Prof. Dr. Wiatr agreed to reply to our 5 questions. Before we start, here is a short CV:
Jerzy J. Wiatr graduated from the University of Warsaw in 1954 where he also received his doctorate (1957) and habilitation (1961) in sociology. At the University of Warsaw, he was professor of political sociology, chairman of the department of sociology (1975-77) and dean of social sciences (1977-80). After his retirement from the University of Warsaw in 2001 he served as rector of the European School of Law and Administration in Warsaw (2007-2013) and is currently its honorary rector. He received the titles of honorary senator of the University of Ljubljana (2006), honorary doctor of Kursk Academy of Science and Education (2000) and honorary doctor of Oles Honchar National University of Dnipropetrovsk (2013).
His new book New Authoritarianism – Challenges to Democracy in the 21st century has been published by Budrich in 2019.
What will be the main challenge for your research field in the coming years?
The rise of new authoritarian regimes and the growth of populist/nationalistic movements require that political scientists and sociologists concentrate their attention on the current crises of democracy. I consider this the most important intellectual challenge in our time.
Why would anyone want to pursue research in your field?
Research in my field (comparative political sociology) is undertaken for two main reasons: intellectual curiosity and the feeling of civic awareness – the realization of the political implications of such research.
Why did you choose your research field? What motivates you in your field in particular?
My interest in political sociology resulted in my early political socialization as a man of the Left with strong commitment to the vision of democratic change in what was then the communist Poland. My later participation in the process of democratic transformation and in the parliament and government consolidated these interests.
Which (academic) book has influenced you the most?
It is difficult – if at all possible – to name a single book. If I had to choose just one it would be Samuel Huntington’s “The Third Wave” – also because I knew him for many years and had the privilege of long intellectual discussions with him.
I am author with Barbara Budrich because …
… she personally and her collaborators offer the highest standards of editorial work and keen interest in the kind of writing which is closest to my research activities.
Thank you for your time!
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