Sociological publications

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KONOPÁSEK, Z. & ŘÍHA, C. (2024): Letáčky [Leaflets]. In: E. Fulínová & A. Kvíčalová, ed: Antropocennosti: Malý průvodce světem antropocénu [Matters of Anthropocene: A small guide to the world of Anthropocene]. Praha: Academia. Pp. 73-83

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The leaflets of the PLA are not an Anthropocene icon, but they tell us about this phenomenon. They show that we are not only living in a time of destruction of nature, landscapes and cultural monuments, but also of unprecedented protection measures. It is not just a matter of action and reaction. It is not just the number of protected specimens and sites that is expanding, but also the types of things that are being protected. At the same time, the question of what we are actually protecting and from whom is becoming more urgent. The Anthropocene is not only the physical state of the contemporary world, but also the way we talk about it. Its characteristics include both the fact that we increasingly think of it in general terms, in terms of protection and regulation, and what specifically is the focus of this protection.

KONOPÁSEK, Z. (2023): aTrain, převod nahrávek mluvené řeči na text s využitím AI [aTrain, transcribing recorded speech to text with the help of AI]. Biograf, (77), Available at http://www.biograf.org/clanek.html?id=1109

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I discuss a new program suitable for qualitative researchers that automatically transcribes recorded speech into text. It is based on the Whisper transcription model from OpenAI. Resulting transcriptions sensitively balance accuracy and readability, and surpass the work of average hired human transcribers in quality. A particular advantage for qualitative research is that the program does not send the data to remote servers for processing; everything happens on the local computer.

PRACH, J. / KONOPÁSEK, Z. / ŘÍHA, C. (2023): Jak stavět v krajině: Návrh webové aplikace na podporu usměrňování stavební činnosti v CHKO [Constructing in landscape: Proposal of a web application to support the regulation of construction activities in the PLA]. Ochrana přírody, 78 (6): 26-29. Available at (in Czech): https://www.casopis.ochranaprirody.cz/

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Regulation of construction in protected areas with the aim of preserving the landscape character is an important agenda of nature protection authorities. The agenda causes a number of tensions between the citizen-builder and the authority. In the article, we present the results of the TAČR project, introduced two years ago. One of the outputs of the project is a web application, which is to reflect, in a context-sensitive manner and in an accessible form, the local qualities of the landscape character and issuing principles of protection. Its data are based on Preventive Landscape Evaluation Studies, which are elaborated and regularly updated for individual PLAs. The web interface allows to generate a printable document tailored to users needs. The application should contribute to a better articulated approach to the regulation - an approach that is differentiated and understandable for all participants.

KONOPÁSEK, Z. / MARŠÁLEK, J. / HADWIGER ZÁMEČNÍK, L. (2023): Jednička z nejistoty? Sociologie fyziky před tabulí. [An A for uncertainty? The sociology of physics at the blackboard]. Československý časopis pro fyziku, 73 (6): 432-437

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In this final text in our series on the sociology of scientific knowledge (and physical knowledge in particular), we suggest that the emphasis in science studies on understanding scientific practice should permeate school science education. We argue that even in classical teaching, despite its focus on physical knowledge, some kind of description of scientific practice is implicit. The problem is that this is mostly unconscious, and that these descriptions are not entirely realistic - at least not in line with what the sociology of science tells us about collective scientific practice. However, not all forms of sociology of science are helpful in this regard. We use debates about science education in the US to illustrate this point. In the final section of the paper, we give some examples of how space can be made in the curriculum for sociological reflection on scientific practice.

KONOPÁSEK, Z. / MARŠÁLEK, J. / HADWIGER ZÁMEČNÍK, L. (2023): Jak myslí věda? O vědecké genialitě sociologicky. [How does science think? A sociological take on scientific genius]. Československý časopis pro fyziku, 73 (5): 346-349

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This text focuses on a classic figure in the history of science, the genius. Sociology very early on offered its own interpretation of who the scientific genius actually was, which it tended to honour on the one hand (it did not want to deny the great figures of the history of science their greatness) and to "bring down to earth" on the other (the "genius", in its interpretation, would not be removed from the standard functioning of science). From the later sociology of scientific knowledge, the genius scientist will almost disappear, in favour of the scientific collective, scientific community, or even scientific "superorganism". More broadly the paper deals with the question of scientific achievement, but also with scientific rationality, which sociology attributes not to an exceptional way of scientific "thinking", but to scientific practice.

KONOPÁSEK, Z. (2023): Globální uhlíková daň ladem ležící: K politickému rozměru tzv. nepolitických řešení [A Global Carbon Tax Idling: Towards the Political Dimension of So-Called Non-Political Solutions]. Vesmír, 102 (6)

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One of the proposals for solving the climate crisis is a global carbon tax. At first glance, it looks like a miraculously simple and self-sufficient tool. Yet it attracts surprisingly little attention. This is so (among other things) because it is being not only promoted but also constructed as a purely non-political solution. Since people are often tempted to prefer what is declared as non-political solutions, characteristically under the pressure of existential threat and with support in scientific argumentation, it is worthwhile to examine the case of the GUD global carbon tax in more detail.

NELSON, Nicole C. / TIMMERMANS, Stefan / WARWICK, Andrew / KONOPÁSEK, Zdeněk / VANCE, Russell E / KUO, Wen-Hua (2023): On first reading Bruno Latour. Social Studies of Science, 53 (2): 174-179

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Contributions to the special issue of the journal dedicated to Bruno Latour who passed away in October 2022.

KONOPÁSEK, Z. / MARŠÁLEK, J. (2023): Se sociology v zádech: laboratoře, texty, teorie [Sociologists in the scientists' back: Laboratories, texts, theories]. Československý časopis pro fyziku, 73 (2): 102-106

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Having dealt with scientific controversies in our last text, we will now turn to some other “sites” from which sociologists have attempted to grasp science as a subject of inquiry . First, we show what the so-called "laboratory ethnographies", focused on everyday scientific practices, have brought about. Second, we discuss why it is important to pay attention to scientific language and scientific discourse. And finally, we present some rare examples of sociological scrutinizing theoretical work, i.e., of an activity when little seems to happen outside the unaccessible scientific mind. In this context, we point out that, just like other disciplines, sociology shapes its research object in various ways according to its needs, while transforming itself in interaction with it.

KONOPÁSEK, Z. / MARŠÁLEK, J. (2023): Když se dva hádají, třetí... pozoruje: Sociologické studium vědeckých kontroverzí [When two argue, the third… observes: A sociological study of scientific controversies]. Československý časopis pro fyziku, 73 (1): 4-7

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This is the second of six texts on sociology of science and scientific knowledge (and, more broadly, so called Science Studies) – the discipline that has often taken physics as an object of study. Why, in the field of Science Studies, have the scientific controversies been objects of so passionate interest? We explain the importance and methodological consequences of this empirical programme. Then, the specificity of this approach is discussed with the reference to the Trevor Pinch's study of R. Davis's solar-neutrino experiment. We argue that, in more general terms, scientific controversies have been providing social scientists with an efficient point of access to scientific practice the multiformity of which is systematically obliterated once new scientific facts are consolidated.

KONOPÁSEK, Z. (2023 - online first): Věda a politika, vpravo, vlevo [Science and politics, right, left]. Sociální studia - https://doi.org/10.5817/SOC2023-33647

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[In Czech only]

MARŠÁLEK, J. / KONOPÁSEK, Z. / HADWIGER ZÁMEČNÍK, L. (2022): Kolik fyziky se vejde do vývěvy (a co všechno do fyziky)? [How much physics can fit into a vacuum pump (and what everything fits into physics)?]. Československý časopis pro fyziku, 72 (6): 424-426

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Physics is perhaps the most studied scientific discipline in the so-called social studies of science. The aim of this short text is to outline the space in which the sociology of physics - and more broadly Science Studies - operates, and which we will try to map out in the forthcoming six-part series of overview texts.

KONOPÁSEK, Z. (2022): Konopásek kontra Latour: Barša má vidiny pistolníků a z vlastních kvérů se mu ještě kouří [Konopásek versus Latour: Barša has visions of gunslingers and his own guns are still smoking]. Zdeněk Konopásek's Blog, 14. 8. 2022. Available at http://zdenek.konopasek.net/index.php?m=16&b=16&i=4368

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KONOPÁSEK, Z. (2022): Religion in action: How Marian apparitions may become true. HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory, 12 (1): 170–183

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According to Latour, religion and science have nothing in common. The two are successful (or failing) in quite different ways. Religiousness is not aimed at fact-making, but at presence-making, he says. To critically reconsider these ideas, I discuss the case study of Marian apparitions in Litmanová. The study suggests a more complicated picture by not focusing on pure and ready-made religion, but rather on religion in the making, a kind of “almost-religion.” It shows how the reality of apparitions, initially of quite unclear status, was becoming more and more religious. Fact-making and fact-checking clearly belonged to this trajectory and have never stopped being relevant. Nonethless, together with how the apparition was progressively becoming truly religious (or religiously true), Latourian presence-making was gaining in importance.

KONOPÁSEK, Z. (2021): Konec hermeneutiky? Atlas.ti, verze devátá. [The end of hermeneutics? Atlas.ti, version 9]. Biograf, 73-74: 233-246

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It is argued that the new version of this software package for qualitative analysis continues in a problematic direction (taken already in version 8). Despite claims about improved workflow, the program interface remains confusing and difficult to use. It requires too many clicks, its setting options are almost zero (impossible to define window background colours, completely missing network views options). Above all, however, it turns out that some of the program capabilities lost with the transition to version 8 in 2016 have not come back (yet). Even after five years, despite original promises, the program does not allow synchronized work with sound recordings and their transcripts (Windows version). What a shame. I also show that the program gradually weakens the emphasis on hermeneutic work with text (various modes of reading and writing) in favor of the easiest possible text encoding. It happens by means of subtle details in respective procedures. As a result, Atlas.ti (projects of which were once called “hermeneutic units”) loses its former uniqueness among other CAQDAS programs.

DRÁPAL, V. / KONOPÁSEK, Z. (2021): Zdeněk Konopásek Doktor Konopný (an interview of Vladimír Drápal with Zdeněk Konopásek). Magazín UNI, 12/2021. Available at: https://www.magazinuni.cz/hudba/zdenek-konopasek-doktor-konopny/

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Interview conducted by Vladimír "Lábus" Drápal from Guerilla Records - mainly about the band Dvouletá fáma (established exactly 40 years ago), but also about other musical projects of Zdeněk Konopásek.
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9. 9. 2024 -

Zdeněk Konopásek: Angažovaná nezaujatost? Věda a politika v antropocénu [Committed disinterestedness? Science and politics in Anthropocene]

Presentation for the Summer school "Anthropocene: Contemporary world in a transdisciplinary perspective" organised by CTS in September 2024, Prague

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