Vulnerable residents in fragile residences: An inquiry into tensions of residential care
Sociological research project, supported by the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic (19-07724S): Zdeněk Konopásek - grant holder; Radek Carboch, Dana Hradcová and Michal Synek - research collaborators.
The proposed research focuses on a specific tension in residential care for people identified as disabled: the tension between care for the residents, enabling them to live their lives as "normally" as possible, and care for the residences, safeguarding their economic and "cultural" worth. In the Czech Republic, the residential institutions are often housed in former castles, monasteries or historical villas, which are similarly out-of-shape, fragile and unattached as their inhabitants. And although care for people and maintenance of things might seem to be two dcompletely different and unrelated activities, they go hand-in-hand and cannot be separated. Our research will contribute to the recent turn of social sciences towards interest in materialities and ethical values of caring. We will analyze a single field of practice as framed by several diverging logics and sets of values, paying attention to how this multiplicity is managed. We also hope that our research will help to improve living and working conditions in residential care facilities.
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.
The welfare state aesthetics: On the crisis of representation in social security
My PhD research project in sociology.
My PhD thesis was originally following my interest in social policies and my analytical contributions to the Czech social reform. However, as time went on, other motives gained weight as well: the problem of post/modernity, the analysis of institutions and institutionalization, the sociology of science and technology, and, above all, the problem of representation. A revised and extended version of the PhD thesis was published as Estetika welfare state: o krizi reprezentace (nejen) v sociálním zabezpečení [The welfare state aesthetics: On the crisis of representation (not only) in social security] (Praha: GplusG, 1998) - it is in Czech, but a draft of detailed summary in English is available.
Support of the Coordination Council for Minimum Standards in Social Work
PHARE project (GTAF II/WP2/4A), coordinated by the Ministry of labour and social affairs
The aim of this project was to establish a professional body responsible for minimum standards in the field of social work. Within the project I undertook a small research and elaborated an expert study on employers and employees in the social work sector.