Socrates: “It amuses me to see how afraid you are lest the common herd of men should accuse you of recommending useless studies.”
J. J. Thomson (discoverer of the electron, in a speech in 1916): “(…) applied science leads to reforms, pure science leads to revolutions (...).”
What are the applied social sciences?
These sciences are most often defined as follows:
- as the application of existing knowledge for resolving practical problems in social life;
- as the creation of quite narrowly specialised knowledge aimed at resolving social problems.
The scientific community at the ISNS UW, the Institute of Applied Social Sciences of the University of Warsaw, defines applied social sciences somewhat differently. For a start, we understand them as the creation of knowledge based on empirical research as broadly understood. Secondly, as the application of existing notions, theories and concepts not only for resolving social problems but also for describing and interpreting social life, both comprehensively and in regard to its most diverse aspects, fragments and layers (which usually leads to significant modifications in these notions, theories and concepts). Our experience shows that this area of science thus defined not only expands the opportunities for collaboration with practitioners, but also contributes to development in the fundamental theories and research.
ISNS academic profile
The specificity of the ISNS is best reflected in two terms: INTERDISCIPLINARITY and the PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS OF THE SOCIAL SCIENCES. The Institute brings together scholars in a variety of the humanities and social sciences (sociologists, anthropologists, psychologists, pedagogues, historians and philosophers), frequently representing unique sub-disciplines and academic specialisations.
Main areas of research
The research carried out at the Institute tends to be cross-sectional, and embraces the following: sociology of social transformations, including changes in emotions, morality, customs and the law; anthropology of modern times and sociology of culture – including transformations in cultural life, lifestyles, popular culture and its global character; the foundations of sociology of law and morality; sociology and anthropology of youth, the unemployed, the disabled, women and other social groups; social conflicts together with research into reconciliation, negotiations, mediation and resolving of conflicts; social policy together with research covering the non-governmental sector and the labour market; sociology of the family and social bonds; of social and cultural aspects of gender and man’s sexuality; the impact of psychoactive substances on the lives of individuals and groups, and issues in social pathologies; selected issues of social and clinical psychology, as well as the history of ideas and democracy.
The ISNS is also a powerful centre for the development of INNOVATIVE METHODS OF RESEARCH related above all to qualitative research methodology, including visual methods and Internet research methodology. At the same time we continue to nurture CLASSIC QUANTITATIVE METHODOLOGY and conduct surveys on representative nationwide samples in Poland.
The research conducted at the ISNS ranges from large-scale international projects, national projects in Poland, local studies and those carried out on a micro scale. They embrace not only topics traditionally covered by the social sciences, but also numerous new developments only now surfacing in social life.
How social knowledge is APPLIED also determines the specificity of ISNS: every year approximately 100 analyses, diagnoses, evaluations and research reports are compiled for central administration, for local government units, and for specific institutions and non-governmental organisations. They are presented at conferences, symposia, conventions, congresses and seminars, and published both on paper and online. These publications tackle key issues in the rapidly-changing Polish society, as well as many research issues of international significance. The most important thing, though, is that they are contributing to changes serving to improve the quality of life in society.
Organisation of social life
The staff at the ISNS do not limit themselves to supporting practice via research and expertise. Most of us are actively involved in the ORGANISATION OF SOCIAL LIFE, collaborating on a temporary or regular basis with Polish, foreign and international institutions and organisations, creating or jointly creating new concepts and forms of social life (for example ISNS staff, students and graduates collaborated on the worked together to establish Poland’s first youth employment agencies, time banks, social economy enterprises and other non-governmental organisations, including cultural organisations, periodicals and social movements, etc.). Detailed information regarding the Institute’s achievements can be found on our site’s sections presenting the academic and non-academic accomplishments of its staff.
Studies at the ISNS
At the ISNS we have students studying for BACHELOR’S and MASTER’S degrees, full-time and part-time, as well as those on 3rd degree studies (DOCTORAL) and 10 different POSTGRADUATE studies. As with our activities in science, the studies we run are based on interdisciplinarity and the practical usage of the theories and methods of the social sciences. As such we strive above all to ensure that our graduates are well-prepared for fulfilling diverse social and occupational roles, both from a theoretical and a practical point of view, and therefore capable of working with others, diagnosing, investigating and solving social problems. This goal is furthered not only by numerous workshop activities, but also through practical experience and other research in the field, and above all by regularly inviting undergraduate and Ph.D. students to participate in the life of the Institute and in its research. Apart from the general studies, our Institute also runs 8 so-called specialisation routes in its full-time and extramural courses. In the event of a particular specialisation not being run in a specific academic year, there is also the option of choosing these activities as facultative courses. The ISNS acquired the powers to grant postdoctoral degrees in 1997. THE FIRST TO BE AWARDED SUCH A DEGREE AT THE ISNS was Dr Jolanta Rogala-Obłękowska, whose dissertation for the degree was a book on youth and drugs. Her postdoctoral examination took place on 27 March 2000. As of the close of 2013, a total of 75 holders of a Master’s degree had defended their DOCTORAL DISSERTATIONS, and 21 doctors (7 from outside of the Institute) had defended their POSTDOCTORAL studies.
MA and Ph.D. dissertations
The ISNS can be justly proud of the dissertations elaborated and defended at the ISNS for Master’s and Ph.D. degrees. Many of them have been published in full or as articles; many have also garnered prestigious awards, including the Florian Znaniecki and the Stanisław Ossowski awards, granted by the Polish Sociological Association, as well as awards bestowed by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education and the Capital City of Warsaw. They have also collected distinctions and awards on multiple occasions in competitions for MA dissertations organised by non-governmental organisations.
There are undergraduate and postgraduate student councils at the ISNS, as well as 4 student RESEARCH CLUBS and a few INFORMAL SCIENTIFIC GROUPS.
UNIVERSITY OF WARSAW - INSTITUTE OF APPLIED SOCIAL SCIENCES
Nowy Świat 69, 00-927 Warszawa
(+48 22) 826 21 84
Prof. Małgorzata Fuszara- Director
Prof. Barbara Lewenstein - Deputy director
Dr Ewa Gniazdowska - Deputy director for Didactics
Department of Sociology of Morality and General Axiology
Head: Prof. Wojciech Pawlik
(+48 22) 826 21 84
Department of Sociology and Anthropology of Customs and Law
Head: Prof. Jacek Kurczewski
(+48 22) 55 31 624
Department of the History of Ideas and Cultural Anthropology
Head: Prof. Marcin Król
(+48 22) 55 20 626
Department of Family Studies and Social Pathology
Head: Prof. Anna Kwak
(+48 22) 55 20 236
Department of the Prophylactic Functions of Social Policy
Head: Prof. Marek Rymsza
(+48 22) 55 20 124
Department of Social Bonds Psychology
Head: dr Ewa Gniazdowska
(+48 22) 625 40 68
Department of Culture Research Methods
Head: Prof. Barbara Fatyga
(+48 22) 55 20 135
Department of Microsociology and Evaluation
Head: Prof. Beata Hoffmann
(+48 22) 55 20 168
Assistant of coordinator of the Erasmus Programme: Ms Aleksandra Winiarska