatley prestructured, socio-historically ingrained conceptual categories - the norm in comparative studies, which inevitably results in the comparaison of the incomparable or the neglect of viable comparaisons. In contrast, this experiment entailed the attempt to study the classification logic of subjects on opposite sides of the Rhine "in action", as it were, to systematically compare the logic behind their respective procedures and products.The striking differences between the German and French results of the classification exercise primarily featured the strong French orientation toward the official socio-professional categories of the national statistical office (INSEE), in contrast to apparently arbitrary lables attached to government statistics by the German testpersons, while the processural logical of both national groups was clearly hierarchical. Finally, the differences between the respective classifications used in every-day life and between the official taxonomies of the social space were studied regarding their respective social construction and the underlying social conditions, leading to a discussion of the relative share of sociology in the public representations of the social world and the "common sense of social structure" in the two concerned countries.



 
Ludgera Vogt
Honoring in Changing Systems. On Honor and Its social Functions under conditions of radical political change

Honor is an important factor in the structuration process of modern societies. In the social life of our days its main functions are social integration, differentiation and the generation of power. One of the main forms of institutionalization of honor is the interaction pattern of honring. In modern societies public honoring directs the constitution and distribution of honor. The article first gives some theoretical perspectives and then analyzes the logic of honring in four short case studies taken from the situation of radical change after 1989. Change-overs and transformation processes offer very good insights into the basic mechanisms of honor. The case studies deal with, amongst others, the honors bestowed on Czech reform politicians, on the former chief of the SED Erich Honecker, and on Manfred Stolpe, now Prime Minister of Brandenburg. Finally, the question is raised in how far honor always transcends the borderlines between the subsystems of modern societies.



 
Michael Schwab-Trapp
Narration and political discourse. Reflections on the transformation of political culture in reunified Germany

In the last few years in social science, culture has become more important in explaining social action. However, there isn't any detailed theory of culture. The following article introduces a cultural-anthropological and linguistic approach. This approach refers to the concept of political culture and reconstructs a political conflict about National Socialism. The analysis of this conflict concentrates on questions about the change of the German political culture and the relationship between structure and event.




















English Abstracts 1996
Edition 2/1996

 
John Rex
Multi-Culturalism in Europe and North America

This article compares the debate about multi-culturalism as it has emerged in Western Europe and North America. So far as the former is concerned, it sets out a model of an egalitarian multicultural society which insists upion a shared political culture in the public domain but allows for the fostering minority culturesin the private communal domain. It sets out some of the difficulties with which this model has been confronted by European social scientiests dealing especially with the relations between the Welfare State and institutions for multi-cultural consultation. In the United States case the debate about multi-culturalism is shown to deal with two issues: disillusionment with the process of affirmative action and the possibility of the unity of American culture and society being destroyed. Finally the separate case of Canada is considered, differing from that of the United States, in that Canada lacks the American heritage of slavery and is based in the public sphere on two founding nations.



 
Robert Hettlage
Multicultural Society: Multicultural society between contact, concurrence and accomodation

In order to understand multiculturalism it is necessary to be aware of the different meanings and concepts of culture. During the last centuries culture was more and more connected with nation. Nowadays nation and multicultural society are often in conflict with one another. The nation state, which kept strangers from rights of participation is confronted with the problem that stangers are an increasingly common phenomenon. Multicultural society first of all concerns the question whether this is only an intermediate stage to global monoculture or if there is (over time) a possibility of different cultures existing peacefully side by side (polyculture). There are different models of multiculturalism (models of equality and models of dominance), all of them have to answer the question about how much difference is possible without threatening a basic consensus. Looking at the European Union one can easily see the number of difficulties coming along with multicultural society. Postmodernists here often disregard the identity generating function of boundaries.



 
Yasemin N. Soysal
Changing Citizenship in Europe: Remarks on Postnational Membership and the National State

Based on an analysis of the membership of postwar international migrants, I examine the changes in the meaning and organization of citizenship in Europe. My underlying argument is that in the postwar era citizenship has undergone a profound change, through which the two major components of citizenship -- identity and rights -- are increasingly decoupled. Rights that were once associated with belonging in a national community have become increasingly abstract, and legitimated at the transnational level, within a general framework of "human rights." Identities, in contrast, are still perceived as particularized and territorially bounded. This change in the institution of citizenship articulates a paradoxical dialectic: while nation-states and their boundaries are reified through assertions of border controls and appeals to nationhood, a new mode of membership, anchored in the universalistic rights of personhood, transgress the national order of things. I explain this paradox by the consolidation of transnational ideologies and institutions in the postwar era, which concurrently define universal individual rights and national sovereignty as global level organizing principles.



 
Lucian Kern
Selten and the Separatists. A Game-theoretic Analysis of the Chechen Conflict and a Generalization

Selten's Chain store paradox (1978) is used in order to explain the continuing mi-litary intervention of Russia in Chechnya. In Selten's paradox the monopolist ap-plies a strategy of predatory pricing against the first entrant into the market in or-der to deter further entrants. Likewise, Russia tries to deter other regions from their declaration of independence by using a strategy of strong military inter-vention against Chechnya. Because of the Chechen military counter-strategy this resulted in a spiral of military escalation, whose end is not to be foreseen.



 
Peter Noller/Klaus Ronneberger
Globalization and Urban Professionals. The New Cosmopolitan Service Class

Current sociological debates about globalisation generally treat it as a large-scale phenomenon which predominates over local developments. The influence of local and national space tends to be underestimated. This holds also for the analysis of those internationally oriented professional milieus whose local influence economic and cultural creates globalisation in the first place, and who are the bearers of a specialised "cosmopolitan" form of knowledge and expertise. Based on a micrological study carried out in Frankfurt am Main, the orientations and attitudes of urban professionals towards an multi-cultural society are investigated. The results show the cosmopolitanism of the service industry to be a kind of ideology of space which could be termed "global postmodernism". This is a modernised form of eurocentrism, the central characteristic of which consists in the ability to integrate and exploit a multiplicity of cultural differences. This hierarchical attitude towards the world based on an unquestionaed acceptance of the power gradient between "West" und "The Rest" is tied to a conception of society which is both class-based and mulicultural.



 
Stefan Breuer
From Tönnies to Weber. The Question of a "German Line" in Sociology

Early German sociology has two characteristics which set it apart from the versions developed in France and Great Britain. Firstly, it devotes more attention to the phenomenon of rationalisation rather than that of differentiation, and secondly, it searches for ways of limiting or even doing away with rationalisation by means of a specifically German order. This dual orientation is especially apparent in Tönnies, while its roots can be traced back partly to Schopenhauer and partly to the philosophy of German idealism. Sombart, Scheler and Simmel did not step outside the framework created by Tönnies. By contrast, Max Weber's work can be interpreted as an attempt to free the concept of rationalisation from its nationalistic German connotations and to link it to liberal Western traditions of thought.



 
Stefan Müller-Doohm
Sociology's Search for Answers Following Auschwitz: T. W. Adorno's Work in Empirical Social Research in Post-war Germany

This article throws light on one aspect of the recent history of sociology. It deals with Adorno's return to Germany and the teaching and research work he performed in sociology during the 1950s at the reestablished Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt am Main. In reviewing this period the author clearly demonstrates that the experience Adorno had gathered in the United States while working with the "Radio Research Project" and the "Authoritarian Personality" led him to become an advocate of the mutual and complementary investigation of empirical social research and social theory. In his practical attempt to justify this viewpoint, he carried out a project based procedurally on group discussion methodology. The project's thematic objective was to research the anti-democratic potential, or, to be more precise, the political awareness of Germans and their relationship with their Nazi past and with Anti-Semitism. For the modern observer, the results of this research on what is commonly called Vergangenheitsbewältigung (dealing with, or coming to terms with, the past) bear an astounding degree of relevance to the present day. They remind us of Adorno's public warning that National Socialist sentiment would live on within the democratic order. For this reason, sociology must dedicate itself to researching the social causes of what happened in order to prevent it form happening again. As a science of enlightnment, sociology must focus its scrutiny on this most devastating chapter of German history. Only thus can it help create the groundwork for a new moral and spiritual beginning.




















English Abstracts 1996
Edition 3/1996

 
Stefan Hradil
The Transformation of Transformation Research

It is quite true that a great many research programs have been published, projects carried out and publications distributed concerning the transformation of the political and economic system in what was East Germany. But it is also now becoming clear that demand for information on this subject has reached a certain degree of saturation. People speak of three reasons for this: a "subjective" saturation on the part of the recipients, an "objective" saturation in terms of research, as the further paths of development are already known, and the idea that continued research is of no benefit because the transformation is, after all, complete. While the last reason may be untenable, the first two reasons are on target insofar as an initial phase of transformation research has been concluded. What is needed now is clear progress in the direction of networking, consistency, comparative research and linking theory to practice. Concrete proposals on how to best achieve these goals are made here.



 
Klaus von Beyme
The Short Special Path Taken in the Ex-GDR to Avoid a New Special Path for All of Germany: The Transformation of East Germany Compared With Other Post-Communist Systems

Germany suffers from the image always in the history have presured a "special road" different from our Western more modernized neighbours. In the moment when Germany after reunification developed as a national state like others Germany by ist highly West-directed way of integration (some people call it "colonisation") has started a new special development. The Machiavellian strategy of take-over of East German statehood in the first phase seemed to be nessesary because of reasons of foreign policy. Later the constraints were home-made because the government wanted to secure the irreversibility of process wich cost so much Westgerman money. East Germany insisted on quick equalisation of wages wich contributed to the deindustrialisation of the country because the East Germans were not ready to serve for a while as a country of "cheap wages" such as neighbouring Czechia. East Germany thus developed into a functional equivalent of the former Eastern Oder-Neiss-territories lost in 1945. But inspite of the economic crises there are a number of promising processes of modernization wich in the long run offer the former GDR better clings to ist old-fashioned industrial strategies of the 1960s.



 
Gisela Trommsdorff
Transformation Research as a Challenge for Psychology

Transformation research has, up to now, been acknowledged as a field of social scientific research and is rarely perceived as a problem area by psychologists. In view of the questions brought forth by the transformation process, this situation can hardly be advocated. Psychology has many well-founded theoretical approaches and methods available so that the treatment of such questions would be profitable for further psychological theory-building as well as for the social sciences on the whole. This would be counteract the trend that psychology has lost sight of social context as a research topic. In this paper, several areas will be outlined in wich psychological research coulde make a substantial contribution. Furthermore, approaches that have made already proven useful for psychological research on social change will be summarized.



 
Hildegard Maria Nickel
Feminist Critique of Society or Selfreferential Debate? A (East German) Interpolation on Womens's and Gender Studies

This article first examines the relative importance over time of women's and gender studies within German sociology in general and in the former East Germany after such studies were reestablished in the new federal states. The author reveals mechanisms of "institutional evasion" of this topic, mechanisms which even today result in the "ghettoization" of "genus-centered" research and the structural discrimination of women in sociology. Next, the author problemizes the traditional thinking of East German women in the field of feminist research and their experiences of professionalization in this area. The article then takes up the discourse currently under way in the new German gender studies community. It becomes clear that not only do a series of research questions remain unanswered, they have yet to be asked at all. In consequence, the article advances both more support for empirical research, in particular research dealing with the (social and gender-related) transformation process, and - in the face of a radical social reorganization which has been detrimental to women - the dimension of social criticism in feminist research.



 
Helga A. Milz
On the Sociology of Women's. A wareness in the Two Germanies - Paradigm Shift in Women's Research in East and West

Empiricism in the study of women's awareness is considered a "poor cousin" of German sociology. Empirical researchers - uncritically premising their work on the well-being of the family - primarily examine how women cope with their dilemma of combining career and family. Standard interpretations diagnose dissatisfaction, unfulfilled wants and a wide range of deficiencies; androcentric criteria are never met by women. A shift in paradigm exposing such a viewpoint as wanting was first brought about through the work of German researchers following reunification. It has been shown that women's social awareness reflects parallel socialization processes in and between two spheres and generates women's subcultures as well as intermediate orientations. Research into women's awareness in former East Germany has revealed striking parallels to intermediate orientation, but also marked differences. The lives of East Germans are more consistently centered around their careers, they revolve more around their children, housework is "the woman's job", but merely a "sidetrack". Women display more self-confidence. They regard men as a cooperative partner rather than the "family bread-winner". The assimilation process in unified Germany, which normally involves the East adapting to the West, could do with a turn-about: emancipation in the form of a complex equality, integrating strategies of sameness and differentness, is the most likely to merge the various alternatives in East and West.



 
Willfried Spohn
On the Program and the Development of the New Historical Sociology

On the backdrop of the uneven development of the historical sociology in Anglo-American against German sociology, this contribution attempts to outline the methodological program and the research tendencies in the Anglo-American historical sociology. The first part develops the programmatic visions or postulates of the new historical sociology: the methodological mediation of sociology and history, of past and present, and of action, structures and process as well as the analytical importance of the link between macro- and micro-levels, of comparative research strategies, and of sociological methods adaequate to the historicity of social reality. The second part presents an outline of the consequences of these methodological postulates for the practise of historical-sociological research: the tendency toward contextualization, i.e. a growing sensivity of the time-space-boundedness of social reality and the tendency toward "culturalization", i.e. a growing inclusion of cultural factors or dimensions and cultural approaches in historical-sociological research. This contribution is a plea for giving the new historical sociology its proper place in German sociology, too.



 
Walter Reese-Schäfer
Diagnosis of Our Time Viewed as a Scientific Task

The contribution provides an overview of a research project in the field of the history of ideas which focuses on the methods, techniques and principal content of contemporary diagnosis-based analysis and judgement in the 20th century. Adopting a philosophical approach, the project takes a look at the analytical form of contemporary diagnosis itself and poses the question as to the methods used by the latter which are intended to provide knowledge, the nature of this knowledge and the nature of the actual object of analysis. The externally imposed requirement made of the social sciences to proffer relevant contributions as regards the imperative of a diagnosis of the contemporary world is intended to be linked to a strict appraisal of the material used through the development of imminent judgement criteria. The material used for the project consists of approx. 60 influential contemporary diagnosis studies in the western world ranging from George Simmel, Ortega y Gasset, Karl Mannheim, David Riesman, John Kenneth Galbraith, Denis Meadows, Ronald Inglehart to Jean-FranAois Lyotard, Ulrich Beck, Ralf Dahrendorf and Zygmunt Bauman. Whereas in the first half of the century a critique of mass society was of foremost concern, today's characteristic main subjects include greater individualisation and ecology.



 
Raj Kollmorgen
Non-university Sociology and Unity

This article examines the transformation of the non-university sector of sociological research in eastern Germany. The centralized non-university sociological institutes as well as other institutes for the social sciences in the new federal states were dismantled without replacement. This loss, both in terms of personnel and scientific expertise, could not be compensated for, despite ambitious financial support and integration programs and the independent founding of private research institutes. A good third of the sociologists employed by non-university institutes in the GDR found themselves out of a job or went into retirement following German unification. Around 40 % are still performing scientific work, though only a small portion have permanent positions or opportunities for academic advancement. The mobility patterns of sociologists differ depending on institution. The major variables include the typical qualifications, research subjects and organization, location and political influence. Due to the winding up of these institutes without replacement and the general prevalence of West German scientists, further financial assistance, in particular for young scientists, is called for. The article also argues for the establishment of a non-university social research institute in Eastern Germany.



 
Richard Stöss/Oskar Niedermayer
The Berlin Land Election of 22nd October, 1995: Everything as It Was, Yet Many Things Different

The continuity in the distribution of power by the revival of the Grand Coalition after the 1995 election should not conceal the fact that the Berlin party system has changed. The established parties were weakened, especially the SPD wich had to take one of the severest defeats of its history, and the FDP wich was electorally marginalized. The Greens and the PDS, however, could strengthen their influence and therefore limit the room for manoeuvre of the government. The detailed analysis of the election shows two things: On the one hand, the Berlin election results are not suitable for constructing an all-German trend, because the SPD defeat and the PDS victory are to a large extent based on Berlin-specific factors. On the other hand, the "legends" about the spectacular victory of the PDS, its development to a catch-all Party and its ability to mobilize protest voters are empirically unfounded.




















English Abstracts 1996
Edition 4/1996

 
Klaus Müller
Contingencies of Transformation

Following the unexpected collapse of Soviet-style socialism, sociologists are confronted with yet another unforeseen development, namely the uncertain course of post-communist crises which make it far from clear what sort of society will emerge in Eastern Europe. In finding answers to the somewhat speculative question being asked here, it is first suggested that the issue be broken down according to its various aspects. To get an idea of what the cloudy future of post-communist societies may be like, it is helpful to consider alternative scenarios, the feasibility of which are discussed in the light of the lessons that can be learned from post-war modernization in Western Europe and the transition to democracy in Southern Europe. In so doing, the concept of structured contingency developed in the context of transition research has proved theoretically useful. This concept should not be understood as a supplement to sociological modernization theories, but rather as a challenge to them.



 
Paul Windolf
The Transformation of East German Enterprises

The transformation of the East German Economy between 1989 and 1995 is analyzed in this paper. In the first part, the role of the Treuhand-Anstalt in the privatization process is investigated. Approx. 72% of East German firms belong to West (German) corporations. More than half of the firms are classified as "extended workshops". They were deprived of departments that are essential for economic autonomy (e.g. sales, R&D). The second part of the paper concentrates on mobility processes of managers between 1989 and 1995. Approx. 85% of East German managers held similar positions already before 1989. They were successful in keeping their jobs or in being promoted to senior management positions (reproduction of the economic elite). Approx. 44% of East German managers had been members of the communist party before 1989.



 
Anton Sterbling
Social Structure in South-Eastern Europe Societies and the boundaries of class-theoretical categories

Moving on from both the older and the more modern arguments concerning the usefulness and limitations of the categories employed in class theory analysis, Sterbling brings together historical and recent discoveries on social structure which clearly support the hypothesis that the principle of class creation has not come to dominate the structure in any of the South-East European societies subjected to closer examination. Instead, social structures in these societies are to a considerable extent characterized by a complex combination of three other structural principles, namely political exclusion, meritocratic and functional differentiation and traditional exclusion based on sociocultural, in particular ethnic affiliation.



 
Mate Szabo
Political Protest in the Post-Communist Hungary between 1989 and 1994

Modern theories about forms of protests and social movements concern themselves for the most part with the experience of Western democracies. In this form, therefore, such theories are unsuited to the study of analogous phenomena in communist and post-communist systems. Basing his work on analyses of newspaper reports, SzabU first traces the development of political protests and the nature of the forms of protests seen in Hungary in the years 1989 to 1994. His second step is to identify the relevant lines of conflict and division which, at various times and for various reasons, have resulted in the political mobilization of different groups of people and the types of protest activities typical for the country. During the discussion, the author directs special focus to the specific "post-communist" cleavages which have arisen out of the transformation process experienced in formerly socialist societies.



 
Rainer Geissler
Social Structure Analysis in the GDR - Results and Problems. A ciritical stock-taking of the driving-forces debate and the social mobility research

The article deals with two relevant and interesting fields of social structure analysis in the GDR: with the debate on the so-called "social driving forces" (socialist functionalism) and with social mobility research. The development of the research questions and approaches is described, analysed and criticized. It is shown, how East German sociology had to find a "dialectic balance" between the official dogmatic prescriptions and contrary scientific recognition. East German concepts, theories, methods and results are compared with West German social structure analysis; they are evaluated with regard to the question, whether these approaches are adequate instruments to analyse social problems in unified Germany: while socialist functionalism has become irrelevant with the implosion of the socialist system, the dynamic approach of social inequality and socialization respective educational chances are worth to be continued.



 
Jürgen Gerhards
Religion and the Spirit of Capitalism: A Comparison of Attitudes to Work and the Economic Order in the USA and Spain

This essey takes up Max Weber's thesis that the spirit of capitalism has its roots in protestantism. The author's objecitve is to examine this thesis by conducting a secondary analysis of an international study on values which surveyed a number of values held by citizens of different nations. Following a summary of Weber's thesis on protestantism, the author proposes hypotheses on what differences in attitude concerning work and the economic order might be expected between catholics and protestants and between people in the USA and Spain. He goes on to elaborate on the methods employed and concludes with a verification of his hypotheses based on the results of his evaluation of the international study on values.



 
Gerhard Preyer
Two Problems of Construct connected with the "Communicative Action Theory"

The "Theory of Communicative Action" of Jürgen Habermas found international resonance in philosophy and sociology. Controversial points in this conception are the formal-pragmatic theory of meaning as a foundation of a sociological theory of action, the structural model of societal rationalization and the explantion of the structure of modern societies with a theory of differentiation. Above all his criticism of Talcott Parsons (that Parsons' sociology can not explain social pathologies) is disputed. This essay examines Habermas' formal-pragmatic theory of meaning, and the differenziation theory of modern societies (following R. Münch) and his criticism of Parsons, and argues that Hobbes' solution to the problem of order has an evolutionary significance and that the foundation of a theory of social action has to differentiate between the theory of meaning of language behaviour and the systematization of the structure of social action.