Institute for Critical Social Studies
University of Plovdiv "Paisii Hilendarski"
The Institute for Critical Social Studies (ICSS) was founded in 1991 in Sofia. Since 1998 it is affiliated with the Paissiy Hilendarski University of Plovdiv. Its research is inspired by the critical thinkers of the post-1968 generation such as Bourdieu, Foucault, Deleuze, Lyotard and Derrida, but mostly by Mamardashvili – a symbol of the philosophical dissidence in the East, unknown west of the Berlin Wall. The theoretical pursuits of the Institute put a strong emphasis on the critique of modernity and classical rationalism, as well as on the chances of non-classical rationalism, inspired by the theories of Merab Mamardhasvhili, turned towards the challenges in a society that – to a great extent – has left modernity behind. The empirical inquiries of ICSS are focused mostly towards understanding the society in which we had lived before 1989 (which we have not yet fully understood), and thus towards a new socioanalysis and theory of the practical logic, able to think “with and against” Pierre Bourdieu (as he himself liked to say). Presently, Institute for Critical Theories and Supermodernity (ICTS) and ICSS are developing a common research program “Anatomo-politics, biopolitics and supermodern capitalism.”
Its constant members are 19 researchers from the University of Plovdiv “Paisii Hilendarski,” the University of Sofia “St. Kliment Ohridski,” the New Bulgarian University, the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, as well as three specializing fellows. The Institute’s priorities are overcoming the canonical boundaries between social and human sciences; balance between fundamental theory and empirical research; unity of research, educational and publishing programs; linking academism to civil participation in the critical public space.
The Institute has three theoretical sectors:”Critical theory,” “Historical sociology,” and “Philosophical logic.” The empirical research of ICSS is done through its Laboratory for Practical Logic and Ethnomethodology. The Institute has a library collection in historical sociology, critical theory and philosophical logic, a video archive of weekly newsreels from the period of socialism and other visual data, as well as an archive of diaries. Since its creation, the Institute for Critical Social Studies has implemented over 50 research, publishing and educational projects and has organized over 30 conferences. For its achievements, the ICSS was nominated for the Hannah Arendt Prize in 1998.
Since 1999, the priority research programs of the ICSS continue to be “Historical Sociology of Socialism,” “Practical Logic and Communicative Rationality,” “Phenomenology and Critical Theory.” In 2010 two new programs were introduced: “Socioanalysis and Interhuman Relations” and “Biopolitics and Insecurity.”
The Heterodoxia Journalism an organ of the Institute.
The educational programs of the Institute are implemented through the Department of Philosophy and the Department of Sociology and Human Sciences in the School of Philosophy and History at the University of Plovdiv, with which the ICSS has been connected through many years of research cooperation.
Darin Tenev, Director
Todor Hristov, Assistant Director
24 "Tzar Assen" Str.
21 "Kostaki Peev" Str.
Eurasia and Eastern Europe