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'We must put ourselves in the position of the subject who tries to find his way in this world, and we must remember, first of all, that the environment by which he is influenced and to which he adapts himself is his world, not the objective world of science.'

W.I. Thomas
and
F. Znaniecki

Qualitative Sociology Review
2011
Volume VII Issue 3


Author-Supplied Abstracts & Keywords


Robert Prus
     University of Waterloo, Canada

Religion, Platonist Dialectics, and Pragmatist Analysis: Marcus Tullius Cicero's Contributions to the Philosophy and Sociology of Divine and Human Knowing

Whereas Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and Augustine are probably the best known of the early Western philosophers of religion, Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BCE) also played a particularly consequential role in the development and continuity of Greco-Latin-European social thought.
Cicero may be best known for his work on rhetoric and his involvements in the political intrigues of Rome, but Cicero’s comparative examinations of the Greco-Roman philosophies of his day merit much more attention than they have received from contemporary scholars. Cicero’s considerations of philosophy encompass much more than the theological issues considered in this statement, but, in the process of engaging Epicurean and Stoic thought from an Academician (Platonist) perspective, Cicero significantly extends the remarkable insights provided by Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. .
Although especially central to the present analysis, Cicero’s On the Nature of the Gods (1972) is only one of several texts that Cicero directs to a comparative (multiparadigmatic and transhistorical) analysis of divine and human knowing. .
Much of Cicero's treatment of the philosophy of religion revolves around variants of the Socratic standpoints (i.e., dialectics, theology, moralism) that characterized the philosophies of Cicero’s era (i.e., Stoicism, Epicureanism, Academician dialectics), but Cicero also engages the matters of human knowing and acting in what may be envisioned as more distinctively pragmatist sociological terms. .
As well, although Cicero’s materials reflect the socio-historical context in which he worked, his detailed analysis of religion represents a valuable source of comparison with present day viewpoints and practices. Likewise, a closer examination of Cicero’s texts indicates that many of the issues of divine and human knowing, with which he explicitly grapples, have maintained an enduring conceptual currency. .
This paper concludes with a consideration of the relevance of Cicero’s works for a contemporary pragmatist sociological (symbolic interactionist) approach to the more generic study of human knowing and acting.
Keywords:
Religion; God(s); Cicero; Plato; Philosophy; Pragmatism; Symbolic Interaction; Dialectic Analysis; Knowing; Epicureanism; Stoicism; Fatalism; Divination
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Jan K. Coetzee
     University of the Free State Bloemfontein, South Africa

Narrating Memory: Weighing up the Testimony

Memory is the ability to store, maintain and recall information and experiences. Although predominantly an individual attribute, memory coincides with the life-world, with consciousness and with the ability to define reality – all of which are shared with others. When analysing narratives the sociologist needs to situate individual memory within its broader context. The article follows the argument that individuals acquire their memories within a broader social context. They also recall and localise their memories within a broader social context. This article interprets a remarkable testimony: the story of a former political prisoner who circumcised a large number of young fellow inmates in the notorious prison on Robben Island, South Africa, during the period of Nelson Mandela’s incarceration. The article relates the narrative in question to the life-world of the narrator and to his experiences whilst serving his 18-year prison sentence. It reflects on the epistemological questions regarding memories. Memory as recollection, as reconstruction of events and information, and as process of re-membering come under the spotlight. Narratives that are often repeated start taking on a life of their own – particularly in the case of trauma memories. When analysing these narratives, the sociologist needs to distinguish between objective markers and subjective interpretation. Memory does not constitute pure recall by the individual. The article illustrates the effect of intersubjective and collective factors on the process of remembering. It calls for a reflexive process to identify, re-interpret and unpack the process of remembering.

Keywords:
Memory; Experience; Consciousness; Life-world; Re-membering; Intersubjectivity; African National Congress; Circumcision, Robben Island
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Muhammed Asadi
     Southern Illinois University, USA

CONSTRUCTING GLOBAL ‘WARS WITHOUT END': Vocabularies of Motive and the Structure of Permanent War

My purpose in this paper is to link the larger social context that structurally necessitates ‘wars without end’ perpetrated by the U.S. elite with the rhetoric that legitimizes them so as to sociologically situate the rhetoric, the vocabularies of motive within a historically formed war-centric social structure that reveals an easily discernible pattern in the use of language. I consider Franklin D. Roosevelt’s speech of December 8, 1941 announcing U.S. entry into World War II to be the rhetorical “Master Frame,” the blueprint in this regard that was subsequently incorporated by later presidents to justify all wars without end. I compared dissected components of this rhetorical Master Frame to war speeches made by different U.S. presidents in the pre- and post-World War II era to reveal the qualitative difference between war rhetoric of a peace-time social structure where war is an aberration and the permanent war based social structure of the post-World War II U.S., when war became the taken for granted norm.
Keywords:
Military Industrial Complex; Permanent War; Rhetoric
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Dimitri Mortelmans
    University of Antwerp, Belgium
Wendy Verheyen
     University of Antwerp, Belgium

A Dyadic View on the Post-separation Network of Single Mothers

Many empirical studies have focused on the quantitative changes in the social networks of divorced and separated people. In this qualitative study, we use interviews with dyads to construct a two-sided view of the support network after separation. The aim of the study is to gain insight into the needs for support after a relational breakup. Including a network member in the analysis enables a more detailed view on the interaction at hand in the bond between these women and their supportive network members. The results show that personal coping resources are left untouched. Giving advice on ones daily activities is counter-productive. This is better understood by non family members compared to the women’s parents (especially the mother). With respect to the reciprocity in these relationships, network members do not expect a return in the period after the separation.
Keywords:
Divorce; Social Network; Social Support; Grounded Theory; Dyadic Analysis
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