Research results of the Institute for Sociology in 2018

Social usefulness will be reflected on throughout the next chapter (with reference to the projects in brackets) and the results of the research projects will briefly be summarised.

Research helps understand the mechanisms of contemporary Hungarian society, and serves as a basis to formulate local community and development policies, to renew rural development policies (a, f, p), to plan family policies (b, d, o), to shape cultural policies (c), to understand the influence of the labour market status on families and the efficiency of R+D activities (d, e), to preserve cultural heritage (c, k), and to introduce energy efficient devices (m, n). The social state of Hungary in European comparison (g) and the social issues and risks of climate change (l) is examined. Research in the field of history of science and ideas is essential to process and preserve the heritage of the past (h, i, j).

In the Mobility Research Centre (KEP, supported by HAS) (a) four analyses were made within the study of social integration mechanisms: the social model of integration and mobility, the political integration and mobility of society, the historical trends of home mobility, and subjective mobility. The analysis of the topic of integration and mobility in local societies also started.

Further related work: the foundation of higher education migration research, the analysis of the factors of vertical and horizontal school mobility, the development of methods for qualitative and quantitative research of Hungarians living in the Western Europe, and the creation of a database for the analysis of territorial mobility, the settlement database design, and social care system, and social mobility.

In the research The impact of a restrictive abortion policy on infants’ health and on the socioeconomic outcomes of children and parents (NKFIH) (b) the impact of the law change on the affected children and their parents using administrative datasets of the Hungarian Central Statistical Office (the registry of live births, the registry of infant mortality and the Hungarian Population Censuses) is examined. In 2018, we analyzed the impact of the restricted access to abortion on newborns’ health, and we started the data cleaning and preparation of the data for the analysis of the medium-term and long-term impacts on the children. In the first project, we finished the first version of our research paper. The analysis is based on the comparison of children born between July and September, 1974 and children born between July and September, 1973. Our results show a smaller but statistically significant decrease in the birth weight of the children and a larger increase in the probability of being born with low birth weight and in the probability of infant mortality – after controlling for the socio-economic characteristics of the mothers and the fathers. These results suggest that the law change had a negative effect on the newborns’ health, which can be explained by the unwantedness of these children. The estimated effects are substantially (2–5 times) larger for subgroups of mothers who were more likely to give birth to an unplanned or unwanted child. Performing robustness tests, we provided evidence that supports this interpretation.

The aim of the project Circulation and dissent in the Hungarian cultural elite (c) (NKFIH) to detect changes and continuity in the Hungarian cultural elite. According to the results of 2018, the composition of the cultural elite has hardly changed in the past ten years, it is still the most stable elite group: neither the positional changes initiated by the political elite, nor the natural generation shift was able to shake the stability of the contemporary cultural elite.

The research project Career models and career advancement in Research and Development. Different patterns and inequalities in labour market opportunities, personal network building and work-life balance (NKFIH) (d) aims to identify and evaluate different career models and the enabling and hindering factors determining career advancement in the field of Research and Development (R&D) in Hungary. According to the results of 2018, career paths are more and more broken, and leaving one’s profession is a problem. The lack of competitive salaries for PhD holding professionals motivates them to move towards the business sector or working abroad, leaving a significant professional and human resource vacuum behind. Inequalities in the labour market especially badly affect women with small children.

The project Quality of jobs and innovation generated employment outcomes (e) (QuInnE, H2020) volunteered to theoretically and empirically test the question how the quality of work can boost innovation and employment in the European Union. The project ended in 2018 with great success. The last project meeting was held in Budapest on 22–23 March, 2018. Two major tasks were done in 2018. First, the final deliverable of Work Package 4 was prepared on the evolution of the EU’s innovation policy and its aspects related to job quality and employment. Second, a synthesis of the German and Hungarian case studies carried out in the automotive industry was also prepared.

The project The effect of agricultural and rural development policy on local small-scale agrifood production (f) (NKFIH) aims to reveal the reasons why self-provisioning farming decreases in rural areas in spite of the encouraging policy environment. It was found that food self-provisioning is the most widespread among the poorest part of rural societies in underdeveloped areas, and among the members of the middle classes in small rural towns. Urban farming is an existing but almost un-measurable phenomenon. Food self-provisioning is the part of the lifestyle for certain social groups, while a tool to deal with poverty for others, thus it is difficult to create a supportive policy environment. Policymakers should, therefore, consider the non-homogenity of the group both in the social and spatial sense.

The European Social Survey (g) (ESS) provides a unique opportunity to explore the state of European societies, to keep track of the differences among groups of countries and the longitudinal changes, and to interpret the processes in Hungarian society in an international context. ESS had 2257 registered users in 2018. Following the eighth wave, during 2018 the databases became available for the broad academic public, therefore the EES team’s major task was to process and publish the data, and to promote it. As a result, 14 scientific publications, and a journal special issue in Hungarian ( 2018/2) were published; in June 2018 a regional conference was organised at the institute presenting the state and attitudes of societies in the Visegrad countries first of all, in European comparison (20 papers were given by 27 researchers from 7 countries). The English language special issue with selected papers from the conference will be out in the first quarter of 2019. The other main task of 2018 was the preparation for the 9th wave of the survey.

The main goal of the project (Dis)continuities – Hungarian sociology between 1960 and 2010 (h) (NKFIH) is the study of continuity and discontinuity in Hungarian sociological thinking between 1960 and 2010. It examines through some basic research topics how the major trends and methodological practices of the discipline were created in the period 1960–1990, and how they influenced sociological research after 1990. The team analysed the collected material within the theoretical frameworks of heritage–imitation–invention, continuity–discontinuity, pragmatical–ideological, etc. As far as methodology is concerned, the researchers relied on critical discourse analysis and comparative studies. The analysis helps understand the major trends and methodological practices of Hungarian sociological thinking between 1960 and 2010, and measure their impact on current research.

The historical sociological research project History of memory in the East: Hungary 1945–2004 (i) (NKFIH) intends to contribute to the exploration of the unknown layers of European cultural heritage by writing a post-1945 history of Hungarian memory. In 2018, it explored, primarily through archival research and press analysis, how Hungary in the "long 60s" contributed to the development of today's memory canon.

The COURAGE (j) (H2020) project created the common registry database of cultural opposition covering the former socialist countries. The collections are described in a uniform and comparable way in order to make it easily searchable. The research utilises the valuable experiences of the staff working in the collections, which prove their serious potential as the trace of the past. The programme helps to understand how the collections work, what their function is in the given society, how they present their material and research results to the national and international public. In November 2018 the project was invited to the joint event of the European Committee and the European Parliament to present the research outcomes. It was also reported by Euronews.

The primary goal of the Cultural heritage (CSS HAS) (k) project was to identify the most important themes in the context of cultural heritage research which appeared in EU calls (2018–2020). The secondary goal was to provide new knowledge and information on the planning and management of cultural heritage. The third aim was to prepare a strategy for external grant applications in 2018 and 2019. To achieve the set project goals, an international conference (Cultural heritage, social cohesion and place attachment) was organized and the team joined an international H2020 project consortium (DICE, Designing new integrative cultural experiences).

The research Impressions (l) (EU, FP7) aims to develop strategies to be used in extreme situations due to climate change, which may help international organisations like the European Union, governments, local community leaders to prepare to deal with extraordinary situations. According to the results of the year 2018, the chances of extraordinary situations have continuously grown in the past 5 years. Although local experts are more and more familiar with these trends, political leaders still do not consider the issue urgent enough to have to immediately deal with it. Their decisions are made more difficult by the conflict between the steps to take made necessary by climate change, and to satisfy the needs of growth-oriented economy and voters.

The aim of the research Survey on the energy preferences of the population (m) was to define the weights that can be best modelled by the opinion-forming mechanisms of Hungarian society for the commonly used criteria system in energetics. The target group of the research was the Hungarian population over 18 years. In the second wave of the research, a questionnaire survey on the issues was tested in the first wave of the project with focus groups. During the questionnaire survey, the knowledge-level of the population related to energy production, their embeddedness, the knowledge of alternatives and risk opportunities were studied. We have also explored the possible actions related to the particular energy consumption alternatives and presented the social characteristics and attitudes define these actions. The database of the survey will be the basis of a sociological analysis and a special energy science based modelling.

Societal challenges of energy use (n) The research investigates the social and environmental effects of disparities in access to energy and energy use, focussing on two groups: households living in energy poverty, and households using energy effective and smart energy solutions. Activities in the first year of the project focused on literature review, secondary data analysis, mapping of potential partners, networking and grant writing. Review of international and national literature and secondary data analysis started as scheduled, first results were presented in the Researchers’ Night in September 2018. Preparation of the fieldwork began with mapping of potential fieldwork locations and drafting of case study and interview outlines. In addition to original plans, energy poverty-related questions were included in a national level survey carried out in autumn 2018 and energy poverty was included in a focus group discussion regarding households’ energy use. Results are not available yet but will be included in the research paper. Related to the project, the centre was involved in the submission of two H2020 project proposals in the reporting period (EDEER and ONPOWER).

The project Explaining welfare attitudes: General moral principles, issue framing and survey design (o) (NKFIH) investigated determinants of attitudes toward public policy and various dilemmas of everyday life: opinions on materialism and consumption, religious beliefs, household division of labour, same-sex marriage, family policies, asylum-policy and collective action dilemmas. The research team carried out survey-experiments in which the presentations of certain issues vary across randomly selected sub-groups of respondents. The results show that identity considerations are often more important than general moral principles in shaping attitudes; and agenda setting and framing of questions could influence the relative importance of identity and moral considerations in opinion formation.

The sociology of urban planning – urban planning and society (p) (NKFIH) One of the fundamental aims of the planned research is to investigate the interest relations influencing urban development in the new situation, which mechanisms have been reinforced and which are less efficient than before. According to our assumptions, urban planning has ‘geared towards’ the funding goals of resources for applications and by subordinating everything to this prepares its development documents and implements its projects. All this also implies that social aspects, the interests of dwellers and real development needs are neglected. New interest groups appear around this type of urban planning and a specific method of operation is established. Our aim is to reveal towards which urban interventions the EU funds ‘push’ stakeholders participating in the preparation of urban planning documents and how the implementation of these affect or could affect the societal structure of a specific area.

Special attention was given to disseminating the research results to the general public in 2018 as well. Besides radio and other media appearances, our colleagues participated in the events of the Festival of Hungarian Science and the Researchers’ Night. An exhibition, a community game, a training course, and conferences were organised, and an open access journal was edited. The interested public is regularly informed of the scientific events, research results, and the journal’s news in the social media.

The travelling exhibition Risk factors (which was later on show in several cities in the region) was coordinated by the institute’s colleagues within the COURAGE project. The exhibition’s material processes the theme of cultural opposition based on documents, scientific research, and pieces of art. A curriculum was developed for secondary school and university students to assist teachers teaching the opposition to state socialist regimes, and the results are presented at university guest lectures. A walk application was developed to introduce people to the collections, and a community game, ’Detectivity escape game’ was made focusing directly on young people.

During the Researchers’ night, our colleagues organised city walks, gave lectures in the areas of demography, education, family and population policy, energy poverty, and held an interactive session on cultural opposition in the socialist era.

Within the series of events Szociobisztró our visitors were given the chance to get to know the urban development issues of Central Ferencváros at a city walk. The launches of two books, one on the Roma political endeavours in the past half century, and another on the social history of homosexuality in Hungary in the 20th century, also attracted a wide variety of audience.

The conference organised for the World Ozone Day discussed the risks of climate change, its impact on health, and its social implications involving several disciplines, institutions and companies.

The video shots taken at the methodological discussions (’Methodologically’) organised for university students, lecturers, and researchers are available for anyone interested. The videos made so far are regularly used at university courses.

The most vivid media interest was evoked by the research into social integration and the book publishing its results. An interview was made with a colleague on land use and rural development in the tv programme ’In Hungarian with Baló’. Several articles were published related to the COURAGE collection and the exhibition ’Risk factors’. A thematic issue of the journal Magyar Tudomány (Hungarian Science) was guest edited by our colleague in the topic of poverty. An interview with a researcher of our institute was published in Washingon Post, and another one also in English on a leading Hungarian news portal. 168 óra published a long interview with an acknowledged British professor who gave a guest lecture at our institute on the social impacts of British and Hungarian taxation. An article was written based on an interview with our expert on housing policy and CSOK (family housing allowance). Our colleagues were asked by the online media, television and radio several times about family policy, demographic issues, birth rate, and the situation of women. A researcher gave an interview for an online portal on the role of cultural heritage in rural communities and economy. A leading online news site published a summary quoting an earlier article of The conference presenting the results of the European Social Survey also received significant media interest.