Understanding Problems of Social Pathology

Understanding Problems of Social Pathology

Understanding Problems of Social Pathology

Understanding Problems of Social Pathology

Synopsis

A social reality (including social pathology) is constantly being constructed anew in the process of confrontation of perspectives and definitions of individuals, institutions and social groups. Therefore what interests the authors of the book more than the disputes on the right definition, is the understanding of social pathology phenomena - their causes, mechanisms, and social costs. Complex and multidimensional as it is, social reality is best described from various perspectives. For that reason, a potentially interesting and fruitful interdisciplinary approach characterises the book. It contains mainly texts of psychologists who work at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow. The articles of sociologists, lawyers, and one theoretician of education broaden the horizon and thus contribute new insights to the entirety of the book. The body of articles predominantly relates to Polish reality, as well as stems from the experience of the Polish society in the period of political transformation. No less interesting are the articles on the pathology of political discourse, community-policing problems in France, and issues of social concern (victims of violence, problems of the elderly, and collective behaviour). The volume is of interest for social scientists and professionals as well as for students.

Excerpt

Przemysław Piotrowski

The world we live in is the arena of dramatic changes in almost every sphere of human life. In the span of last 15 years, we witnessed a whirl of events reflecting the power of human spirit and mind - suffice it to mention the fall of the Berlin Wall, integration of Europe, an unprecedented advancement in medicine and computer technologies. At the same time we are faced with a proliferation of facts that make us ponder over human destructiveness such as the armed conflicts in various parts of the globe, two wars in the Persian Gulf, the terrorist attack of 09.11, or the so-called “war on terror”. Never before had the world been so “small” and vulnerable, and never before had there been so many divisions and tensions. The progress in most spheres of life (science, economy, etc.) is the sign of our times no less than the prevalent inequality in the distribution of wealth and a serious underdevelopment of some of the world's regions. The achievements of human mind that could serve the purpose of saving human life, or at least enhancing its quality are primarily implemented for the military purpose. The global phenomena, such as the easy flow of information, people or capital are not accompanied by creation of the global institutions of control and the implementation of universally accepted legal regulations. Also, as the antiglobalist demonstrations show, the consequences of globalisation do not meet with a widespread, enthusiastic reception. The changes of mentality are much slower than those ensuing from the multifarious process of globalisation. Zygmunt Bauman, a philosopher, uses the term of second separation to describe the era we live in and the anxieties we experience. On a large scale, we witness changes in deeply rooted lifestyles, management techniques, the loosening up of social bonds, diminished significance of the fundamental social institution - the family. Instability and insecurity are also observable in the sphere of morality. The heated debate over euthanasia or homosexual marriages reflects the chaos in this sphere of life. Global socio-political and economic changes lead to the emergence of crises and tensions in lives of individuals and of entire societies. In line with contemporary changes, politics should have a global character, whereas it is still arrested in the formula of interstate treaties, allegiances or disputes. According to Bauman, the situation evokes the period at the turn of the 18th century, where Europe witnessed the onset of the first separation - a separation of the workplace from the world of local community and households. Aside from technical revolution, urbanisation and emancipation there was human suffering and starvation of the masses . . .

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