In Search of Academic Excellence

Social Sciences and Humanities in Focus (Vol. I)

by Agnieszka Gromkowska-Melosik (Volume editor) Bartosz Hordecki (Volume editor) Tomasz R. Szymczyński (Volume editor)
©2022 Edited Collection 304 Pages
Open Access


All texts in this volume give an opportunity to reflect in-depth on the opportunities, challenges and difficulties associated with the continuous transformation of higher education and scientific activities. In this context, the concept of “scientific excellence” has been perceived as a guiding idea in the scholars’ efforts. At the same time, it can be seen as an ideal that can never be achieved but towards which one ought to strive persistently. Additionally, the pursuit of perfection is accompanied by paradoxes, which have been pointed out many times in the history of human thought. The volume embodies the belief in the existence of an invisible college understood as a research community embodied by young scientists starting their academic path inspired by recognized professors.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the editors
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • Preface
  • Introduction: Reconsidering Ph.D. Studies in Social Sciences and Humanities in Poland: Between Tradition and Innovation (Agnieszka Gromkowska-Melosik, Bartosz Hordecki, Michał Klichowski, Paulina Pospieszna, Anna Sakson-Boulet, and Tomasz R. Szymczyński)
  • Education in the Anthropocene: Sustainability, Mimesis, Rituals (Christoph Wulf)
  • Interdisciplinary Research: Opportunities and Challenges (Paulina Kewes)
  • Educating Cyber-Wisdom: Theoretical Underpinnings and Practical Implications (Tom Harrison)
  • Toward a Civically Engaged Teacher Identity: Qualitative Analysis of a Service Learning Project in Educators Training (Juan Luis Fuentes, Ángela Sirera, and Paloma Redondo-Corcobado)
  • The Role of Think Tanks in US Policy Toward Iran (Radosław Fiedler)
  • In the Grip of Science: Youth and Professional Career in the World of Global Change (Agnieszka Cybal-Michalska)
  • Educational Research from the Perspective of Comparative Pedagogy (Tomasz Gmerek)
  • School and Cultural Assimilation: Dimensions of Assimilation Politics in Education (Jarema Drozdowicz)
  • The Founding and Development of the University of Oxford (Marcin Gierczyk)
  • University Social Responsibility and Cooperation with Business (Anna Sobczak)
  • Forms of Cooperation Between Local Governments and the Implementation of Senior Policy: Case of Metropolis Poznań (Maciej Górny, and Artur Marcin Lorek)
  • Mediatization of Contemporary Armed Conflicts and the Importance of Media Coverage: The CNN Effect and the Diffused War Concept (Krzysztof Grządzielski)
  • Rohingya Muslims’ Ethnogenesis and Their History Until the Fall of Socialism in Myanmar in 1988 (Mirosław Jaremba)
  • Perception of Own and Another’s Medical Condition Among Women Suffering from Endometriosis (Marlena Kaźmierska)
  • Adulthood in the Self-Identification of Academic Youth (Alicja Ławiak)
  • Evolutionary Perspectives on Singlehood: Fear of Being Single, Relationship Status Satisfaction, and Sociosexual Orientation (Radosław Trepanowski, Monika Frydrychowicz, fJulia Pradelok, Dominika Zyśk, and Wiktoria Szott)

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The concept of excellence can be approached in a similar way as the idea of beauty or good with reference to Plato’s school of thought. As such, we need to acknowledge that they are absolute and universal. A standard that cannot be transgressed in any way. We need to, however, make every attempt at capturing it. On the other hand, from the perspective of social constructivism, excellence loses its ahistorical and eternal character. Each time, its meaning, range and even form and shape are conditioned by the current socio-cultural or political contexts. From this vantage point, one can even discern what version of excellence is suppressed by the other(s) in the course of history. At times, this happens gradually, yet sometimes such changes are revolutionary in nature (in such cases, we talk of a groundbreaking change). Here, we can adduce painting, literature, architecture as examples of excellence, as well as the feminine and masculine ideals in a somewhat different context of an ideal character. It should also be borne in mind that, in contemporary times, the idea of excellence is overused in countless presentations and thus loses its impact. It can also be inscribed in PR campaigns as in the notorious commercial slogan: Porsche: A history of excellence.

Striving for excellence has always been an integral part of doing research. History of science features various trajectories of shaping and transforming this concept. Here, the idea of a great thinker clashes with the one of an excellently organized research team. Monumental works, on the other hand, can be confronted with publications in renowned, prestigious journals.

With reference to Zbyszek Melosik’s work, one can state that two fundamental yet somewhat contradictory ways of perceiving excellence in research coexist with each other. One of them is expressed by a traditional research biography which has been constructed for decades. The other one, in turn, is related to the highest status and reputation. There are researchers who, for decades, have been setting the standards of excellent science and research identity marked by excellent achievements and their professional conduct. The alternative is based on bibliometric markers. Its essence lies in the adaptability to the (frequently altering) criteria and standards, usually imposed, also by state administration, on the researcher community.

It poses certain difficulty to unequivocally support any of these approaches to excellence in research. Therefore, it might be reasonable to treat them as complimentary.1 However, I tend to think that common features permeate the ←7 | 8→two approaches which can be related to the universal, and in a certain sense absolute, vision of research. They are, as per Z. Melosik’s words, linked to the passion and commitment as well as the originality of thought, responsibility, and ethics, undoubtfully including innovation, new ideas and discoveries. Excellence is not limited to the most renowned researchers and most groundbreaking discoveries. It can be also seen in the work of junior academic staff, doctoral students, as well as excellent achievements in a limited scope. It needs to be borne in mind that every field of study is characterized by various ways of seeing excellence. Above all this key concept should be perceived not as a destination, but a continuous journey that never ends.

Thus, I am convinced that we need to embrace various, at times contradictory, trajectories and variants in research.

Agnieszka Gromkowska-Melosik

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Agnieszka Gromkowska-Melosik, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań

ORCID: 0000-0002-6303-0384, amelka@amu.edu.pl

Bartosz Hordecki, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań

ORCID: 0000-0002-3852-4155, bartosz.hordecki@amu.edu.pl,

Michał Klichowski, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań

ORCID: 0000-0002-1614-926X, klichowski.michal@gmail.com

Paulina Pospieszna, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań

ORCID: 0000-0002-4892-1138, paulina.pospieszna@amu.edu.pl

Anna Sakson-Boulet, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań

ORCID: 0000-0002-4014-7483, anna.sakson@amu.edu.pl

Tomasz R. Szymczyński, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań

ORCID: 0000-0002-7935-1350, tomasz.szymczynski@amu.edu.pl


ISBN (Hardcover)
Open Access
Publication date
2022 (February)
Ph. D. Studies social sciences methodology anthropology of education sociology of education political sciences social psychology
Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2022. 304 pp., 3 fig. b/w, 4 tables.

Biographical notes

Agnieszka Gromkowska-Melosik (Volume editor) Bartosz Hordecki (Volume editor) Tomasz R. Szymczyński (Volume editor)

Agnieszka Gromkowska-Melosik - Professor at the Faculty of Educational Studies - FES of AMU - Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan´. Her research focuses on the socialization and selection-stratification functions of education. Bartosz Hordecki - Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Political Science and Journalism - FPSJ of AMU in Poznan´. He specializes in studies on language politics and policies, political philosophy and political rhetoric. Tomasz R. Szymczyński- Associate Professor at the FPSJ AMU in Poznan´. He concentrates on intercultural political philosophy and methodological proposal of the hermeneutics of multilinguisticality.


Title: In Search of Academic Excellence
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306 pages