If you've just stumbled onto this blog, please forgive the appearance; it's still under construction. If I've used one of your photos (found on Google) in a lecture and you don't approve, please write a comment and I'll remove it.

The purpose of this blog is to explain the basics of art and culture to English language learners in secondary school in Slovakia. This is not for profit. If you look to your right, you'll see a long list of topics that I plan to cover. This is a large project that will most likely take years to complete, covering some topics I know little about (like dance), so I will be borrowing heavily from other experts, with their permission, giving credit wherever possible. Please be patient, and, of course, all advice is greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Sociology in Slovakia

ü    Slovakia has an institute dedicated to the study of sociology, located in Košice. TheInstitute for Sociology (Sociologický Ústav) is part of the Slovak Academy of Sciences. It was established in 1965.

ü    This institute publishes the journal, Sociológia, every year. In addition, it keeps a library and an online archive of research and data, which is accessible to the public.

The Institute for Sociology has studied the following topics:

How Slovak Society is Changing

Vladimír Krivý studies how Slovakia has changed since the fall of communism in 1989. He has focused on social stratification, inequality, and migration in both urban and rural areas of Slovakia. He's also studied changes in voting behavior, religious beliefs, and career paths of young adults. He considers how joining the EU has influenced these changes, as well as the UK's new open borders policy.

Poverty and Social Exclusion

Zuzana Kusá, member of the Slovak Anti-Poverty Network, has studied poverty in Slovakia, and says that poverty is not merely based on income, but is multi-dimensional.

She has proposed several ways to eradicate poverty by ensuring everyone a fair income, access to social services (education, housing, and employment), and political participation. As far as income is concerned, poverty is defined as earning less than 60% of the average income in a country. In addition, a family is considered poor if they can't afford four of these nine essential expenses:

  1. basic monthly fees: rent, mortgage, heat & electricity
  2. enough heat to keep their home warm
  3. a meal with meat, at least every other day.
  4. a car
  5. a washing machine
  6. a phone
  7. a colour TV
  8. a one week holiday, once a year
  9. unexpected emergencies
Brain Drain in Slovakia

According to Miloslav Bahna, several statistics indicate that Slovakia is experiencing brain drain, a condition where the best and brightest people leave the country, leaving under-qualified citizens to work in Slovakia's public and private institutions. In 2012, 15% of all Slovak university students were enrolled in foreign schools. Only Iceland and Luxembourg have more students abroad. This was up 2% from 2010, and the number is still increasing every year. Around 69% of these students choose schools in the Czech Republic, as it's free. Brain drain effects not only Slovakia, but Europe as a whole. Of all the European students who get their PhD in the United States or Canada, over 66% choose to stay and live there.

Drug Abuse and Policy in Slovakia

Robert Klobucky has studied drug abuse, focusing on treatment, law enforcement, harm reduction and prevention. He has found that, although the number of arrests and imprisonment for drug related crimes has tripled since Slovakia democratized, the number of drug users is still increasing, and it's easier to get marijuana here in Slovakia than in the Netherlands. The introduction of strict new laws have not helped, merely moving the sale of narcotics from the streets to people's homes.

Living Conditions for the Elderly
Magdalena Piscová studied living conditions and statistics related to the elderly in Slovakia, considering demographic changes, quality of life, housing conditions,  services, and other factors. She compares these factors to the elderly living in Western Europe, and notes the shift away from institutional care to residential care for the elderly.

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