KONOPÁSEK, Z. (2005): Exploring ordinary resources of an extraordinary power: Toward ethnomethodological study of the communist regime CTS Research Reports, CTS-05-07. Praha: CTS. Available at http://www.cts.cuni.cz::::
Paper prepared as an invited plenary speech for the International Institute for Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis Conference, Bentley College, Waltham, MA, USA, August 6-9, 2005
KONOPÁSEK, Z. / STÖCKELOVÁ, T. / ZAMYKALOVÁ, L. (2004): Making pure science / pure politics in the public controversy over the highway bypass of Plzeň CTS. Research Reports, CTS-04-12. Praha: CTS. Available at http://www.cts.cuni.cz/::::
Paper prepared for the Joint 4S & EASST Conference 2004 Public proofs – science, technology and democracy, Paris, Ecole des Mines, August 25-28 2004
This paper is based on a detailed empirical case study of a long-term public controversy over the construction of a highway bypass around the city of Plzen (in South-Western Bohemia, Czech Republic). The controversy involved a wide range of actors: local activists, an environmentalist NGO, politicians of all levels, experts, developers, state and regional administration, and media people. Two variants of the bypass were at stake: one of them gradually appearing better and better, attractive for experts, but existing as if only on paper, while the other was becoming more and more real, pushed through mainly by local politicians, and actually constructed. Although the story could be narrated in terms of an unequal struggle between environmentalists and small villages on one side and politicians, economic lobbies and municipality of a big city on the other, we will try to follow a more subtle and complex story-line, which focuses upon different strategic usages of science and politics. Besides explaining how it happened that one of the variants “attracted” the winning properties (and “won”), we will also describe a “vicious” circle of a double purification of science and politics and show how it contributes to the fragility of both democracy and expertise.
KONOPÁSEK, Z. / STÖCKELOVÁ, T. / VAJDOVÁ, T. / ZAMYKALOVÁ, L. (2004): Environmental controversies in technical democracy: Three case studies. CTS Research Reports, CTS-04-04. Praha: CTS. Available at http://www.cts.cuni.cz/::::
In this research report we present a collection of three case studies that have been undertaken within our work on the research project "Analysing public accountability procedures in contemporary European contexts". The overall aim of the project was to study opportunities and limits of democracy in societies in which expert knowledge becomes crucial for almost any decision-making and socio-technical networks that shape our daily lives are being openly and widely contested in the public arena. Especially in cases where science and technology are involved and where technicalities of different sorts and specialised knowledge penetrate political agenda, i.e., on the borderline of science and politics, the principles of open, friendly, inclusive and transparent politics (as well as the classical principles of disinterested and independent expertise) get into troubles. That is why we decided, in our research, to confront the principle of public accountability with the flesh-and-blood reality of the following socio-technical controversies, elaborated as in-depth case studies: (1) The controversy over the building and operation of the household waste incinerator in Praha-Malesice; (2) The public conflicts concerning the highway by-pass around the city of Plzeň; (3) Current policies and controversies related to the introduction of GMO into the Czech legal, social, economic and political environment.
KONOPÁSEK, Z. / KUSÁ, Z. / STOCKELOVÁ, T. / VAJDOVÁ, Z. / ZAMYKALOVÁ (2002): Czech Republic - a national profile. Research report of the Public Accountability European Research Project, CT2001-00076. Praha. Available at http://zdenek.konopasek.net/docs/WP1_Czech.pdf::::
KONOPÁSEK, Z. (2002): Dejme smysl volební neúčasti [Let us make electoral non-participation more useful]. MF Dnes. June 7, p. A/9::::
KONOPÁSEK, Z. (2001): O politice nepolitičnosti (ve stopách Bruno Latoura) [On the politics of non-politics - A Bruno Latour's view]. Vesmír, 80 (7): 386-389::::
KONOPÁSEK, Z. / KUSÁ, Z. (2000): Political screenings as trials of strength: Methodological consequences of the relativist perspective in oral history research. In: D. Koleva, ed.: Talking history. Sofia: LIK. Pp. 63-81::::
KONOPÁSEK, Z. / KUSÁ, Z. (2000): Re-use of life stories in an ethnomethodological research. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 1 (3): 42 paragraphs, art. 24. Available at http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0003248::::
In the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the age of life history archives with a wider access for the social scientists is only coming. However, secondary analysis of qualitative data is not limited to documents that are stored in public archives. It happens quite often that researchers make use of an interview transcript, or a part of it, which has originally been gathered for a different occasion. Thus, they use these data for studying new topics that are sometimes far from the original research questions and objectives. In this paper we discuss some methodological problems arising from such practice. We show that, on one hand, the ethnomethodological perspective is especially demanding on the quality and the pinpoint accuracy of transcripts and the descriptions of the interviews by which the narratives were elicited (field memos). On the other hand, however, the ethnomethodological perspective orients scholars to formulate their research objectives according to what the data itself offers. The methodological problems related to the re-use of data can hardly be resolved in advance and on a general level.
KONOPÁSEK, Z. / ANDREWS, M. (2000): A cautious ethnography of socialism: Autobiographical narrative in the Czech Republic. In: M. Andrews, S. D. Sclater, C. Squire & A. Treacher, eds.: Lines of narrative: Psychosocial perspectives. London & New York: Routledge. Pp. 92-103::::
KONOPÁSEK, Z. (2000): When science and the state are less powerful than one might expect. Imprints, 4 (3): 260-269::::
Review of: SCOTT, J. C. (1998): Seeing like a state: How certain schemes to improve the human condition have failed. New Haven & London: Yale University Press