Institute for Political Studies
Faculty of Political Sciences, Belgrade University
Faculty of Political Sciences, Belgrade University
Faculty of Political Sciences, Belgrade University
Đorđe Stojanović, PhD, is the Research Associate of the Institute for Political Studies, Deputy Editor of the journal Srpska politička misao (Serbian Political Thought) and Editor-in-Chief of the journal Serbian Political Thought (English edition). Associate Professor at the Faculty of European Legal and Political Studies, Educons University in Novi Sad and Associate Professor at the Faculty for Media and Communications, Singidunum University. Guest researcher at Nagoya University, Japan (in 2013-2014 and in 2017) and at Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research in Braunschweig, Germany (2013). Author of the books: “Asocijativna demokratija: problemi i perspektive” (Associative democracy: problems and perspectives) (Krug, 2009), “Anatomija savremene države” (Anatomy of the Modern State) (co-authored by Živojin Đurić, Institute for Political Studies, 2012) and “The Symbolic Construction of the Enemy: the Case of Serbia and Japan” (Nagoya University, 2015).
HYBRID POSTMODERNIZATION OF SOCIAL WORK
This paper discusses the intensity, form, and degree of awareness of the postmodernization of social work. In that sense, the postmodernization of social work means its discursive and metanarrative placement in the context of globally postmodernized societies, both at the level of external institutional network of meaning and at the level of internal reconfiguration, reformulation, redefinition, and reorganization according to new postmodern principles, agendas, and requirements. However, this does not mean absorbing some other metanarrative, but formulating an authentic metanarrative of social work. The explanation of postmodernity and postmodernization does not necessarily have to be part of the "intellectual-speculative" sphere of postmodernism, that is, some modernist theories may be integrated with some postmodernist discursive protocols for the purpose of a hybrid explanation of a relevant phenomenon. Social work is at a significant turning point that requires a whole set of questions and related answers with implicit consequences for the practice of social work and the professional identity of social workers. Using the autochthonous contextual situational experiences of Serbia, as the main features of this transformation, we can detect:
- The existence of a genuine metanarrative of social work, which can also be described as a counter-narrative, constructed as deideologized, plural and distanced from generating and regenerating any power relations and power structures that do not benefit marginalized, vulnerable and exposed to processes of creating and maintaining inequality. The transmission of theoretical principles into practical procedures is emphasized as a matter of special importance.
- The actual metanarrative of social work directly opposes the neoliberal metanarrative in a wide range, which includes rejection of: market regulation of social work, new managementism, the inevitability of poverty, the disappearance/eliminating social work as a profession etc.
- The metanarrative of social justice is postmodern, but not in an anti-foundationalist sense or through the incorrect vulgar-postmodernist formula that "anything can go." Its universalism is post-foundationalist in nature (Marchart 2007), it has variable content and means of distribution.
- Inversion of the inefficient welfare state project with the social investment state project. The risk is no longer external in nature, but designed/produced. The action of social work is not aimed at repairing the consequences of its appearance, but prophylactically before its appearance.
- Cultural, historical and contextual/situational in social work no longer means adaptation to the universal, but its construction. Social work practice is therefore exposed to constant changes in the client's preferences/needs and understanding of care and help.
- The difference is no longer equal to the deviation.
- In addition to the fact that class, religious, gender, racial, educational, national and generational constructions are still extremely strong and formative, it is important to emphasize that postmodernization of social work does not mean rejecting theories relevant for the functioning of social work, but their nonlinear complement. They are not relativized, but contextualized. In this sense, we are talking about the process of hybrid postmodernization of social work. This implies the depsychologization of social work, that is, the rejection of the psychological theoretical paradigm as the most authoritative and most efficient in solving socially induced problems.
- Although the identity of social workers is often stuck between preferences and structural possibilities, the fact is that they are often bureaucratized and opportunistic conformists who cannot distinguish between short-term and long-term changes, and do not see their profession as a process of constant empowerment of the vulnerable, marginalized and unequal. Their metanarrative is based on the constant opposition to fixed/petrified/structural power: their power is in the negation of power relations.
NIKLAS LUHMANN'S SOCIAL SYSTEMS THEORY: THE ISSUE OF SUBSYSTEM AUTONOMY
Niklas Luhmann articulates the basic elements of his authentic theoretical position as criticism of, as he calls them, classical sociology or classical organisation theory. While within these orientations, (social) systems are mainly interpreted as centralised entities whose structures are stabilised by purpose determined at the top, Luhmann, in his general theory of social systems privileges internal differentiation in which subsystems autonomously define their purposes, making society more flexible and capable of responding to environmental challenges. In that sense, the main intention of this paper is the creation of cognitive interest for the notions of complexity and flexibility, i.e. for the issue of subsystem autonomy, as the important elements of Luhmann's general theory of social systems. Our premise is that the establishment of subsystem autonomy is not a matter of mere, a priori, theoretical and/or practical arbitrariness, nor does it mean an introduction into deconstruction of the system, but it represents a necessary step in the creation of successful responses of the social system to problems arising from the immense and dynamic complexity of its own environment. In other words, through the process of internal differentiation, by establishing subsystem autonomy, the social system increases its own complexity, i.e. ability to adjust to the environment. Thus, challenges arising from the environment are not transferred to the whole, but localised and processed in the appropriate, autonomous parts of the system. By so increasing its internal complexity, the system undeniably acquires the necessary flexibility, or capability for a faster and more efficient creation of alternative.
STRUCTURALISM AND POST-STRUCTURALISM: THEORETICAL TENSIONS AND DIMENSIONS
This paper compares and critically examines the most important features of structuralism and post-structuralism as two extremely important theoretical orientations for understanding current social and political reality in genere. In this regard, the following theoretical premises/conceptualizations will be analyzed: structure, subject, identity, linguistic forms, rhetorical incoherences of the text and generative consequences of power, that is, contextualization of its historically given/inherited institutions and practices. In addition to trying to fill the evident void of understanding these two discourses at the level of the Serbian political space, paper also pleads for their intense projection/application in the interpretation of indigenous Serbian political reality. The paper treats poststructuralism both as a kind of intrinsic critique of structuralism and as “structuralism of structuralism”, a kind of, very freely speaking, “meta-structuralism”. More or less, theoretical postulates underlying structuralism and post-structuralism, of which we distinguish anti-foundationalism and anti-essentialism, can be registered in various scientific disciplines: from sociology and ethnology, through the political science and law, to history or, even, theology. The internal thematic configuration of post-structuralism includes decentralization, anti-genesis/anti-origin and anti-totality, poststructuralism rejects categorization, positional static, and fixedness of any kind in favor of the kinetic and fluidity of different, vertical and horizontal, social statuses and identities. In doing so, the postmodern meta-narrative is perceived as a cultural manifestation/valence of the academically formulated meta-narrative of post-structuralism. Poststructuralism doesn’t accept that society is constructed, homogenized and transformed through extremely powerful and influential institutions/traditions based on ahistorical, unison, one-dimensional or singular ideas/logic. In contrast, it is, like postmodernism, multiperspective, contextual and historical, focused on specific cultures, structures, social grammars and texts. Unlike structuralism, which is primarily intended to scientifically determine these universal social structures, post-structuralism is directed to repudiate them, to diminish our confidence in them. Finally, following what James Williams says, post-structuralism occupies an important place in what might be called “Neo-Enlightenment” (Williams 2005, 153–167). Poststructuralism has the potential to become a revitalizing energy needed to restore the creative and critical attributes of all aspects of social life in terms of realizing more than necessary changes. Ergo, its further study, popularization and application is one of the important tasks of the Serbian scientific community/scene.
Charismatic Dimension of Political Leadership: The Case of Serbia
The paper addresses the problem of relationship between charismatic political leadership and democracy. In that sense, the charismatic foundation of the present Serbian political leadership is defined through the “de-charismatisation” of cultural codes of malignant charismatic movements, embodied in ideological constructs of “Seseljism” and “Slobism”, and through changes in symbolic charismatic content, expressed by promotion of democratic values and discursive recoding of the enemy and corruption culture. In other words, the scientific paper analyzes metamorphosis of Serbian “charismatic discourse”- from institutional charisma to personal charisma and from charismatic institutions to charismatic personality.
"Responsibility to Protect" from Aggression
In this article the author discusses about the relationship between a “Responsibility to protect” doctrine and crime of aggression, advocating further doctrinal development. The R2P doctrine is a new norm based on the idea that sovereignty is not a privilege, but a responsibility of states to protect civilians from horrors of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing. Debatable in R2P doctrine is the fact that even if the crime of aggression is a part of the contemporary international criminal law, it is not part of the R2P. Pondering over the reasons for the exclusion of aggression, the author examines types of the aggression’s responsibilities, juxtaposes them to doctrinal goals and objectives, and perceives the crime of aggression as an additional control mechanism for the implementation of a R2P doctrine.
Bring Back the State: New Challenges of Stabilization in the Former Yugoslav Territories
This article examines the political context of new challenges in stabilization in the Former Yugoslav Territories same as breaking the veil of secrecy in the Former Yugoslav Territories. While debates over the dissolution of Yugoslavia have extended into the spheres of history, education and public space, this article focuses on the principles of apology, reconciliation, international law and on importance of cover-ups in archives, in our region.