Questionnaire: Sociology in Central and Eastern Europe, 1945–1989

1 Personal Trajectory in Sociology

What provoked your interest in sociology; why did sociology appeal to you; why did you become sociologist? When you got involved with it, what was sociology in your country like as an academic discipline and an institutional structure? When did you first become involved with sociology?

Who were your teachers in sociology? Who are the people you consider your teachers in sociology?

2 Main periods, Principal Sociological Schools, Key-figures, Theoretical and Empirical Achievements in the Development of Sociology in your Country from the mid-1940s to 1989

Periods

In your view, what periods were there in the development of sociology in your country? On the basis of what criteria do you personally make this periodization? Is it possible to distinguish between purely cognitive factors and social factors of the development of sociology in your country?

Schools

During these 45 years, were separate sociological schools established? Did they differ from one another? In what way did they differ?

Was there any competition between the different schools of sociology in your country? What forms of competition were there?

  • In the field of research projects;

  • In terms of the positions sociologists held within the field of sociology;

  • In terms of the positions sociologists held in the State structures.

Was there any theoretical orientation or paradigm that predominated during certain periods? Did the followers (adherents) of this paradigm enjoy any privileges in their career or with regard to funding? Why did certain trends or paradigms predominate? Was it due to certain trends in world sociology? Was it by the influence of the leading person promoting this conception and his/her institutional position?

Key-figures

Who were the key-figures in the development of sociology in your country after 1944 and, at theoretical and institutional level, what was their contribution to research, etc.?

In your opinion, what were the greatest theoretical and empirical achievements of the sociologists of your country? Did they formulate any theories, concepts, methods inspired by the specific social realities in the country? Did sociologists from other countries later use these concepts?

3 The Role of Marxism in the Development of Sociology in the Country

What was the role of Marxism in the development of sociology in your country?

Was the adjective “Marxist” synonymous with scientific quality, validity and objectivity of sociological knowledge and of sociological findings (as it was in Bulgaria)?

How did Marxism as a theory and Marxism as an ideology coexist in sociology? Was the debate between Marxist and non-Marxist sociologists theoretical or ideological, given that the borderline between Marxist argumentation and ideological conventions was barely discernible?

What were the relations between the Marxist and non-Marxist sociologists? Did the fact of being a Marxist provide greater chances or advantages in a person’s professional career? Did a person’s Marxist theoretical orientation involve his/her Party membership and vice versa? Did Party membership provide more chances and advantages in a person’s professional career?

4 Mode of Sociological Problematization, Criteria of Scientific Truth and Methodological Requirements for Seeking it, Cognitive and Deontological Patterns of Sociology in your Country

In each society, independently of its political and economic model, there exists a link between sociological problems and the crucial problems of society during that period of its development. Knowing the model of functioning of the totalitarian-type society, do you think that, in your country, this parallel or correlation assumed specific dimensions and was subject to specific rules or mechanisms? Was it driven by specific regulations or mechanisms?

Can you assess the mutual influence between sociology and politics and the extent to which sociological knowledge could be transformed into political directives? Also, is it possible to estimate how the political projects could serve as a basis of sociological investigation?

What was the interaction between sociologists in your country and the Party authorities in defining of sociological problems? Were sociologists in your country used for political purposes?

Looking back to that time, can we say there were different cognitive patterns for a sociological study? For example:

  • studies in which researchers confirm, or do their utmost to confirm, a truth that is already prescribed by the ideological model;

  • studies in which sociologists legitimize or model the political and economic practices of the totalitarian society;

  • studies in which sociologists reject or undermine these practices.

Having in mind the double-faced character of the Communist society of that time, did sociology in your country produce original cognitive results and specific forms of scientific reflection and discourse? Under the conditions of ideological control, did sociologists have to promote the truth through channels of their own or in roundabout ways?

How did sociologists in your country protect their discipline from ideology? In what way did Marxist ideology influence the development of sociology?

5 Relations between Sociology and Power

What were the relations between sociology and power?

Were there any taboo subjects?

What was the reaction of the State-Party authorities when the findings of sociological surveys and analyses were not favorable for the regime? Was the dissemination of this information put under a ban?

6 Relations between Sociology and Society

What role did sociology in your country play for the development of your society? How do you assess this role? Did sociology in your country contribute to shedding light on the problems of society or rather to placing those problems in the limelight of attention? Was sociology in your country ahead of the times, did it anticipate events or follow events? Did sociology in your country make mistakes during that period? Did it miss any chances?

What problems did sociology in your country conceal during these years? What did sociology fail to say (reveal) and why? What problems was sociology in your country reluctant to declare, and why?

In the intellectual history of sociology in your country, can you distinguish between its known and its unknown parts? Was there anything in the development of that sociology that has remained hidden, or unknown to the sociological community of your country?

7 Relations between Sociologists in your Country and sociologists from Eastern and Western Europe

What were the relationships between the sociologists of your country and of the other Communist countries at the time? What kinds of contact were there? Was there any sort of hierarchy, including subordination and domination, in these relations? Did relations lead to joint research projects?

Which sociologists from other Communist countries did you keep in touch with and on what occasion?

What were your relationships with Western sociologists? Did you carry out any joint research projects?

8 National sociology after 1989—state and trends

In your opinion, what are the landmarks in the development of sociology in your country after 1989?

Totalitarian Experience and Knowledge Production

Sociology in Central and Eastern Europe 1945-1989

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