1. A new subdiscipline has been initiated at the WSNSiR (the Faculty of Applied Social Sciences and Resocialisation): the sociology and anthropology of reconciliation. The team led by Professor Jacek Kurczewski, and whose members include Professor Małgorzata Fuszara, is conducting comparative research studies into conflicts and reconciliation between squabbling nations, and between ethnic and religious groups, in Poland, Bulgaria, Latvia, Romania and Ukraine. The research has obtained finance from the NCN (the National Science Centre). The WSNSiR is in ongoing collaboration with universities in Mariupol (Ukraine) and Blagoevgrad (Bulgaria). Findings from the research have been published, inter alias, in a book edited by Jacek Kurczewski, Reconciliation in Bloodlands (Peter Lang, 2014) and presented at a number of Polish and international conferences. The most important of these was “Non-Violence, Peacebuilding and Reconciliation”, with participation by leading specialists from the USA, France, Australia and Slovenia. The conference accompanied the cyclic meeting of Nobel Peace Prize winners, organised by the Lech Wałęsa Institute, in 2013.
2. The Faculty of Applied Social Science and Resocialisation is also conducting unique research into the legacy of Polish social thought —researchthat is unique in Poland—regarding cooperative practice. The work here is being carried out by a team led by Professor Marcin Król and Bartłomiej Błesznowski, PhD, under 4 grants financed by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education. The research findings are furthering reflection over the “new cooperativism” developing in the West and in Central and Eastern Europe, as well as diverse forms of alternative economy (e.g. the economy of sharing, cashless exchange, and alternative food networks). 11 volumes have been published in the series, 1 of them in English. Collaboration has been secured with the Brill publishers in Holland for publication of Cooperativism and Democracy. Selected Works of Polish Cooperative Thinkers. This book will be part of the series entitled “Studies in Critical Social Sciences” edited by David Fasenfest, and constitutes an important step towards restoring the connections between Polish political thinking and European cultural circulation.
3. Professors at the WSNSiR, in collaboration with bodies in the government, local government, and the third sector, are seeking solutions for important social problems, including in the areas of equal opportunities, health, exclusion, activisation of the elderly, disability and unemployment. Work at the Faculty results annually in approximately 20-30 expert opinions, making a long-term contribution to the creation of domestic public policies. Its staff have held (or continue to hold) important expert posts, appointed by governmental bodies. For example Professor Małgorzata Fuszara was the Government’s Plenipotentiary for Equal Treatment. Professor Marek Rymsza is coordinator of the section “Social Policy, Family” at the Polish President’s National Development Council. Dr Łukasz Chojniak belonged to the Team of Experts at the Ministry of Justice dealing with the amending of the law on the profession of attorney at law. Apart from this, Professor Ewa Giermanowska and her team drew up recommendations for changes in the system of supporting employers in the open labour market, favouring the employment of disabled persons. Dr Magdalena Arczewska was an expert and thematic program advisor participating in the project for implementing articles 7, 10, 13, 14 and 22 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and one of the experts in a project at the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights. Professor Mariola Racław drew up recommendations for the Marshal’s Office of the Wielkopolska Province, which constituted the basis for targeted assumptions regarding social care services in policy regarding senior citizens. Professor Magdalena Dudkiewicz conducted an evaluation of the functioning of programmes for the “Prevention of Domestic Violence” and “Protection of Victims of Domestic Violence” at the Warsaw City Offices. The findings were used by the Office of Aid and Social Projects of the Warsaw City Offices to draw up a programme for the years 2017-2020. In addition, the WSNSiR is a leading centre of population policy research, currently significant in the context of the low rate of natural population increase and lack of generational replacement. The said research translates to recommendations concerning the reformulation of pension insurance systems. An outstanding expert in this field is Professor Józefa Hrynkiewicz, appointed as the Chairperson of the Government Population Council by the Prime Minister. Józefa Hrynkiewicz’s significant contribution to the shaping of population policy, and the long-term functioning of society, the state and the economy, involved – among other things – the working out of the conceptual assumptions for a pensions system and its place in the social security system. The work process embraced regular seminars with regular participation by leading domestic experts in the field and members of parliament involved in parliamentary work on the matter. They include: Michał Seweryński (University of Lodz), Jerzy Żyżyński (University of Warsaw), Marcin Zieleniecki (University of Gdańsk), Grażyna Ancyparowicz (National Bank of Poland), Józef Oleński (Lazarski University), Leokadia Oręziak (Warsaw School of Economics), Barbara Petz (University of Warsaw), Ewa Giermanowska (University of Warsaw), Janusz Śniadek (Solidarity, Member of Parliament), and Stanisław Szwed (Member of Parliament). The results obtained during work in the seminars were used for preparing a draft for the pensions system and studies into other social policy issues related to population policy. The preliminary results were presented in October 2016, at a sitting of the National Development Council in the Chancellery of the President of Poland, during a debate regarding social policy.
4. The WSNSiR specialises in conducting applied research studies, which support the activities not only of domestic but also international public institutions. The Faculty’s researchers participate in international teams of experts, draw up reports and expert opinions constituting the grounds for preparing developmental strategies and the bills for legal acts, as well as the assumptions for reforms in international public policies in the area of education and the civil society. For example, Professor Bartłomiej Walczak took part in the years 2015 – 2016 in preparation of the concept for a system evaluating education in schools in Saudi Arabia, and also managed a training team of evaluators in the same country as part of “The Public Education Evaluation Commission”. As a Senior Research Consultant in 2016, in the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights OSCE, he and a team drew up the recommendations for materials currently being prepared by the ODHIR for teachers, and conducted an evaluation of previous editions of such materials. Another effect of this work is the proposal of methodological solutions to be implemented in research projects in other OSCE countries. Dr Magdalena Arczewska is a member of two prestigious organisations: the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL) and the Hudson Institute, both of which are based in Washington and both of which draw up annual reports regarding the legal environment and activities of the third sector around the world. The publications, reports and expert opinions of these organisations contribute to the implementation of systemic changes related to the activities of civil organisations all over the world. They are the only such reports on a European scale. For a report by Magdalena Arczewska on the Hudson Institute website, see: https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.hudson.org/files/publications/2015.06.15IndexofPhilanthropicFreedom2015.pdf
5. The Observatory of Living Culture – Research Network foundation was created in 2013 by academic staff, postgraduate students and students at the Institute of Applied Social Sciences at the University of Warsaw. It is currently an interdisciplinary nation-wide research network and free-access portal providing information on culture (www.ozkultura.pl). Thanks to grants and voluntary work, we are developing the theory of living culture devised by Professor Barbara Fatyga and an original research method – created through teamwork – for investigating practices, written works and images; we conduct Poland-wide and local research studies (diagnostic and evaluative, also in the form of consortia or on commission), as well as continuous monitoring of the condition of Polish culture at commune, poviat and province levels, and also provide training; we give support in the creation of development strategies, in putting together the range of cultural activities in local communities, and other interesting projects. Our ‘knowledge portal’ contains, among other things, a continuously updated repository of socio-cultural data (databases, for example geolocation data on the availability of living culture infrastructure); a Multisource Dictionary of Culture that includes the original Dictionary of the Living Culture Theory in English (http://ozkultura.pl/node/10606); libraries – with a digital library plus a printed catalogue, as well as a Library of Academic Degree Papers; provincial Lists of Recommended Experts; reports from research studies, diagnoses and expert evaluations, as well as compilations of indices, papers on theory, and – above all – on methodology, together with detailed instructions on what to do and how.
6. A project financed by the National Science Centre on the grounds of decision no. DEC-2013/11/D/HS6/04643, entitled: “The cultural knowledge of women and its transfer in a displaced and uprooted community. The prospects of agential empowerment in structurally unconducive conditions”. The project manager is Dr Aleksandra Herman, while the main goal of the research project is to identify the culture-forming empowered agency of women in conditions of displacement and uprooting, taking the Ukrainian community experiencing Operation Vistula as an example. In Polish-language literature, the social situation of the displaced is described mainly from the point of view of national identification and the processes of taking root, while a male perspective predominates in this research – with male forms used for referring to particular peoples, such as Ukrainians, Lemkos, the displaced, migrants, neighbours, activists or “culture of their fathers”, etc. This project steps beyond the portrayals to date, since it explores purposeful – though socially unnoticed – culture-creating involvement of women in fostering collective ethnic and religious identity in the specific conditions of broken territorial, cultural and neighbourly bonds. The female transfer of culture, both private (familial and intergenerational) and public (in schools, by institutions of culture, and within political activity), has been placed at the centre of interest in this research. Intergenerational variability in women’s knowledge, and in the way of using it, is depicted as a consequence of the translations made in the cultural transfer, in order to adjust it to the changing political and social conditions. The research thereby strives to achieve the inclusion of women’s experiences, and to breach the hitherto male-perspective epistemology.
7. Dr Adrianna Surmiak is conducting research into “The ethics of qualitative research in marginalised communities. Analysis of researchers’ experience” financed by the National Science Centre. The goal of this project is to analyse the experiences and ethical views of researchers conducting qualitative research studies in marginalised communities. Studies are to be conducted with the involvement of sociologists and sociocultural anthropologists, who by using such methods as interviewing and observation are investigating communities which, for various reasons, are not participating in important aspects of society (e.g. due to long-term unemployment, poverty or homelessness). The research also tackles ethics, or – simplifying things somewhat – the proper and improper conduct of researchers. Although there is already a fair amount of literature regarding research ethics, as well as a professional code of ethics, we know little regarding what researchers themselves think on this matter, or what principles and values they are guided by in their research.
8. Dr Mustafa Switat is managing a project entitled „Equal Opportunities” – an editio maior of „Al-Musawat” (Equality) by May (Marie) Ziade financed by the NPRH (National Programme for Development of the Humanities). „Al-Musawat” is a philosophical-sociological publication written by the Arab (Palestinian) journalist, writer and poet May Ziade, who tackled social topics in her works, and as one of the first women in the Middle East fought for equal rights for Arab women. Her romantic-oriental poetry and essays were pioneering. Though herself highly dependent on integration, throughout her life she recommended reconciling contradictory views in her published works. The first critical work of May Ziade’s position in the Polish language will above all enrich the field of sociology, since she tackled social issues and was a pioneer in fighting for Arab women’s equal opportunities in keeping with the European model. The translation of this work (highly valued in the West) will provide Polish scholars with an opportunity to learn of eastern sociology, from the point of view of a female Arab intellectual from the turn of the 20th century. In this work, Ziada presented issues connected to equal opportunities, in regard to aspects such as aristocracy, social stratification, slavery, socialism (peacetime and revolutionary), anarchism and nihilism. Her writings have been described as ahead of their time, proof of which is this particular publication; although written in the early 20th century, it remains topical to this day. Project participants: Professor Jacek Kurczewski, Professor Małgorzata Fuszara, Dr Mykhaylo Mykhaylovych Yakubovych and Dr Krzysztof Gajewski.
9. The WSNSiR is a leading centre of criminological, penitentiary and penological research (meaning research into crime, imprisonment and the phenomenon of punishment) in Poland. The Faculty’s staff are conducting fundamental and applied research, providing knowledge and recommendations for institutions in the justice system, and are implementing a research project directed by Professor Andrzej Rzepliński and financed by the National Science Centre, “Life imprisonment. The murderer, their crime, and the punishment” (2013/09/B/HS5/04518) concerning perpetrators guilty of the most serious crimes. Professor Beata Gruszczyńska, as an expert in several bodies established by the Council of Europe, Eurostat and the European Commission, is involved in work on improving and standardising European crime statistics. The research into crime is reflected in the Faculty’s teaching – and the WSNSiR was the first in Poland to offer courses in criminology. The research regarding the prison system tackles above all its resocialising role, and its place in the broader system of punishment and probation. It is reflected in practice within the criminal justice system in Poland. Dr Paweł Szczepaniak is part of a team appointed by the Ministry of Justice for preparing an appraisal of the functioning of probation and imprisonment bodies. There is direct collaboration with correctional facilities (e.g. Strzelce Opolskie) and remand facilities (e.g. Warsaw-Mokotów). The year 2016 saw the publication of a monumental work by Professor Michał Porowski, Dzieje więziennictwa polskiego w piśmiennictwie i dokumentach [lit. The History of the Polish Prison System in Literature and Documents]. Poland’s only European Centre of Penological Studies, headed by Professor Jarosław Utrat-Milecki, is based at the WSNSiR. The National Science Centre project on “Penal cultures…” (2011/01/B/HS5/03206) was carried out there. The centre has published works such as Kulturowe uwarunkowania polityki kryminalnej [lit. Cultural Conditions of Criminal Policy] or Reformy prawa karnego [lit. Penal law reforms].
10. EURYKA, Reinventing Democracy in Europe: Youth Doing Politics in Times of Increasing Inequalities, a project financed from EU funds as part of the Horizon 2020 programme. The Institute of Applied Social Sciences is one of the international consortium partners responsible for research activities in Poland. The Principal Investigator of the Polish team is dr Marcin Sińczuch. The other team members: Professor Ewa Giermanowska, dr Bogna Kietlińska, dr Mariusz Piotrowski, Piotr Michalski. EURYKA is a cross-national research project that provides systematic and practice-related knowledge about how social inequalities impact political and civil participation among youth. The project’s goal is to suggest novel models of democratic participation, so as to help reimagine a more inclusive European politics. EURYKA brings together researchers and civil society practitioners from nine European countries: France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. The project coordinator and consortium leader is the University of Geneva. With the aim of strengthening the potential of democracy in the countries of Europe, the goal of the project’s measures is to better understand the conditions, processes and mechanisms underpinning how young people do politics, and in particular related to ways in which opinions are formulated and to taking measures intended to bring about social and political change. The project is planned for the years 2017-2020. Analytical work regarding the functioning of selected areas of youth policy in Poland, along with consultation regarding the research tools, was carried out in 2017. Completion of the following modules is planned for the year 2018: analyses of political discourse regarding youth in selected media (the press); the first wave of panel-based research; individual in-depth interviews (IDIs) with leaders and youth activists; and a survey experiment.
11. Dr Marta Rawłuszko is conducting research into “Introducing gender quotas to the electoral law – the case study of Poland in comparison to other European countries” (financed by NCN). The subject of her research concerns the process of introducing gender quota to the electoral law in Poland. The change that took place in 2011 seems to be a part of a wider international trend of implementing institutional measures which aim at increasing women’s participation in politics. At the moment, 112 out of 194 countries of the world has got gender quota. It is one of the most popular instruments of promoting equality between men and women. The objective of the project is to examine closely the history and dynamics of the Polish case. The researcher is interested in answering the following questions: How did the legal change happen? What was the role of women and women’s movement (mostly coordinated by the Congress of Women), what were the arguments of parity/quota supporters and opponents? What were the opinions presented by media experts? Finally, what are the consequences of this process for the political representation of women? The research will contribute to better understanding of interconnections between women’s movement activism (including employed discursive strategies), state institutions, wider political environment and eventual institutional change and its far-reaching effects. One of the hypothesis the researcher proposes predicts that effectiveness of the women’s movement in changing the electoral law has been an outcome of the discursive strategies and arguments used in the debate, which successfully linked quotas with broader social conceptions of citizenship and equality. However, it did not remain without influence on the women’s movement itself and the representation of interests of various groups of women.