Science, technology, & society
Proposal of a PhD programme at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University in Prague, in collaboration with the Center for Theoretical Study, Charles University in Prague and the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic; prepared and proposed by Zdeněk Konopásek
In 2003 I prepared a proposal for a PhD study programme in Science, Technology & Society (STS). The idea was to establish a small specialised programme in Czech and English, the first of this kind in the country, thematically focused on empirical studies of complex socio-technical/scientific-political controversies.
I elaborated and negotiated an acreditation proposal, set up disciplinary board of the programme, prepared and enacted an agreement between participating institutions, and finally pushed the proposal through the academic senate and scientific board of the faculty. In the decisive moment during the approval procedure on the university level in 2004, however, the faculty refused to support the proposal. The way it happened was the "last drop" for me that made me to leave the faculty in Prague entirely.
Special MA sociology programme, Faculty of Social Sciences at the Charles University in Prague; headed by Zdeněk Konopásek
This MA special programme was intended for sociology students interested in qualitative research. Originally, the programme was focused on gathering of and analytical work with auto/biographical data: life narratives and biographical interviews, diaries, memoirs, life histories, personal documents, family photographs, chronical and archival records etc. Gradually, however, this focused was broadened so as to include other forms of qualitative research: discourse analysis, conversation analysis, qualitative content analysis, participant observation and so on.
The overall aims were to provide students with advanced knowledge and skills necessary for collection, analysis and interpretation of "soft data", including ability to use specialised software tools (CAQDAS). Students were also expected to obtain a proper methodological and theoretical backgrounds for such an empirical work: they should understand, e.g., the import of so called linguistic turn in the social sciences, methodological relativism, research reflexivity, contemporary feminism, and debates on post/modernity. Some of the courses experimented with the form of on-line teaching.
Both teachers and students more and more understood this special programme not only as thematically defined programme, but also as an alternative in terms of teaching methods and broader understanding of sociological practice. The programme was cancelled shorty after I left the faculty in 2003.