Department of Sociology and Human Sciences

‘Sociology and Human sciences' in the history of Plovdiv University's sociological tradition

The Department of Sociology and Human Sciences seeks to establish a new balance between classical sociology and the non-classical challenges placed before us by modern societies, most often defined as societies of knowledge and control, uncertainty and risk societies, in which man is swept across by completely new forms of social suffering. The department relies on renovation of sociology – by focusing on ‘biopolitics and uncertainty', as well as on the renovation of the humanities – through the development of the field ‘socioanalysis and psychoanalysis.' Here is a short institutional history of the department:

  • The degree in ‘Sociology' at Plovdiv University was set up in 1995 in the sector of Ethnology, which back then was part of the Faculty of Philology (later on it became a part of the Department of Ethnology).
  • With this step Plovdiv University gave formal institutional form to a sociological tradition of dissent that was developed back in the early 1980s.
  • Until 2000 the teaching of sociology was part of a five-year master's programme, and after that it was incorporated into a four-year bachelor's degree course.
  • In 2000 the Institute for Critical Social Investigations (ICSI – see website) became an associated research centre to Plovdiv University, thus the educational programmes of the major were linked with the research activities of the Institute; in effect the study of sociology integrated a range of principles, such as: the overcoming of canonical boundaries between sociology and other social sciences and humanities; seeking a balance between fundamental theory and empirical research; linking academia with participation in critical publicity; maintenance of intensive international contacts.
  • Since 2004 the teaching of sociology has been conducted within the then emerging Faculty of Philosophy and History. This stimulates the productive engagement of sociology with other disciplines in the spheres of ‘Sociology, Anthropology and Cultural Studies' and ‘Philosophy'.
  • The Department of Sociology was established in 2005, initially led by Assoc. Prof. Ivan Chalakov. In 2009 it was divided into two separate departments: ‘Critical and Applied Sociology' and ‘Institutional and Applied Sociology'. Head of the Department of Critical and Applied Sociology became Assoc. Prof. Tsvetozar Tomov, and in 2010 this position was held by Assoc. Prof. Svetlana Sabeva.
  • In 2007 a new curriculum was adopted, which introduced modular training in sociology (based on the choice of two of the three modules: ‘Applied Sociology', ‘Social Studies of Economy, Science and Technology' and ‘Critical Sociology and Knowledge Society') and allowed for students to specialize in different profiles within the undergraduate programme.
  • In 2012 two new undergraduate programmes were introduced – ‘Sociology and the Humanities' and ‘Sociology of Law, Economics and Innovation' that give chance to the already emerging specialization into strands to acquire its institutional form, this being accomplished without undermining the disciplinary identity of Plovdiv University's sociological tradition.
  • In 2013 the Department of Critical and Applied Sociology was renamed to ‘Sociology and Human sciences', thereby institutionalizing its interdisciplinary characteristics. The department administers the training in three degrees: a BA programme ‘Sociology and Human sciences', an MA programme in ‘Socioanalysis and Interpersonal Relations' and a PhD programme in ‘Sociology' (profile of ‘Sociology and Human sciences').
  • The Department of Sociology and Human sciences recruits guest-lecturers from other institutions on an annual basis. These are Professor Rastko Mochnik, PhD, from the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia and Professor Johannes Weiss, PhD, from Kasel University, Germany, who also hold honorary doctorates at Plovdiv University. The members of the department maintain intensive professional and scholarly contacts with universities in France, Germany, Slovenia and Japan, among others.
  • The educational and research programmes of the Department strive to meet the demands of the rapidly changing market situation of sociological work, which calls for recognizing a plurality of  sociological professions rather than thinking in terms of  the profession of a ‘sociologist' in the singular. Therefore the logic of training in our three degrees aims at preparing students for this new pragmatism, making them more flexible during the period of their studies through a smooth transition from wide profiling to modular profiling disciplines. Students are free to build their own personal sociological profile, making combinations varying in their weight between sociological disciplines and those of the human sciences (at that not only within the traditional humanities but also with courses within natural sciences).