The School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

Staff Profile

Dr Dariusz Gafijczuk

Lecturer in Sociology

Background


I joined Newcastle University as Lecturer in Sociology in September 2013. Previously I held positions at University College London, Trinity College Dublin and a Newton Fellowship at Lancaster University.

My work is supported by three interlocking pillars:

(1) Development of new concepts that can be applied to contemporary problems

(2) Decentering of the Present by a focused study of our collective Past

(3) Forms of social perception


I am currently embarking on a line of inquiry that investigates the relationships between the idea of a community, the practice of empathy, and the notion of refuge as a sociological and historical phenomenon.





Research

Working at the intersection of the social sciences and the humanities, my research is anchored in the study of the past, to help us understand and re-frame the fundamental characteristics of contemporary society. I am currently beginning a path of inquiry that investigates three urgent phenomena: community, empathy, and refuge.

This is an extension of a much more focused work on the turn of the twentieth century, specifically the cultural and artistic scene in Central Europe, broadly defined. Central Europe has been described in the past as the 'laboratory in which the bigger world holds its try outs' or even more dramatically and no less accurately as the 'laboratory for world destruction'. This is where individual and collective identities, as well as real and imagined boundaries, became a cultural experiment of immense proportion. This kind of experimental logic, on political, social, and cultural levels, was a premonition of things to come. It is something that underpins the practice of our everyday life, although in a much more subdued form, today. My research aims to expose this kind of generative logic, by studying phenomena that lie at the centre of contemporary take on things, form multiple perspectives. Community, empathy, and refuge are the vortex that, at least for the moment, is creating a funnel effect into which all manner of social relationships are falling. I propose to map out the dynamics of this process.


Teaching

SOC 2084 - The Invention of Central Europe

Second year option module that concentrates on the history and theory of how cultural centrality has been defined, and in essence invented. Central Europe serves as the exemplary region through which these dynamics of cultural invention ca be studied. Some of the themes considered are: nationalism and imagined communities; invention of tradition; shifting centers; pure and impure identity, etc.


SOC 3073 - Exploring Social Complexity


A third year compulsory social theory module which aims to study classical and contemporary theories of how societies are put together, by concentrating on some of the most pressing contemporary issues and events, in all their nuance and complexity. Some of the themes explored are: emotions; identity politics; urban living; consumerism; risk and security.


SOC 8036 - Sociological and Cultural Perspectives

This is an MA seminar that aims to introduce students to some of the most original and important classical texts, such as Marcel Mauss' The Gift, Max Weber's The Protestant Ethic (among others) which will be read in part of in their entirely whilst thinking about how cultures and societies have been defined and thought of differently in the past. The overarching paradigm here is the changing notion and definition of time itself. It is duration, and the many cultural forms it has taken, that serves in many ways as the most direct and powerful indicator of cultural difference and alternative possibilities for how the world we inhabit is imagined.






Publications