Mikołaj Pawlak

Instytut Profilaktyki Społecznej i Resocjalizacji

What fills up the sociological vacuum?

What fills up the sociological vacuum? The reinterpretation of Stefan Nowak’s thesis from a network perspective, as exemplified by the labor market behaviors.

The research takes up the problem of sociological vacuum as previously formulated by Stefan Nowak. This approach is fused with Mark Granovetter’s study of the strength of weak ties. The research objective is to analyze the nexus between social relations and identifications, and to give an answer to the inquiry: Why and how social structures of intermediary character, although not creating social identifications different from primary groups and national community, do influence the course of social processes?

The project adopts the methodological individualism perspective. Thus, the sociological vacuum problem is followed up by employing a new methodological approach. This means that the social relations are not analyzed in terms of individuals’ bonds with groups, but by looking at the ties between individuals, as these are formatted by structures such as organizations and organizational fields. The consequences of these relations with regard to the individuals’ identifications and social processes (resources and information flow, and societal mobilization) are analyzed. The research addresses the case of network-like mechanisms within the getting a job phenomenon on the Polish labor market. The technique of survey research conducted on a representative sample of employees on the national level is applied.

Principal investigator: dr Mikołaj Pawlak

Key investigator: dr Michał Kotnarowski

Implementing institution: Faculty of Applied Social Sciences and Resocialisation – University of Warsaw

Duration: 2013-2017

Funded byNational Science Centre, decision number DEC-2012/07/D/HS6/00977


Pawlak, Mikołaj. 2018. Tying Micro and Macro: What Fills up the Sociological Vacuum?. Berlin: Peter Lang.

Pawlak, Mikołaj, Michał Kontarowski. 2018. The Invisible Hand of Social Capital: Evidence from the Polish Labor Market. In: A. Mica, R. Wiśniewski, K. Wyrzykowska, I. Zielińska (eds.). The Sociology of the Invisible Hand. Berlin: Peter Lang [forthcoming].

Pawlak, Mikołaj. 2016. Jak przemieszcza się próżnia? Wędrówki tezy Stefana Nowaka między obszarami i kontekstami. „Stan Rzeczy” 1(10): 316-335.

Pawlak, Mikołaj, Michał Kotnarowski. 2016. Siła słabych powiązań na rynku pracy w Polsce. „Studia Socjologiczne” 2(221): 187-215.

Pawlak, Mikołaj. 2015. From Sociological Vacuum to Horror Vacui: How Stefan Nowak’s Thesis Is Used in Analyses of Polish Society. „Polish Sociological Review” 1(189): 5-27.

Conference and seminar presentations:

Pawlak, Mikołaj, Michał Kotnarowski. 2017. Silne więzi na złe czasy? Jak lokalne warunki gospodarcze wpływają na pozyskiwanie zatrudnienia. „Ludzi w sieciach”: wstępne wyniki, teoria, metodologia. 31.03-01.04.2017.

Pawlak, Mikołaj. 2017. Social Fields as Spaces for Conflict or Co-operation? Social Evaluations Approach. 13th New Institutionalism Workshop. 19-20.03.2017.

Pawlak, Mikołaj, Michał Kotnarowski. 2016. Unsolicited Job Offers in Poland: How does the invisible hand of social capital work?ESA RN09 Economic sociology Midterm conference „Squaring the Circle: Integrating Theories and Empirical Analyses in Economic Sociology”, 22-24.09.2016.

Pawlak, Mikołaj. 2016. Próżnia socjologiczna: Fakt, mit czy obsesja?. XVI Zjazd Socjologiczny (grupa tematyczna: Wędrujące pojęcia). 14-17.09.2016.

Pawlak, Mikołaj, Michał Kotnarowski. 2016. The Invisible Hand of Social Capital. Evidence from the Polish Labor Market. The Invisible Hand in Law, Economy and Culture, 09-10.05.2016.

Pawlak, Mikołaj, Michał Kotnarowski. 2016. Hard Times – Strong Ties? How the Conditions of Local Economy Impact on Getting a Job. POLPAN Seminar, 08.03.2016.

Pawlak, Mikołaj, Michał Kotnarowski. 2015. Sieci społeczne a pozyskiwanie zatrudnienia w Polsce. Praca wyzwaniem współczesnej polityki społecznej, 18.11.2015.

Pawlak, Mikołaj, Michał Kotnarowski. 2015. Getting a job in Poland: The conditions and effects of informal acquisition of employmentSocial Boundaries of Work: The varieties of informal work in contemporary societies, 12-13.11.2015.

Pawlak, Mikołaj. 2015. Do czego służą sieci społeczne. Festiwal Nauki, 19-27.09.2015.

Pawlak, Mikołaj, Michał Kotnarowski. 2015. The Strength of Ties on the Polish Labor Market: How the Conditions of Local Economy Impacts on Getting a Job12th Conference of the European Sociological Association 2015, 25-28.08.2015.

Pawlak, Mikołaj, Michał Kotnarowski. 2015. The Strength of Weak Identifications?The Paradox of Paradox? Workshop on Contradictions, Ironies and Surprises in Law, Economy and Society, 11-12.05.2015.

Pawlak, Mikołaj. 2014. Sociological Vacuum as an Obstacle to the Development of Civil Society in Poland? An Analysis of the Rhetoric of Social SciencesThe “Next Step” in the Development of Civil Society in Central and Eastern Europe?, 04.12.2014.

Pawlak, Mikołaj. 2014. Czy Solidarność wypełniła „próżnię socjologiczną”?Seminarium Solidarność. Nowe podejścia do analizy ruchu społecznego, 01.12.2014.

Pawlak, Mikołaj. 2014. From Sociological Vacuum to Horror Vacui. The History of the Mezzo Level Question in Polish Sociology. 25 Years after Communism: East and West of Europe in Search for Solidarity. Mid-Term Conference of ESA RN 36, 16-18.10.2014.

Pawlak, Mikołaj. 2013. Sociological Vacuum. From a Peculiarity of Polish Society to a Comparative Analysis Framework. XV Ogólnopolski Zjazd Socjologiczny: Grupa tematyczna Varieties of Communism, 11-14.09.2013.

Pawlak, Mikołaj. 2013. Próżnia socjologiczna. Historia klątwy rzuconej na polską socjologię. Sympozjum Naukowe Katedry Socjologii Norm, Dewiacji i Kontroli Społecznej oraz Sekcji Dewiacji i Kontroli Społecznej Polskiego Towarzystwa Socjologicznego, 05.04.2013 (video).

Research outcomes:

List of publications refering to Stefan Nowak’s thesis on sociological vacuum

Short presentation of the key findings on getting a job in Poland (video)

Wersja polska