Sociological and musical projects
Research and scholarly projects, bands I have played with, my musical collaborations.
Široko-daleko [Far and near]
(Post)rock band: Jan Prokop - vocals, lyrics, guitars; Jindra Tolar - guitars, trumpet; Michal Fejt - tenorsax, clarinet; Zdeněk Konopásek - drums and cymbals.
Originally, Široko-daleko [Far and near] was a two-person project of Jan Prokop and Jindra (Henry) Tolar - both coming from a rock band Fish Flesh Field & Henry Dollar based in Karlovy Vary (my birth town). They became known for slow, melancholic and minimalistic songs, occasionally echoing the work of Oldrich Janota. I joined the line-up after a jam weekend, which took place at Jan Prokop's home in autumn 2010. We had the first concert in January 2011, in the Paderewski club in Karlovy Vary. We enjoyed playing together and thought it should not be our last performance.
Biograf (journal not only for biographical and reflexive sociology)
Scholarly peer-reviewed journal for qualitative research in the social sciences (ISSN 1211-5770) - I was its editor-in-chief since it was established in 1994 until 2008; in 2009-2016 I was member of the editorial team.
Currently the journal is published tri-annually in both paper and internet (online) versions (http://www.biograf.org). It features original papers, translations, exchanges, review essays, reports and other minor genres of academic writing.
International) socio-technical challenges for implementing geological disposal
An international and transdisciplinary research project supported within the EC 7th framework program (FP7-Fission-2010, 269906).
Involved researchers come from Great Britain, Germany, Sweden, France, Hungary, Spain, Finland, Slovenia and Czech Republic. The project aims at identifying the main socio-political challenges for implementing geological disposal of radioactive waste and their interplay with technical challenges. It will furthermore provide the IGD-TP with concrete suggestions on how to address these entangled socio-technical challenges.
Theoretical research of complex phenomena in physics, biology and humanities
Research framework programme of the Center for Theoretical Study (Charles University in Prague and Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic) and Dept. of philosophy and history of natural sciences, Faculty of Sciences (Charles University in Prague), headed by David Storch.
The research framework programme gathers collaborators from various disciplines: physics (Roman Kotecký, Bedřich Velický, František Slanina); mathematics (Petr Kůrka, Kateřina Trlifajová, Bohuslav Balcar); macro-ecology (David Storch, Arnošt L. Šizling); biology (Anton Markoš, Karel Kleisner); sociology of science (Zdeněk Konopásek, Jan Paleček); and philosophy (Ivan M. Havel, Zdeněk Kratochvíl).
Religious realities in the making: Apparitions and possessions as practical and collective accomplishments
Sociological research project, supported by the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic (403/08/1758): Zdeněk Konopásek - grant holder; Jan Paleček - research collaborator.
In this qualitative sociological research we will study how (mainly catholic) pastoral practice treats spiritual experiences of apparition or demonic possession. E.g., how it happens – by practical means of religious life and devoutness – that a vision is accepted as a kind of apparition? Or, quite often, that it is suppressed, privatized and turned into a psychical effect such as delusion? What qualities of such a spiritual experience are regarded as relevant? What rules, norms and imaginaries are mobilized at such occasions? How are these experiences made accountable and collectively shareable? How they are disputed, evaluated, and doubted? Or, eventually, affirmed and appreciated as religious realities? In fact, we intend to carry out an in-depth study of phenomena that are so unbelievable that their acceptance is always (more or less) in risk of being classified in terms of psychopathology or mental illness, but that are (precisely as unbelievable, super-natural and unexplainable by scientific means) key and carefully defined elements of widely accepted religious belief.
1997-2000 / 2009 ::::
In 1997-2000, the band consisting of: Pjér Lašéz - vocals, bass, lyrics; Zdeněk Konopásek - drums; Tomáš Havlík (Mr. Giss) - keyboards (since 1999?); Petr Mareš (Berous) - guitar (also since 1999?).
A band that came to existence when I and Pjer Lasez started rehearsing as bass and drums duo. We were old friends, but in 1984-97 we hardly see each other - Pjer had written some lyrics for songs of Dvouletá fáma and in 1984 we shortly considered musical collaboration. After we started playing together in 1997, two other players subsequently joined us, so that our final recording was made under the title Duo Profesores, Mr. Giss, and one guitar, please. No live performances, only one CD-R full of funny songs and appearance in a weird TV series by Jaroslav Dušek called Dokoláč (broadcasted around 2000).
1991-1993 / 2002-2008 ::::
Dr. Konopný Quartet
Wild free improvisation band: Radomil Uhlíř - voice; René Pařez (until 2005)/Joe Karafiát (since 2005) - guitars; Zdeněk Konopásek - drums, trumpet; Jan Štolba (since 2006) - sax; and others
I played with the Quartet in 1991-93 and then again (and mainly) in 2002-2008. This weird musical group was/is dominated by the actor, poet, visual artist, traveller and singer, Radomil Uhlíř. The band initiated as a reincarnation of late Dvouletá fáma (Uhlíř, Vik, Konopásek). A number of musicians have played with the band throughout the years, e.g.: Vratislav Kydlíček (drums), Lumír Gajda (guitar), René Pařez (guitar) and Zdeněk Hmyzák Novák (trumpet). In 2002-2008 I especially enjoyed playing with the following lineup: Radomil Uhlíř, Joe Karafiát, Jan Štolba and Oto Sukovský (bass, since 2007). In 2006 a double CD was released by Guerilla Records: Skrývám se, ale nikdo mne nehledá [I am hiding, but nobody is looking for me]. In spring 2008, after a deep personal conflict with Radomil Uhlíř, I left the band.
Science and governance
Work in the expert group of the European Commission
The expert group on "Science and governance" was invited to perform the following tasks: (1) Analyse the uneasiness which is pervading the relations between science, civil society and policy-making. (2) Analyse the strengths and limits of current solutions to this uneasiness. (3) Suggest appropriate conceptual approaches which frame the interactions between science, society and policy-making. (4) Formulate recommendations for more effective science-related governance. The group was headed by Brian Wynne and Ulrike Felt; among its members were, e.g.: Michel Callon, Sheila Jasanoff, Pierre-Benoit Joly, Stefan May, Arie Rip and Andy Stirling. The following report was published as the output of more than two-years long collective work: FELT, U. / WYNNE, B. (2007): Science and governance: Taking European knowledge society seriously. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities. 95 s.
Spiritual and religious experiences in psychiatry: The construction of mental pathology
Sociological research project, supported by the Grant Agency of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic; Jan Paleček - grant holder, Zdeněk Konopásek - research collaborator.
In the proposed two-years research studied how psychiatry encounters the phenomena of hearing voices or having apparitions, i.e., quasi/spiritual and quasi/religious experiences. Using qualitative data from interviews and ethnographical observations in psychiatric facilities, we focused on individual illness trajectories, encounters of patients with psychiatric professionals and practical institutional and material arrangements of the treatment. By revealing how religiosity and mental disease are jointly and practically performed by means of contemporary psychiatry, in our case studies on mental patients we intended to better understand how the spiritual and religious experiences of mental patients are translated into the psychiatric language, what are medical, social and political consequences of these processes and what religiosity, spirituality and mental illness is. We hoped to contribute, by our research, to cultivation of contemporary and future reforms of psychiatry.
Expertise and environmental politics: The case of Natura 2000
Sociological research project, supported by the Grant Agendy of the Czech Republic (403/06/0436); Zdeněk Konopásek - grant holder; Jan Paleček - research collaborator.
In this two-year project we suggested to study the preparation and implementation of the European environmental project NATURA 2000. Inspired by numerous sociological investigations abroad, we focused upon the complex and ambivalent relationships between expertise and democratic decision-making. We made use of mostly qualitative approaches (although not exclusively) to analyze various documents and research interviews. In the resulting detailed case study we paid special attention to how particular social actors continuously “translate” the issue of planned nature reserves into scientific argumentation or, on the other hand, into a political matter. What are the consequences of these translations for the project itself? By answering these questions we perhaps contributed to better understanding of expert/political culture in the Czech Republic (in relation to contemporary European trends).