Estimating an equivalence scale for Romania

Calculating the poverty rate, determining eligibility for social welfare benefits or any other analysis of the well‐being of families or households results in the transformation of these persons (rather than from the perspective of the size or structure of the family unit) into comparable families /households formed from so‐ called “equivalent adults”. This transformation is made with the help of equivalence scalesUnder the chosen equivalency scale, large households are “pushed” into poverty if an abrupt scale is used, similarly with smaller households if the scale is too straight. Which equivalence scales are most used? Under what circumstances does this scale correspond to the actual usage in our country’s households? Should different percentages be applied for children, elders, different genders or residential environment? Does the equivalency scale change over time? Here are a few questions we have tried to answer, while estimating an equivalency scale which reflects the actual behavior of our country’s households regarding consumption.

Social innovation – a thematic map

This article is intended to support an early discussion around the social innovation topic in the Romanian academic debate initiated by the Research Institute for Quality of Life, through its project “Social Innovation ‐  factor in socio‐economic development”. In the preface to this discussion and theorization of the field, a review of existing literature and a critical analysis of the concepts covered so far in this thematic map prove to be necessary. The article advances a definition of the social innovation concept, continues by emphasizing aspects related to product and process in social innovation and concludes by stressing the alternative perspectives that can be developed in a theory of social innovation.

The motivated self-deceit, the self-hatred and hatred of other: Freudian repression in communism and post-communism

The study explores the causes and consequences of “Freudian repression”, as analyzed by Billig (1999), in communism and post‐communism. The repression of unacceptable, shameful, evil, painful thoughts from the conscious mind is considered in psychoanalysis a central process in the dynamic of personality. The focus is on the Freudian repression that might be generated by ideological restrictions and filters, which are imposed through the brutal terror systemically enacted by the specialized institutions of the communist regimes. The study advances the idea that in communism the motivated self‐deceit has become a mass‐phenomenon through repressing and hiding in the unconscious mind of all the individual’s authentic feelings, thoughts, experiences and expressions that were different and especially opposed to the official representations, narratives, discourse, ideological principles and political authority.   

Due to the duration, depth, and relational expansion of the ideologically based repression of the authentic thoughts, feelings, experiences and expressions of individuals and communities, a schizogenic social context was generated in time. Such a context was favorable to the erosion of self‐love and of the love of the other and to the replacement of these emotional bonds with mistrust, disdain and hatred toward oneself and others. The ideological principles and the political algorithm restrained systematically the individual autonomy  and enhanced the de‐individuation process.  

Based on the fundamental role of language in the Freudian repression (Billig, 1999) the study attempts to identify the major types of motivated self‐deceit practiced in communism and the main types of motivated self‐deceit that emerged in post‐communism. These types are discussed in relationship with the long‐term Freudian repression of the authentic thoughts, feelings, expression and experiences of the individuals and communities. Th e ideological roots of Freudian repression in communism was strongly associated with the drastic limitation of the free dialogue between self and other, and of the interdiction of the free expression in public places.  

The motivated self‐deceit that involves the cover up of the censorship actions and traces and is ideologically rooted differs thought its content and mechanisms from the motivated self‐deceit that is nurtured mainly by sexual and interpersonal tensions. The ideologically rooted self‐deceit threatens the social and cultural identity of the individual, one’s own cardinal moral, religious and political values. The answering process to the essential questions such as “Who am I?” and “Who are We?” is disturbed. Once the individual becomes a tool of an ideology of terror supported by specialized institutions the chances of self‐hatred are increased and the hatred of others increases too. The ideologically motivated self‐deceit that emerged during communism has long term‐consequences that continued in post‐communism. The fragmented existential identity, the distorted existential identity, and the pressure to protect evil secrets are considered to be associated with these consequences.

Sociology and politics. Anthony Giddens’ and Cătălin Zamfir’s answer.

Competent voices, like A. Giddens in UK (2006) and C. Zamfir in Romania (2009), claim that sociology, as an academic science, is declining in prestige, public  interest and significance of its researches. This paper argues that we face a social process whose causes are rooted in the changes that took place in the relationship between sociology (the scientific research of modern society) and politics. Sociology was significant as a science as much time as different groups of politicians confronted themselves on the issue of the best distribution system of social and economic resources of the society. In such conjunctures, alternative sociological paradigms developed in order to support the legitimacy of alternative distribution systems. The mechanism is as old as known political history, and it had its “ups”, when alternative political options for alternative distribution systems were competing, and “downs”, when a dominant distribution system was unchallenged by alternative political options. The last decades illustrate times when a politically unchallenged distribution system – the “free market capitalism” – dominated both the political action, and the academic and everyday ideology, via globalization and post communism. The present financial crises and the economic recession it produces, both in developed and in developing economies like Romania’s, are questioning the dominating distribution system, but sociology and sociologists are poor prepared for a debate and, thus, for renewal.

The index of sustainable development in Romania at district and regional level

This paper is an outline of a research project aimed to measuring sustainable development for Romanian regions and counties using a statistical software: the Dashboard of Sustainability. For this purpose a composite indicator of sustainability was created comprising of 19 indicators grouped into four main dimensions of sustainable development: environmental, institutional, economic and social, with a particular focus on the later.

Discrimination in Romania in comparison to the situation of neighbouring countries (Bulgaria and Hungary) and with the situation in the European Union

This study employs the secondary analysis of data from the 296 special Eurobarometer on “Discrimination in European Union: perceptions, experiences and attitudes”. We selected from the research report the data concerning the general state on discrimination in the European Union (EU) and used it to create a comparison frame for Romania’s case. Also, we present the data from the surveys done in Romania with the data from Bulgaria and Hungary, neighboring ex‐communist countries, current members of the EU.

About social innovation in French literature

In this article we are concerned about the social innovation concept (its multiple meanings, the difficulties of conceptualization, the standards and the obstacles in its working definition; it presents the definitions currently employed for this term by the Research Centre on Social Innovation in Quebec). Furthermore, the article briefly talks about the role of social innovation in social development and if its importance for different actors: researchers and research organisations, decision-makers and public authorities, European and non-European organisations, civil society organisations.

Reply to Faust as sociologist: nevertheless, is it possible for a sociologist to be happy?” (in Zamfir, 2009, A Subjective History in the Romanian Sociology. Beginning with 1944 until now)

Ștefan Buzarnescu replies to Cătălin Zamfir’s chapter in O istorie subiectivă  în sociologia românească. Din 1944 până  în prezent [A Subjective History in the Romanian Sociology. Beginning with 1944 until now] (Polirom, 2009), „Faust ca sociolog: poate totuși sociologul să  fie fericit” [„Faust as sociologist: nevertheless, is it possible for a sociologist to be happy?”].