KONOPÁSEK, Z. / KUSÁ, Z. (1999): Budovanie komunistickej moci a bezmocnosti [The construction of communist power and powerlessness]. Sociológia, 31 (5): 459-480::::
This paper turns attention to the period of state socialism. Its aim is to suggest and illustrate a theoretical and analytical framework for making the communists" power problematic from sociological point of view. We would like to promote such a perspective in which the power of communists is not taken - explicitly or implicitly - as something that explains the logic of life under the communist regime; rather, on the contrary, we present it as something that needs to be explained. As such, our approach is inspired by contemporary sociology of science, above all by authors such as Bruno Latour and John Law whose effort is in many respects similar to ours. After a theoretical outline of the approach, we perform its modest practical illustration. We use short extracts from two biographical narratives for an analysis of one particular situation in which the communist power played an important role: the political screenings that followed the military invasion into Czechoslovakia at the end of so called Prague Spring. The screenings are interpreted, in this analytical sketch, as "trials of strength" as well as "real transformations" both of the communist regime itself and all its actors. Above all, we focus on the moments when somebody or something was transformed into a fulcrum, an indisputable and stable entity, or, on the other hand, into a questionable, not-quite-real, because negotiable and reversible network of relations. These moments help us to show the heterogeneous and often surprisingly subtle sources of the political power that constituted state socialism and made it durable.
KONOPÁSEK, Z. (1999): Horníci a problém prostředí: Ideologie, ekologie, sociologie [Miners and the problem of environment: Ideology, ecology, sociology]. Biograf (20): 85-97::::
Review of: MUSIL, L. (1999): Těžba uhlí, problém prostředí, modernita: jak ovlivnila ekologická výzva organizaci jedné ostravské šachty. Brno: Masarykova univerzita & Georgetown University
KONOPÁSEK, Z. (1999): Od Černé knihy k černé skříňce: komunismus relativizujícíma očima [From the Black book to a black box: Communism relativized]. Biograf (18-19): 3-24::::
This paper proposes a sociology of state socialism. It does so by discussing the place of state socialism within the debates on modernity and postmodernity and reassessing the possibilities of so-called biographical research in the field of post-communist studies. The paper also outlines a theoretical and analytical framework for making the communists[a] power problematic from a sociological point of view. Such a perspective suggests that the power of the communists is not taken - explicitly or implicitly - as something that naturally explains the logic of life under the communist regime; on the contrary, it is presented as something that needs to be explained. As such, this approach is inspired by contemporary sociology of science, particularly by the work of Bruno Latour. In doing so, the paper hopes to achieve one important side-effect, namely to (re)establish the phenomena of state socialism as a topic worthy of general sociological attention.
MOSER, I. / LAW, J. (1998): Přechody snadné, přechody nesnadné: o heterogenní ekonomii subjektivity [Good passages, bad passages: On heterogeneous economy of subjectivity]. Biograf, (15-16): 5-28 - translated by Zdeněk Konopásek::::
This text explores the relation between subjectivities, materialities (including technological arrangements) and bodily competencies. Starting from the assumption that all material and bodily arrangements are specific, it considers some of those specifities, and the "passages" through which these specific arrangements are fitted together for a particular person, Liv, who is physically disabled. It explores the character of some Liv[a]s "passages" - some are "good", some "bad", some public, and some discrediting - and the ways in which they are shaped to produce personal and biographical continuity and relative autonomy for her - an autonomy and capacity discretionary decision making which she highly values. The paper thus uses some of the tools developed in the actor-network approach, but also in feminism, to interpret the material and corporeal relations involved in the formation of contemporary subjectivities.
MOSER, I. / LAW, J. (1999): Good passages, bad passages. In: J. Law, J. Hassard, editors: Actor network theory and after. Oxford: Blackwell & Sociological Review. Pp. 196-219
KONOPÁSEK, Z. (1996): Sociologie jako power play [Sociology as powerplay]. Sociológia, 28 (2): 99-125::::
The presented essay has been inspired by numerous writers who have one thing in common: they distrust of conceptual dualisms and incommen-surabilities that lie behind the modern social science thinking. That is why the dividing lines between knowledge and power, sociology and society, methods and ethnomethods, or truth and falsity are not approached here as part of the solution (as a resource of explanations) but as part of the problem (as things to be explained). It is argued that sociologists construct the authoritativeness of their knowledge in such a way that they arrange a power play, a plain superiority in numbers. They do so deftly and unnoticeably, yet unwittingly, under the guise of ascetic recluses distanced far away from ordinary life. The argument is illustrated by the case of "objective hermeneutic", a qualitative research strategy of German origin, used typically within so called biographical research. I claim that the case of objective hermeneutic (and the case of qualitative methodologies in general) is only particularly obvious and vivid demon-stration of what is much less obvious and visible elsewhere, throughout the field of social science.
KONOPÁSEK, Z. (1995): Věda, reflexivita a text (Některým sociologům... II.) [Science, reflexivity and text (For some sociologists... II.)]. Biograf Bulletin, (3): 7-19::::