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Abstract

By exploring the professional trajectory of sociologist Gheorghe (George) Retegan (1916–1998), this article addresses the epistemological and personal reconfigurations of the field of social sciences in post-war Romania, highlighting the complex relations and professional rivalries in the field after the Second World War, and their consequences for social knowledge. My study explores Retegan’s published and unpublished works, archival documents, and an interview that Z. Rostás conducted with Retegan in the 1990s. I analyse three research ventures relevant for understanding Retegan’s professional trajectory and methodological choices: the 1948–1950 family budget research that Retegan coordinated at the Central Institute for Statistics; the 1957–1959 monographic research he coordinated at the Institute for Economic Research; and his “farewell” to sociology and specialization in demography beginning in the 1960s. My article documents Retegan’s remarkable capacity to develop research by way of formulating new questions, methodologies, and techniques, on the basis of the main elements of empirical research he learned during his training in sociology under the supervision of Anton Golopenția. Retegan’s contributions to the field of empirical social research suggest how a context that was generally unfavourable for the development of social sciences (1948–1965) could be used in a creative way for the study of the social world. Epistemologically, the survival and even innovation of empirical research under unfavourable ideological and political conditions made possible the rehabilitation of sociology as a discipline in the much more favourable context of the second half of the 1960s.

Abstract

The environment is no longer a backdrop, but an agent pressing us to restructure our economic and political systems, down to our livelihoods. This research aims to make a critical overview of the Sustainable Development (SD) model. It looks at how market fundamentalism and anthropocentrism are driving forces in the shaping of its proposed form of education: education for sustainable development (ESD). This “new” educational paradigm aims to support the SD strategies that are globally implemented and “localized” at the nation-state level. The current SD model and the Agenda 2030 operate within a specific framework of the nature/culture divide, one that reiterates human domination. As such, this research aims to analyse the educational values within the idea of sustainable development – one that wishes to “reorient” society but instead ends up emphasizing it in its anthropocentric form. It does so by close reading and analysis of the UNECE Strategy for Education for Sustainable Development and Romania’s National Strategies for Sustainable Development, 2008 and 2018. Concluding, it might very well be the case that restructuring schooling – and governing - to bring it up to the realities of climate change requires rethinking our fundamental educational values and the nature/culture divide, as well as making nation-states less servient of markets and less growth-oriented.

Abstract

By now a preferred EU instrument aimed at stirring rural development, LEADER initially constituted an alleged departure from the top-down productivist agenda of the CAP towards locally-led development. The exogenous-endogenous explanatory model legitimized the adoption of economistic assumptions into EU rural development policy. As the CAP policy genealogy conveys, agricultural policies occurred at the intersection of internal and external factors, whereas the endogenous framework evicts structural explanations for territorial marginalization. A case study from North-western Romania provides details on the implementation of the endogenous agenda from the perspective of public actors. Rather than inducing an alleged alternative development model, LEADER acts as adjuvant to other policies and, overall, as a pedagogical exercise in uneven development.

Abstract

The paper follows the institutionalization of meritocracy in the Romanian higher education. Using the Romanian experience, the study explores the setting of meritocracy, highlights the revised institutional genesis that led to the adoption of a so-called post-traditional approach, and it reviews the deployment of practices that steered higher education in Romania. In support to these, a reflective stance is employed alongside secondary sources to scrutinize the techniques of control and practices which inform institutional evolution. The research attempts to shed light on the increase of doctrinal entrenchment through which meritocracy justifies academic stratification in a pauper system aspiring to world-class recognition.

Abstract

Gathering social media content and analysing the heavy and unstructured text coming from posts, comments and reactions can come as a powerful tool in understanding how people react to the information they receive. In this article we present the results from a social media analysis of 10771 headlines, with their subsequent text bodies and comments posted in a subreddit destined for Romanians during the state of emergency declared in Romania, from March 16 to May 15, 2020. Our objective was to model the main topics debated by this targeted population of people that tend to use Reddit to discuss current issues and to identify the sentiment polarity towards these topics. As expected, Romanians are mostly concerned with their social condition in the context of the pandemic caused by CoVID-19, as our research has revealed a word frequency for the term “Coronavirus” prominently higher than any other preferred term. However, the analysis brings up a surprising turnaround as the overall sentiment of the text posted in this dataset is predominantly neutral with a higher frequency of positive posts compared to the negative ones. This was unforeseen by our initial expectations: a natural tendency to more negative posts than positive considering the context of the chosen study period. Moreover, when compared to the time series of the CoVID-19 infections and caused deaths in Romania, spikes of extremely high or low mean sentiment scores per day can be correlated to the fluctuations of the declared cases. Not only does this bring us closer to understanding the social impact of CoVID-19 in the current context, but the outcome of this analysis can be easily extrapolated for further investigations upon other social networking tools or for more in-depth analysis on our studied corpus.

Abstract

The article addresses the need to identify and quantify the external costs of air pollution on the health of the population, especially children. The subjects of evaluation are the respiratory illnesses acute nasopharyngitis and acute bronchitis, both of which have very high incidence in connection with air pollution. The aim of this paper is to estimate the cost of morbidity and to determine the amount of additional social costs of airway morbidity among children aged 0–15 years in Ostrava city, one of the most polluted cities in Europe, compared to the incidence of these diseases in the whole Czech Republic. Estimation of social costs is based on the Cost-Of-Illness approach, in which the total value is made up of the costs actually incurred in treating illness and in loss of productivity. Using this approach, additional costs related to the treatment of illnesses were calculated at approximately €20 million per year, which represents approximately 0.4% of Ostrava's regional gross domestic product (GDP).

Abstract

The paper focuses on the main features of corporate volunteering in companies from the Sverdlovsk region (Russian Federation), with a population surpassing 4.5 million inhabitants. Corporate volunteering is analyzed in the context of the trend characteristic for the post-Soviet space. The article systematizes approaches to the definition and study of this phenomenon, implemented by researchers from different countries. The main goal of the article is to identify the specific features of corporate volunteering in a large Russian region, considered typical for industrial territories in post-Soviet areas, seen through the social value that local communities attribute to corporate volunteering. The paper is based on the results of a public opinion poll and structured interviews, carried out in the Sverdlovsk region, where there is a concentration of enterprises of “hard” industries. The responses obtained in the poll were further subjected to analysis using statistical methods. The data are supplemented with information collected through the qualitative interviews. Interviewed experts are the top managers of enterprises and the deputy directors for HR, GR, or social issues. The study shows that in Russian industrial cities, where large enterprises are the main employers for most residents, many questions on the implementation of social policy fall under the responsibility of these enterprises, and not of the local government. Researchers argue that corporate volunteering is not widespread in the large Russian regions. It most often develops within the framework of event planning and environmental projects, managed by enterprises in cooperation with social and cultural institutions of local communities and not with the non-profit sector. The traditions of the organization of mass social work formed during the socialist period are still deeply rooted in enterprises, and managers rarely identify volunteering as a new managerial tool, thus being untangled from the global trend of promoting corporate volunteerism as a means of building corporate culture.

Abstract

This paper deals with the principle of subsidiarity in asylum law. It exposes some of the most important ‘push’ factors that have been considered by the European Union (EU) as arguments for the centralisation of asylum law. Through the application of an economic approach, this text examines the need for harmonization of asylum standards to reach the goal established in Article 5 of the Treaty on European Union. An economic methodology is used to investigate the application of the subsidiarity principle by considering some of the most important economic criteria for both centralisation and decentralisation, and by applying the findings to the asylum law. Specifically, this paper considers the Tiebout model, the problem of the ‘race to the bottom’, the reduction of transaction costs, and the importance of the protection of refugee human rights. These theories are commonly used in the cases of a specific issue with a transboundary nature, which produces [negative] international externalities. In addition, they reflect the significance of equal conditions within the EU Member States as well as the role of the EU as a sui generis organisation protecting human rights. It should be noted that this paper does not deal with the basic normative question of whether or not refugees deserve protection, but it aims to expose the advantages and disadvantages of an EU asylum policy. In its conclusion, the paper discusses the advantages of a centralised EU policy that also allows, within certain conditions, some type of competition between the Member States.

Abstract

In this article, we aim to explain international differences in socio-demographic structure of population among people around retirement age. We further test if transition into retirement is an important factor for obesity. Using Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) data, we first document that the Czech Republic has a significant and increasing trend in body mass index (BMI) and obesity (BMI > 29.99) for both men and women aged 50–70 years compared to other countries. Men have much higher level of BMI in comparison to many other European countries, whereas BMI of women is comparable to Estonia and Slovenia. However, we show a little evidence that underlying structure of Czech population with respect to education, occupation, health, age, and so on may explain increasing trend as well as higher level of obesity when compared to other European countries. Furthermore, we show that the transition into retirement is not associated with an increase in BMI. Using fixed effect model, we found that the obesity is directly related to increasing trend in obesity already before entering the retirement.

Abstract

In this article, we aim to explain international differences in socio-demographic structure of population among people around retirement age. We further test if transition into retirement is an important factor for obesity. Using Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) data, we first document that the Czech Republic has a significant and increasing trend in body mass index (BMI) and obesity (BMI > 29.99) for both men and women aged 50–70 years compared to other countries. Men have much higher level of BMI in comparison to many other European countries, whereas BMI of women is comparable to Estonia and Slovenia. However, we show a little evidence that underlying structure of Czech population with respect to education, occupation, health, age, and so on may explain increasing trend as well as higher level of obesity when compared to other European countries. Furthermore, we show that the transition into retirement is not associated with an increase in BMI. Using fixed effect model, we found that the obesity is directly related to increasing trend in obesity already before entering the retirement.