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Tying Micro and Macro

What Fills up the Sociological Vacuum?


Mikolaj Pawlak

This study critically discusses the thesis on the sociological vacuum formulated by Stefan Nowak. The author’s aim is to refute the claim that the sociological vacuum is relevant for major social processes occurring in Poland. He presents the sociological vacuum in the context of the debate on micro and macro levels and discusses how the theory of fields and social network analysis is useful to reconcile the micro-macro divide. The book considers the uses of the sociological vacuum in explaining such phenomena as the Solidarność social movement, civil society, social capital, and democracy. In the empirical part, the author confronts the data on identifications with the data on relations and claims that the vacuum is not in the society but it in sociology.

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This book has been written thanks to the financial support of National Science Center (Narodowe Centrum Nauki) and presents the results of the research project “What Fills up the Sociological Vacuum? The Reinterpretation of Stefan Nowak’s Thesis from a Network Perspective, as Exemplified by the Labor Market Behaviors” (DEC-2012/07/D/HS6/00977). I am very thankful to my good friend and statistical data wizard, Michał Kotnarowski, who worked with me as the key investigator in this research project. The friendly atmosphere of the Institute of Social Prevention and Resocialization at the University of Warsaw – where I am happy to be employed as assistant professor – is a merit of its director, Danuta Lalak. The vigorous discussions during the work on this volume were possible thanks to the intellectual diversity of the Chair of Sociology of Norms, Deviance, and Social Control headed by Jerzy Kwaśniewski; not without significance was the scholarly curiosity of Joanna Zamecka. I had the opportunity to present my thoughts on the topic of sociological vacuum in various formal and less formal occasions. My inspirations came from various discussions and critical comments of Mikołaj Cześnik, Mateusz Fałkowski, Piotr Kulas, Adriana Mica, Jakub Motrenko, Ireneusz Sadowski, and Andrzej Zybała. I have also received advice and various kinds of help from Izabela Bukraba-Rylska, Jarosław Kilias, Ireneusz Krzemiński, Aleksander Manterys, Agnieszka Nowakowska, Jakub Pawlak, Irena Rzeplińska, Tadeusz Szawiel, and Kacper Wierzbicki, to all of whom I am indebted. Dealing with the administrative aspect of the...

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