Home >> Purpose, Idea                                                                                   
Sofia, 26-27th November, 2010

What is AFSS?
Academic GOALS
PANEL DISCUSSION on any topic – an experiment in the format
OUTREACH Academic Activities
Pastry with the Prof.
SOCIAL Activities Programme
PUBLICATION and dissemination
Venue and date of AFSS 2010
Steering and organizational committee
Contact people

What is AFSS?

     The Academic Forum for Social Science – AFSS 2010 – is a national scientific event, involving the participation of colleagues from abroad.
     Our goal is to discuss the-state-of-art, challenges, and perspectives of science in Bulgaria, of social sciences – in the open world of Globalization in the face of the serious and grave problems of social practice, which assumed the characteristics and dimensions of a crisis.
     The first AFSS will be held this year at the initiative of a group of professors from the University of National and World Economy in Sofia.
     We propose that the general framework of topics of the first AFSS 2010 would be: ”Globalization and Crisis: Socio-Economic Projections and Challenges”.
     The Globalization of the last two decades – with its dynamics and large scope, contradictiveness and aspect of crisis, its main ideologemes and their reevaluation, its geostrategic centre and its opposition, the hopes and disheartening, the realism and its utopian character - is undoubtedly a multidimensional and all-embracing socio-political process. In it the social science is not only a mirror and analyst. The separate social sciences examine and lend meaning to it in a different way, but they all are in the centre of the practical process, they are relied on and have been used as an indispensable tool.
     The crisis of 2008 became a painfully tangible process of transformation within which science has both its responsibilities, and its new opportunities. It is beyond doubt for us that the complexity of the Globalization and the crisis require and presuppose not merely an interdisciplinary character of the research, analyses and predictions. They also require and presuppose an effort to create and establish a NEW SYNTHESIS of the newly mushroomed independent social sciences, paradigms and schools of thought, approaches and methodologies, academic groups and centres, which are relatively separate from one another. During the past 20th century the social science as a whole, as well as the separate social sciences, had their dynamic development along the line of their differentiation and segmentation. Now it is probably the time for a powerful reverse process – towards convergence and interdisciplinary nature, towards achieving a dialogue and mutual stimulation.
     AFSS would like to contribute in this direction. AFSS will use the organizational experience of modern scientific forums: above all, the experience of the European Scientific Association (ESF), as well as that of the International Sociological Association (ISA), the European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA), the European Programme for cooperation in science and technology COST.


     The idea of a mission of AFSS involves the cooperation for achieving a breakthrough in the mutual disinterestedness (existing among the Bulgarian scientists and researchers), in order to restore the interest in collective publicity and offer a new and more sophisticated way of forming a collective culture of an active professional dialogue – not only in the narrow domain of a separate institution-school-paradigm, but rather in the open academic space, in an interdisciplinary plan and non-dogmatic collective networks. AFSS is motivated also by the idea to restore the connections, continuity and mutual stimulation not only among institutions, schools and paradigms, but also among the generations in the Bulgarian science and the respective experts in practice.

Academic GOALS

     > Concerning the development of the social science
     Stimulating the interdisciplinary interpretation and rationalization of the present crisis and the contradictory process of Globalization, and also its multidimensional projection in the main spheres of modern society – through debating and enriching, as much as it is possible, of the available theoretical, methodological and empirical platform of the social sciences, through a common effort to define creative thematic and problematic focuses.
     > Concerning the scientific dialogue and pluralism
     Holding a meeting of researchers in different fields, representatives of business circles and various social institutions, to stimulate the intensive communication and development of the productive professional and collective networks.
     > Concerning the form and organization
     Obtaining a productive combination of focused panel discussions and work groups; lectures and presentation of established scholars and experts; presentation of interesting research projects, educational programs and projects, international scientific networks and forms of scientific mobility, new books and publications.
     > Concerning the public image of social sciences
     Atracting the attention and interest of media, intellectual circles, eminent politicians, as well as university students and early stage Bulgarian scholars.

PANEL DISCUSSION on any topic – an experiment in the format

     The idea is that we will hold AFSS not as a conferential sequence of reports, presentations, announcements – being frequently poorly linked with one another - but hoping that at least some of them will cause a respective response among the group of colleagues. The experience and practice so far have proved that the traditional approach rarely brings about a real lively discussion among colleagues; questions are rarely put forward, and the different opinion and approach rarely allows itself to contradict “on time and place”. Thus, the scientific conferences are most often just a venue for mutual exchange of information as to who works what and how they do it – the collective discussion and social consolidation remain only wishful thinking.
     Let us try to place the discussion at the beginning and so turn it into a central axis of the forum. The organization of the forum and the preliminary structuring can contribute to this end.
     We suggest that every thematic panel should be organized as a juxtaposition of at least three main viewpoints – from the perspectives of separate social sciences, of corresponding paradigms, with a different distance from the empirical practice or the height of the methodological abstraction:
     • preliminarily in every thematic panel there stand out three to five problematic focuses – the chair puts        forward successively respective focus questions to the panelists;
     • each of the three panelists comments on each of them (each panelist comments on each of the focus        questions within up to seven minutes);
     • the sequence of the panelists answering the questions is rotated at every next focus question;
     • after commenting on each of the focus questions, the panelists can put forward a question each to their        two other colleagues – the answers to these must take no more than one minute;
     • after the panel successive comments on the focus questions, concrete queries may be put forward to the        panelists, but these queries must be without long preambles – within up to two minutes at the most;
     • the panelists perhaps do not answer these queries right away, but subsequently – during the discussion        panel session after the coffee break;
     • at the beginning of the discussion panel session the chair can present possibilities for additional reports,        comments, presentations, announcements – not more than five, each of them must not take longer than        seven minutes;
     • then, the discussion sets in – each comment or question address must be within not more than three        minutes;
     • in the course of this discussion the panelists have the possibility to answer the queries addressed to        them, or complement their theses;
     • at the closing of the thematic panel the chair makes his academic conclusion of the discussion, outlines        the horizons of its extension, and makes respective organizational clarifications.

     Dear colleagues,
     This is a non-traditional structuring of the discussion, requiring special preliminary preparation and demanding that the important points should be set out extremely laconically. The incessant rotation of the separate panelists gives the possibility – both to them and to all participants – to directly juxtapose and compare approaches and scientific prospects, arguments and logic, as well as immediately look at their theses and arguments through another possible prism.
     Of course, some of the panels may not by all means assume this experimental discussion format and hold their sessions in the traditional way. It is possible to use also an interstitial form: for instance, each of the panelists can make his presentation on the thematic issues within 15 up to 20 minutes, laying the emphasis in accordance with his scientific profile and specialization. It is all a matter of a concrete and particular choice.

OUTREACH Academic Activities

     • Public lectures on the range of topics of AFSS, given by established speakers – scientists, experts,        politicians, public figures – from this country and abroad – in the field of social sciences.
     • Presentations of scientific institutions and organizations, educational programmes and research projects,        thematic bibliographies, funds and research programmes.
     • Presentation of new scientific books or interesting new editions of some publishing houses.
     • Events, organized by student and postgraduate clubs, submitting projects and presentations.
     • Organization of exhibitions of photographs and posters.

Pastry with the Prof.

     This is an informal discussion with an established professor in a free form and conducive atmosphere and ambience – all participants in the discussion are gathered around a delicious and flavoursome Bulgarian pastry and yoghurt.
     Our idea is to have a group of 10-15 participants, but it may be extended to welcome all people who come – students, lecturers, journalists, book editors, government members.
     The organization requires that all people wishing to participate should register for the discussion in advance.
     The format of the discussion is an idea of ESOF. AFSS may experimentally implement it in Bulgaria.

SOCIAL Activities Programme

     There have been planned forms of informal dialogue and contacts among the participants – with the aim of stimulating the collective networks and enriching the realization of AFSS.

PUBLICATION and dissemination

     AFSS is planning an online live broadcasting of the panel discussions.
     The reports of the discussions are going to be published on the AFSS website, after they have been edited by panelists and the discussants. The presentations, photos, videos and other multimedia products, made for and used in AFSS will be stored on the website, upon their authors’ agreement.
     We are looking forward to register a certain section of the website as a JOURNAL FOR ACADEMIC DISCUSSION in social science – provided with the required editorial board, reviewing model, copy protection (DRM), impact factor and an ISSN. The panelists and discussants are welcome to submit their articles in the thematic frame of the certain panel for publication there. Submissions by other interested colleagues might also be published, after peer reviewing.
     We are also planning to publish a SOCIAL SCIENCE JOURNAL on paper. Each of its issues will be focused on the thematic field of the AFSS panels.


     AFSS is open to the following groups of participants from research, educational and public institutions from Bulgaria and Europe.
     • established scholars, researchers, experts;
     • early stage researchers (postgraduates or researchers with up to 8 years after acquiring a PhD degree);
     • university students;
     • representatives of political circles, government, business, and the non-governmental sector;
     • journalists from national and specialized media.

Venue and date of AFSS 2010

     AFSS 2010 will be held
     on November 26-27, 2010
     at the University of National and World Economy
     (Sofia, Studentski Grad 1700, “8th of December” Street)
     We are now pleased to announce the draft programme of the First AFSS 2010. It is subject to further change and specification – depending on the initiative of those willing to participate.

Call for panel discussion proposals

     There is a possibility of holding other thematic and problematic panels as well. Please, think it over, and come up with:
     > a concrete topic and problematic issues within the framework of the general topic of the event;
     > chair of the new panel;
     > main panelists;
     > topicality, thematic focuses, main issues to be discussed;
     > additional participants in the discussion;
     > additional forms which are offered with respect to the new panel;
     > what organizational resources you would need.

Steering and organizational committee

     The First Academic Forum for Social Science is organized on the idea of Mihail Mirchev and Katia Mihailova.

     Provisional organizational board – professors and researchers from the University of National and World Economy:
     • Associate Professor Mihail Mirchev, Dr. SC., Department of “Economic Sociology”
     • Associate Professor Margarita Atanassova, PhD, Department of “Human Resources and Social        Protection”
     • Associate Professor Andrei Georgiev, PhD, Department of “International Relations”
     • Associate Professor Andrei Nonchev, PhD, Department of “Economic Sociology”
     • Senior Assistance Professor Katia Mihailova, PhD, Department of “Media and Public Communications”
     • Assistant Professor Mihaela Misheva, Department of “Economic Sociology”

Contact people

   Todorka Kineva    0888 126 813
   Katia Mihailova    0885 227 395
   02 / 8705554, 02 / 8709222
   Sofia, Apostol Karamitev str 2A, floor1.

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