Publications, recordings and other outputs

An overview of what I have written and published (as sociologist) or recorded and released (as musician). Simply, all public "outputs" of my work. When technically feasible and legally possible, I will add full texts and, in respective parts of the musical section of this web, musical samples in mp3.
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SVAČINA, K. & KONOPÁSEK, Z. (2012): Identifying remaining socio-technical challenges at the national level: Czech Republic. Working paper of the InSOTEC project (WP 1 – MS 4). Available at


This report describes the history, recent developments and the current situation of the management of highly radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel in the Czech Republic, with a particular focus on the development of geological disposal for this kind of waste. Special attention is given to the interplay of social and technical aspects of the process. The first chapter gives an overview of the state of affairs and sketches out the trajectories leading to it. The institutional background, legislative framework and relevant government policies, as well as the role of affected communities and other civil society stakeholders are considered. The second chapter tries to identify the main socio-political challenges that the process of geological disposal development is currently facing. By socio-political challenges we mean problems and obstacles that complicate the negotiations between the implementer and other relevant groups, be it other state institutions, municipalities, or NGOs. The third chapter takes these observations a step further, and tries to identify significant socio-technical challenges within this process. By looking at the problems as socio-technical, we want to emphasize and highlight the fact that there is interplay of social and technical aspects, and that it is often problematic or counterproductive to consider them as separate, purely social and purely technical aspects. The ultimate goal of identifying significant socio-technical challenges then is to sketch out problems of interest for case study research in the second work package of InSOTEC.

KONOPÁSEK, Z. (2011): Aby se pracovalo pěkněji: ATLAS.ti, verze sedmá [Making the interface nicer and more workable: ATLAS.ti, v7]. Biograf (56): 91-109


KONOPÁSEK, Z. / PALEČEK, J. (2012): Apparitions and possessions as boundary objects: An exploration into some tensions between mental health care and pastoral care. Journal of Religion and Health, 51 (3): 970-985


Apparitions and possessions can be taken as genuine spiritual events or as symptoms of psychopathology. We focus upon occasions when the two seemingly conflicting “interpretations” co-exist in order to explore these phenomena as a kind of boundary objects – polymorphous realities stable and graspable enough, yet belonging to different worlds at once. Related diagnostic knowledge is often uncertain and always incomplete. Yet it enables authoritative and effective professional interventions. We conclude by discussing the relevance of such a view for contemporary efforts to validate patients’ spiritual experiences within mental health care.

KONOPÁSEK, Z. (2011): Je prý třeba změnit ten postoj a ptát se... [The attitude has to be changed and questions asked, he says]. Zdenek Konopasek's blog, February 26, 2011. Available at


KONOPÁSEK, Z. (2011): Das Denken mit ATLAS.ti sichtbar machen: Computergestützte qualitative Analyse als textuelle Praxis. In: G. Mey & K. Mruck, eds.: Grounded theory reader. 2nd updated and extended edition. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag. Pp. 381-403


How is a new quality of reading, which we call "sociological understanding", created during the process of qualitative analysis? A methodological (conventional) answer to this question usually speaks of mental processes and conceptual work. This paper suggests a different view—sociological rather than methodological; or more precisely a view inspired by a contemporary sociology of science. It describes qualitative analysis as a set of material practices. Taking grounded theory methodology and the work with the computer programme Atlas.ti as an example, it is argued that thinking is inseparable from doing even in this domain. It is argued that by adopting the suggested perspective we might be better able to speak of otherwise hardly graspable processes of qualitative analysis in more accountable and instructable ways. Further, software packages would be better understood not only as "mere tools" for coding and retrieving, but also as complex virtual environments for embodied and practice-based knowledge making. Finally, grounded theory methodology might appear in a somewhat different light: when described not in terms of methodological or theoretical concepts but rather in terms of what we practically do with the analysed data, it becomes perfectly compatible with the radical constructivist, textualist, or even post-structuralist paradigms of interpretation (from which it has allegedly departed by a long way). (Translated to German and reprinted from Historical Social Research 2007/FQS 2008)

Zátory (2011): Zátory. CD. Polí5 [EPP 027-2]

Zátory, the least known legend of music rooted deeply in 1970's, but performed in the midst of the first decade of the millennium. The band was headed by Vladimír Línek, the veteran of alternative music, who has, among others, collaborated with Mikoláš Chadima. This is a post-mortem compilation of home-recorded songs.

KONOPÁSEK, Z. / PALEČEK (2011): The principle of symmetry from the respondents’ perspective: Possessions, apparitions and mental illnesses in research interviews with clerics. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, , 12 (1): Art. 12,


We study how experiences such as hearing the voice of the Lord or having a vision of Virgin Mary are dealt with in psychiatry and catholic pastoral practice. How the status of these phenomena is negotiated by the participants? Under what conditions they become an instance of legitimate religious experience or, alternatively, symptoms of mental illness? We approach the study of these issues “symmetrically” - we do not prefer a priori medical or spiritual explanations. Some time ago, we demonstrated and explained such an approach (which is common, e.g., in contemporary sociology of science), and its relevance for our research, in an analytic paper on the movie “The exorcism of Emily Rose” (2005). The paper discusses a highly ambiguous relationship, pictured in the film, between medical and spiritual interpretation of the story of a young girl who was considered possessed by demons and who died after unsuccessful exorcism (Konopásek & Paleček 2006). Now, the question is: can such a symmetrical approach be of any relevance also for people we are studying? In an attempt to give an answer, we have interviewed four catholic priests on this issue. The priests had been asked to watch the movie on Emily Rose and read our paper on it in preparation for the interview. Based on these discussions (and also on our current research in general), we would like to shed some light on whether and in what ways our specific epistemic perspective coheres with the views and positions of our respondents; and also, how this reflexive research experiment contributed to our own understanding of the role of the symmetry principle in our current research project.

KONOPÁSEK, Z. (2010): Co znamená "sociální konstrukce"? [What is the meaning of "social construction"?]. Zdenek Konopasek's blog, 3. 11. 2010. Available at


KONOPÁSEK, Z. (2010): V čem spočívá pravda náboženské skutečnosti? Sociologický pohled na mariánská zjevení a démonické posedlosti [Where does the religious truth comes from? A sociological view on Marian apparitions and demonic possessions]. Biograf (52-53): 89-101


In this paper I summarize the background and results of our three-year research project "Religious realities in the making: Apparitions and possessions as practical and collective accomplishments" (GAČR 403/08/1758). All our analyses emphasise the polymorphic nature and diversity of what we call religious faith. Inspired by theoretical-methodological approaches from contemporary science studies we try to pursue a kind of non-reductionist sociology of religion. As subjects of study we have chosen weird, rather rare and in many respects controversial situations (apparitions and possessions) that allow as to grasp "in action" and cleavage even the long and perfectly sediment reality of religion.

SLANINA, F. / KONOPÁSEK, Z. (2010): Eigenvector localization as a tool to study small communities in online social networks. Advances in Complex Systems, 13 (6): 699–723


We present and discuss a mathematical procedure for identification of small "communities" or segments within large bipartite networks. The procedure is based on spectral analysis of the matrix encoding network structure. The principal tool here is localization of eigenvectors of the matrix, by means of which the relevant network segments become visible. We demonstrated our approach by analyzing the data related to product reviewing on We found several segments, a kind of hybrid communities of densely interlinked reviewers and products, which we were able to meaningfully interpret in terms of the type and thematic categorization of reviewed items. The method provides a complementary approach to other ways of community detection, typically aiming at identification of large network modules.

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