rss_2.0Studia Universitatis Babes-Bolyai Sociologia FeedSciendo RSS Feed for Studia Universitatis Babes-Bolyai Sociologia Universitatis Babes-Bolyai Sociologia Feed and Cons of Online Social Support Exchange on Social Networking Sites: A User’s Perspective<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The article dissects the subject of online social support exchange on social networking sites, or SNS (mostly Facebook and Instagram) through the eyes of the platforms’ active users. Drawing on 20 semistructured in-depth interviews with SNS users from Ukraine, it discusses both the benefits of support exchange in the online realm, such as speed, resilience, unobtrusiveness, and its drawbacks, such as depersonalization, ‘ghosting,’ and privacy concerns. The text also explores the sentiments towards some of the main digital instruments of exchanging support on SNS, in particular posts and various forms of “likes,” as well as the perceived effectiveness of online social support in general. Additionally, it provides some context on how the phenomenon has been impacted by the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue for Authenticity: Critical Analysis of Gender Roles and Radical Movements in Personal Development Practices in Contemporary Society<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Personal development has become an industry in neoliberal capitalism, used to help employees adapt to the constant pursuit of growth, such as increased productivity, creativity, time management and business development. As part of my doctoral research, I documented how this type of practice works and how it restructures individuals’ social lives and their perspectives on the world. Personal development, as shaped by neoliberalism, serves as a tool for personal empowerment and adaptation to the restructuring of the welfare state. It is also a means of promoting neoliberal values among people. However, during the containment measures during the pandemic, criticisms of this growth-based approach emerged, leading to a resurgence of ideas about personal care. Self-care developed particularly in marginalised communities, where it was defined as a form of resistance to capitalism through caring for oneself as a member of an oppressed community, with Audre Lorde (1988) defining the concept as having a power of resistance to capitalism. In this presentation, I will explore what happens to personal development, which is a key factor in the construction of capitalist ideology, if neoliberalism is coming to an end. I will also consider whether this is a good time to reclaim personal development and how it can be used to create tools for self-building beyond the intrinsic individualism of the process.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue and Social Knowledge or What We Do Not Know About What We Believe We Know<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>What is knowledge and how can we analyse it from within social sciences as social knowledge? Our socially driven intuition tells us that knowledge is a special relation that humans have with their surrounding world. Its specificity lies primarily in the fact that it implies a direct interaction with the environment. Another important and interesting characteristic of knowledge is its tendency to replace interactions with reality with interactions between pieces of knowledge produced about that specific reality. Connected to this, regarding the issue of truth, paraphrasing both Einstein and Smith, this article argues that ‘an invisible hand’ of the realities of social phenomena makes it so, that the accepted truths of a certain society are those and only those that are functional for the survival and reproduction of that society. And for this to happen it is a must that the elite designated with the production and the legitimation of ‘the truths’ exists and produces those ‘truths’ that support the ‘general interest’ of that respective society. Most importantly is to understand that the consistency of the legitimated truths with the dominant values of the society imbedded in its social order is far more important that their consistency with the empirical observations of the reality.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue and the Real-Estate– Development–Driven Housing Regime. The Case of Romania in Global Context<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The article examines how deindustrialization as economic restructuring and housing regime changes evolved interconnectedly in Romania during the Great Transformation from state socialism to neoliberal capitalism. This article also explores how they acted as conditions for the emergence of a real-estate-development-driven housing regime (REDD-HR) alongside other factors. The analysis is from the perspective of the geographical political economy on the variegated pathways of these phenomena across borders and secondary statistical data collected by two research projects conducted in Romania in the past two years. In the Eastern semiperiphery of global capitalism or a country of the Global Easts with a socialist legacy, after 1990, the state restructured the economy by privatizing industry and public housing. During state socialism, the housing regime supported industrialization-based urbanization, whereas deindustrialization-cumprivatization in emerging capitalism facilitated the appearance of real estate development. On the one hand, the article enriches studies on deindustrialization by highlighting the role of housing in the transformation of industrial relations; on the other hand, the paper revisits housing studies by analyzing deindustrialization as a process with an impact on the changing housing regime. Altogether, deindustrialization-cum-privatization and the changing housing sector are analyzed as prerequisites of the REDD-HR.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Elusive Relationship of State Power and Societal Peace: Reflections on the Case of Kosovo<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Twenty years ago, NATO’s intervention against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), taking place without the approval of the UN Security Council (UNSC), challenged the sovereignty and non-interference norms the UN had perceived as international peace and order, until that moment. While the military action served to question existing principles, it simultaneously examined the effectiveness of non-authorization. Moreover, the Kosovo case stimulated one of the most important UN reforms that transformed the concept of sovereignty from right to responsibility. Conceptually, the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) has largely advanced since then. The transformation shifted the attention from political to sociological peace making society, gender and victims of conflict at the focus of peacebuilding and peace sustaining processes. The juxtaposition of state and societal peace continues in post-conflict Kosovo with both approaches being intermingled: the security debate covers attempts for a peace-building agenda, whereas the formation of a national army is pursued.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue and Sanctions. Some Economic and Political Lessons to be Learned From Materialist Anthropology<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The political field seems to prefer the intellectual resources offered by Political Sciences and Economic Sciences because they fit well into the habits created by the daily practice of power. Assuming that it is not just about self-censorship, the current perspective offered by these scientific fields has some blind spots, and risks legitimizing an unfounded optimism regarding the effectiveness of the means used in the crisis generated by the Russian-Ukrainian war. That is why I consider the perspective offered by materialist anthropology to be very useful for describing the complexity of the power relations, and for a fine-tuning of what-is-at-stake. This perspective, which looks at long-term trends, can highlight the differences between imagined power (given by habits, abstractions and the assumption of continuities) and real power (given by the technologies and resources that matter, real scarcity and international competition). I concluded that the imagined power relations of today are a <italic>survival</italic> of the real power relations from the near past (when the GDP in the Western world was correlated with powerful local manufacturing and a complete dominance in high-tech research). Our mindset, habits and biases created a blind-spot that made difficult to grasp the complexity of the situation and to react accordingly.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Reviews and Population Growth in 1970’s Romania: An Overview of Demographic Studies Published in ‘Viitorul Social’ Journal<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This paper looks at how demographic knowledge was articulated in the 1970s in Romania in a context shaped by both a restrictive natalist agenda and the reestablishment of institutional affiliations with western academia. An account is given of the specific institutional affiliations that coordinated and made knowledge transfers possible between French and Romanian agencies. The text then focuses on the specific vocabulary and reasoning mechanisms employed in a series of texts published throughout the 1970s in the sociological journal Viitorul Social, a monthly magazine of socialist doctrine, culture and politics. The aim is to start a discussion about the possibility that the reestablishment of institutional connections with French demographic trends in the early ᾿70s lent Romanian demographers a type of conservative scientific reasoning and vocabulary that was attuned to the natalist politics of the time. In turn, this authorised a highly politicised portrayal of working-class women as culpable for the diminishing birth-rates in Romania. The text ends by suggesting other research paths that might help situate demographic knowledge production and its ties with reproduction politics.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Efficiency and Personal Time Requirements for Human Resources Professionals after Telecommuting<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The exploitation of work and household responsibilities among women and men remains a pressing issue with significant impacts on employee productivity and satisfaction. This study sheds light on the patterns of exploitation and their consequences, with a specific focus on the experiences of HR professionals. The research emphasizes the prevalence of the “flexibility stigma” in society, which views flexible work arrangements, including teleworking, as less committed, motivated, and productive compared to traditional 9-5 work hours. The study also highlights the tendency for workers to extend their work hours when boundaries between work and personal life become blurred. In particular, the study highlights the increased likelihood of working overtime as a result of teleworking, which can further contribute to the exploitation of work and household responsibilities. For HR professionals, it is essential to understand these challenges and develop strategies that support employees’ work-life balance and well-being. The study concludes by calling for a comprehensive approach that considers the institutional and cultural contexts in which employees operate and that prioritizes their well-being and productivity.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Social Justice for Disabled People. A Framework Based on Amartya Sen’s Capability Approach<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Understanding disability as a social phenomenon opened up the way for disability studies and social justice theories to mutually benefit from each other. One of the most significant recent advancements in the field of social justice has been the capability approach (CA) of Amartya Sen. The present paper builds on the CA to analyse disability form a social justice perspective. We argue that the CA provides several advantages when conceptualizing disability and furthering justice for disabled people. The objective of the paper is to develop a framework for analysis on the basis of the CA and to apply it through the case of D/deaf and hardof- hearing children and their carers in Szeged, Hungary. We demonstrate that the advancement of justice occurs through the scrutiny and comparison of feasible alternatives instead of arguing for principles or institutional guarantees of perfectly just societies.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Illegibility: A Brief History of Forced Evictions in Postsocialist Romania<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Forced evictions have been recognised as a relevant process in Romanian post-socialist urban transformations. Housing privatization, including restitutions, represents the key driver. Some attempts in grasping the scale of the process have already been made. This article brings extensive quantitative data stemming from national and local levels, which can support improved estimations of the scale: reports of the National Union of Bailiffs and answers to public information requests from multiple municipalities; archival data, local press monitoring and accounts of the process in the city of Cluj-Napoca. At least 100 thousand forced evictions are estimated to have taken place at national level between 1990-2017, comprising several hundred thousand individuals, the Roma population being disproportionately affected. Qualitative data produced through activist research complements the picture. The findings contribute to the debate regarding postsocialist urban transformations, indicating that the role of the state in the production of the housing market through forced evictions-based gentrification has been insufficiently acknowledged. The results are relevant to policy debates, as well as to housing activist practices<sup>2</sup>.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Policy Reform in Albania Stuck in Transition<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This article provides an analysis of social policy regarding social protection of vulnerable groups in Albania, by screening whether the welfare state has responded to the varying needs of socially excluded citizens. The scope is to explore how the consecutive reforms of social policy have addressed the social effects of poverty and social exclusion. The analysis delves into the welfare policy official documents to discover how the vulnerable groups needs are addressed and what is the impact of policymakers, service providers, and service users on social policy shape. Social policy reforms developed after the totalitarian regime and have promoted familialism and gender regime, which have reinforced gender stereotypes of women as primary caregivers and have denied them equal access and full participation in the free labour market. During the transition period, the reforms faced conceptual barriers delaying their application. The minimalist approach of social policy offered insufficient protection to vulnerable citizens from the adversities of life. Social care services for children, elderly and people with disabilities suffer from a persistent lack of funding. The social welfare is offered through few social services provided from civil society. Due to the lack of social care services, the users of the welfare state lack the substantial means for inclusion. The welfare state policies need a reformation to offer decent economic aid and social care services.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Stress and its Perceived Negative Impact on the Health and Performance of the Employees of a Banking Call Center<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Professional stress is a challenge for many companies that want to keep their employees within the organization on one hand and to ensure their performance through a comfortable working environment on the other. This study investigated and evaluated the perceptions of 14 male employees (French and Romanian speakers) working in the same banking call center in Timisoara regarding the causes and effects of work-related stress. The applicability of this study is to develop possible strategies and practices for controlling and reducing work-related stress in order to decrease the high staff turnover. The elaboration of this research is based on the concepts of occupational stress, its effects on the perceived emotional and physical health of the employees but also on their performance and motivation at work. To carry out this qualitative research, we used a semi-structured interview guide written in both Romanian and French, since half of the interviewees are Romanians, and the other half are North Africans from Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria. The main topics on which the interview guide questions were developed are the following: personal and professional experience, working schedule, work rate, performance, motivation, mental and physical health and how all the aforementioned contribute to professional mobility. The research results show that the employees performance and motivation at work are indeed affected by the perceived occupational stress, but it is not the main reason why they consider changing the current job. For most of the interviewed employees, the individual life goals, ambitions, and future projections are the ones influencing them to look for another job position after gaining the desired experience within the call centers.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Crisis and Gentrification in FDI Export-Led Economies: Prices in the Demanddriven Housing Market of Cluj-Napoca<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This paper examines the rapid increase of prices in the residential sector of Cluj-Napoca in the context of the housing affordability crisis (Wetzstein, 2017). By using insight from the Growth Regimes literature, we look at the internal demand as a main driver of rapid price rise. As Kohl and Spielau (2018) argue, the monetary conditions needed for export-led growth regimes are restricting the outputs of the construction sector, creating under-supplied, demand-driven housing markets. We propose three alternative hypotheses regarding the major agent driving the prices within the city as major source of demand: the employees in knowledge-intensive services, the diffuse regional savings of employees in search for some yields, the specialized real estate investors. We use OLS and spatial regression (lag and error) to model the price per square meter using the social composition of the neighbourhoods, the within and out-of-town origin of investors, and the source of money (bank loans vs. cash payment) to demonstrate that the existing crisis is driven by the middle class’s savings that also benefits from gentrification, while speculative investments in the housing markets are rather limited.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue and Boundaries Issues in the Transition from Face-to-Face Talking Therapy to Online Therapy in the Time of Covid-19<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The primary main aim of this article is to explore the changes and adjustments brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic to the therapeutic process in the transition from face-to-face talking therapy to online therapy. Online therapy sessions, once a niche, have now become the norm in therapeutic work. This, more than ever before, raises the question of the efficacy of online therapy compared to face-to-face talking therapy. A related question is how the “classical” elements of in-person therapies (especially the psychodynamic, affective and relational-based), such as: the therapeutic alliance, the therapeutic containing space, the therapeutic relationship, etc. work in the on-line setting. This article draws on a primary qualitative exploratory research carried among Romanian clients who undergo a psychodynamic type of therapy and who transitioned from face-to-face to online therapy as a reaction to the new constraints engendered by the COVID-19 pandemic and after the measures were relaxed, the transition from on-line to in-person therapy. Our focus is on how they experience online therapy compared to face-to-face therapy in terms of intimacy, therapeutic frame and efficacy, as well as on the boundaries challenged, erased and created by the switch between the two types of therapy settings.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Typology of Shrinking Cities: The Social and Economic Dynamic of Romanian Urban Network 2010-2020<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The aim of the paper is to open the issue of multiple shrinkage trajectories in a context of extended urbanisation (Keil 2018) by delineating the different trajectories of Romanian cities. We employed principal component analysis to allow for a multi-criterial classification of Romanian cities based on k-means cluster analysis. Beyond the dominant representation of shrinkage as a process that is mainly correlated with population loss and economic decline, this paper calls for bridging together distinct dimensions which have been either under-studied, such as the aspect of human development, or studied separately across the existing literature, such as governance of shrinkage and economic growth. Therefore, the typology developed here accounts for understanding the process of shrinkage as a complex process, having multiple causes, which determine peculiar trajectories. The outcome confirms the existence of distinct and highly localised shrinkage identities (Martinez-Fernandez, Audirac, et al. 2012). We show that regrowth is not strictly related to the urban core, but it has more to do with a process of complexification of the landscape and social relations existing at the periphery of the city. Shrinking core cities coexists with growing peri-urban areas.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Ambiguities and Classification Struggles in the Post-Socialist Informal Medical Economy<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>In this paper I will engage in a process of highlighting the way in which liberal and, later, neoliberal political agendas regulate and establish formal semantic registers in the field of medical informal economy within the Romanian public healthcare system. How accurate is the legalistic approach, which classifies any extra-payment as a bribe? Despite the questionable legal status, the voluntary informal economy acquires the role of establishing bridges at human level between doctor and patient. Far from pleading to accept the conditioning of the medical act by an additional payment from patients or their family members, facts that obviously fall within the scope of illegality, I claim that the labels of “corruption”, “bribe”, “informal payment” cannot be correctly applied to the whole phenomenon of informal exchanges. Moreover, the gifts offered as a form of gratitude or to tame the “medical gaze” even have a role of social link between doctor and patient, helping to bind an unwritten human contract between the two who, in fact, are victims of the same system and its political decision-makers.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue on the Role of the School in Social Mobility<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The role of the school in the process of status attainment for individuals with different social origins should be analysed both from the perspective of social mobility flows (absolute rates of mobility) and inequality of social chances (relative rates and odds ratios). Inspired by Raymond Boudon’s earlier studies in the 1970s, the author scrutinises the complex relationships between expanding access to higher levels of education, social mobility trajectories, and inequality of chances of status achievement in the context of persistent inequalities in contemporary capitalist societies. He concludes that at the societal level, an increase of the dependency of achieved social status on educational qualification will lead to greater immobility if the inequality of educational chances remains constant. At the level of individuals, the same process will lead to greater probability of upward mobility in the case of people with higher levels of educational qualification, and greater probability of downward mobility for those with lower educational qualification.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Review: (), Silviu Medeșan, București: Ozalid, 2021, 334 pages. Multi-National Practices of Transfer and Managerial Discrepancies: Evidence from a Romanian Call Center<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This paper describes workplace dynamics in a call centre located in Romania, a subsidiary of a multi-national corporation (MNC). Positing a centralised practice transfer and global management strategy, the company relies exclusively on home-country decision makers. Placed within Romania’s dependent economic profile alongside its deregulated employment relations, centralised managerial decisions create widespread organisational uncertainty with numerous hire and fire and downsizing procedures, followed by subsequent recruitment campaigns designed to replace the previously displaced workforce.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue