1. The term ‘culturally integrated studies’ is applied to a specific, humanistic kind of interdisciplinary studies in the area of legal and social sciences. Studies are labelled with this term when they are based on common, inherently distinctive, general methodological guidelines concerning the formulation of the syntheses of detailed results of research in the area of legal and social sciences. These guidelines are used to create a theoretical model that serves as a tool in the comprehensive, contextual exploration and explanation of selected, usually quite broadly delineated, and when possible – integrated into social-cultural entities, problematised fragments of social and normative reality. Such model is built in two ways. During second-stage analysis (secondary analysis), it is constructed through a comprehensive use of data obtained from research in the area of detailed legal, social and humanistic sciences. It is also formed as a result of obtaining data directly using methods that are typical of the particular fields which study specific aspects of social and normative reality. In the latter case, the distinctive characteristic of culturally integrated studies is the fact that the specialist research activities (and their results) are organised and performed according to the methodological principles used by a given field by subjecting them to the goal of the theoretical culturally integrated synthesis of fractional material. The objective of culturally integrated studies is therefore to organise, integrate and systematise the aspect knowledge about a specific fragment of social and normative reality obtained through secondary analysis of material delivered by the particular fields as well as through individually conducted exploration using methods that are characteristic of the particular fields in the area of social, legal and humanistic sciences.
2. The term ‘culturally integrated research’ consists of two elements: the latter, defined by the name ‘research’ and the former, its predicate, the adjective ‘culturally integrated’ that is the existential (detailed) quantifier of the latter. Generally speaking, the term ‘research’ is applied in science to a specific types of activities, or – more metaphorically speaking – their result, the objective of which is to broaden our knowledge that in principle is considered a common good. Legal and social sciences of culturally integrated character consist of a direct and secondary systematic observation of social life as well as of a systematic analysis of normative material and other products of culture, in order to determine and to understand the rules concerning the subjects of observation and analysis. When it comes to culturally integrated research, the subjects are mainly the recurrent social and legal phenomena (in the case of law these are abstract and general norms), analysed mainly as social and legal institutions. In scientific terminology the term ‘research’ has at least a few different meanings that are defined more precisely. In relation to legal and social culturally integrated studies we may distinguish three most important semantic hues of this term. Under the first meaning, the term ‘research’ concerns, in particular, the process of a systematic collection of empirical data; the second meaning describes mainly the effort of mind alone with the purpose of attaining knowledge, reaching the truth (in philosophy, Malebranche was one of those who spoke about studying the truth using this meaning); with regard to the third meaning, we may speak about research as a systematic analysis of a given problem using available knowledge. In the case of all three semantic hues, in order for activities to have a culturally integrated character, activities should conform to specific criteria. Studies should consist of a conscious, methodical search for empirical (and phenomenological) data, as well as the causes, conditions and consequences, and the explanation and understanding of matters (the studied subject). The activities that make up the research process should therefore meet the criteria of methodological appropriateness, including language appropriateness, defined beforehand and rationally justified, taking into account the hitherto available knowledge. This makes it possible to formulate the outcomes of insight precisely to an appropriate degree and unequivocally, to ensure their common understanding, at least among those who are involved in the given subject matter, and to create conditions for positive and negative verifiability of the formulated theses.
Although in science conclusions are typically relative and probabilistic, they are never arbitrary. The claims formulated in scientific research – which constitute its basis but also possibly its results, depending on their more deductive or inductive character in a given case, with both strategies being equally acceptable in culturally integrated research – should be accepted only if they are legitimate, that is if they are sufficiently justified by their connection to the subject of explanation and when they are valid, that is potentially verifiable, and when they have already been confirmed as being true. The claims in culturally integrated research should be internally consistent, hence they should be logical and semantically cohesive (falsifiable) and linked to a broader system of theoretical explanations. A set of claims should provide answers to research questions in a manner that is as exhaustive as possible. The most general principle of culturally integrated research is to base it on the foundations of criticism, which, in the face of the progress of science, obliges researchers to continuous verification of earlier conclusions, including their own. In order to achieve these objectives in culturally integrated research, one should begin with the description of the category of language used to present research results. This encompasses language analysis and the corresponding research activities, such as reasoning, defining or classifying. Owing to this, the rules of the use of the language of description and the rules of the performance of those activities are presented directly. Such methodological rules should create conditions for the operationalisation of results of the conducted research, including the possibility to devise their socially useful application. They should, therefore, create possibilities to use the results indirectly (in research and education) or directly in applied sciences and social practice, including legislation and the application of law.
3. A broad use of the findings concerning the studied subject, obtained through different disciplines and research approaches, is a very important methodological postulate of culturally integrated research. To a limited extent, this methodological postulate exists in other types of social research as well, but it is formulated less unequivocally as the criteria of methodological appropriateness, which are described as the comprehensiveness and impartiality of analyses and the breadth of knowledge about the subject of research. However, a true fulfilment of this postulate requires truly extensive interdisciplinary knowledge and stands in a certain contradiction to the far-reaching division (specialisation) experienced by modern, institutionalised science. It may be said that, for some time now, scientific disciplines - traditionally shaped according to the division of research and educational work - have had trouble meeting the criterion of comprehensive and impartial analysis and the breadth of knowledge about the examined subject to a cognitively satisfactory degree. Attempts are sometimes made to bypass this problem by narrowing the subject of analysis to a specific aspect of reality examined by the particular field and the selected paradigm. To illustrate this, it may be said that young people who create problems and the systems of response to their behaviour may be discussed in the language of terms used by different fields: psychology, pedagogy, criminology, sociology, history, anthropology, political science, cultural studies, criminal law, including penology, etc. What is more, different research approaches (paradigms) in the particular fields can define these issues differently. If we do not compare the findings of different fields on the same subject, we are dealing with a certain kind of bypass of the principle of comprehensiveness of analysis and breadth of knowledge about the examined subject. In turn, in the case of culturally integrated research, not using comprehensive, interdisciplinary knowledge in the studies of the above-mentioned issues would violate the methodological principle of using to a broad extent the findings concerning the examined subject obtained from different fields and research approaches, namely the principle of comprehensiveness of analyses and breadth of knowledge formulated for the use of interdisciplinary studies. It should be noted, however, that a certain relativisation of conditions of the comprehensiveness of analysis and breadth of knowledge that is in fact accepted in science, results from another important, although not always directly referred to in methodology, criterion of the evaluation of research appropriateness, namely the claim that ‘one cannot demand the impossible’, also from a researcher, and in education – from a student. It would not be rational not to take into account the inevitable relativity of any comprehensiveness of analyses and breadth of knowledge about the examined subject. Also in culturally integrated research the question of a broad use of findings concerning the examined subject, obtained from different fields and research approaches, should be treated as a principle-directive and not a strict delineation of research methods and of interdisciplinary research area. This area should be appropriately defined and justified each time for a specific culturally integrated research project, taking into account this methodological directive.
4. The specialisation of research and education is not a value in itself. It is treated rather as a practical necessity. In our times it is determined by the extensiveness of knowledge in social and legal sciences (and not only there). It is therefore a result of an objective necessity and not an advantage of research or lecture. In other words, from the point of view of the development of knowledge and the principles of general methodology, if, in a given case, one can carry out equally insightful and profound research of a less specialist character, one should do it. Similarly, as in the process of scientific study, with regard to the general principles of methodology, one should, if possible, incorporate the findings of particular specialist studies into the pool of broader knowledge. The conclusions formulated in relation to these studies should be, in turn, integrated with the pool of conclusions that form a specific, systematised image of phenomena linked to the examined fragment of social reality; hence they should be incorporated into a broader scientific theory. It is precisely for that reason that from the perspective of culturally integrated studies the division into the classic scientific fields should not be ‘ontologised’. This means that one should remember about the predominantly functional character of the differentiation between social, legal and humanistic disciplines, in other words one should avoid the hypostasis of the existence of completely different social and linguistic worlds examined by the particular sciences. The extremely important and necessary division of work, including research work, from the point of view of cognitive needs, should be used instrumentally to expand our general knowledge about a specific part of social and normative reality and not only about its aspects. The relation between general and detailed knowledge about a given subject should be organised in such a way that, in a certain specialisation, a researcher – a specialist on specific legal or social issues – can always make a reference to a broader social-legal context of the examined phenomenon or the performed research or professional activities. It may be pointed out that in modern times science sees the need to develop interdisciplinary research carried out at the crossover of different scientific disciplines. Important research work is being done in the area of such studies. It may be stated that, in fact, many institutionally isolated scientific disciplines (research and educational ones) are interdisciplinary, for example sciences such as resocialisation pedagogy, criminology, penology, gender studies or international studies. The development of culturally integrated studies is the answer to the genuine need to form certain general guidelines concerning the integration of knowledge in the area of legal and social sciences. Such integration is needed and is currently taking place.
5. Culturally integrated research, i.e. integrative syntheses, is similar to detailed research that is classified as qualitative in the methodology of social sciences, but it encompasses a broader research area. Tadeusz Pilch stresses that, in this type of research, the researcher’s imagination and intuition play a particular role, while Earl Babbie states straightforwardly that qualitative analysis is art to an equal degree as it is science. It is impossible to provide the exact model for conducting research, imitating, for example, the work of Paul Ricoeur, Pierre Bourdieu, Michel Foucault or Herbert L.A. Hart, to name the modern ‘artists’ in the area of social, legal and humanistic research. However, in addition to the presence of the elements of intuition, imagination or even artistry, synthesising interdisciplinary research also needs to be scientific to an appropriate degree. That is why, in spite of the enormous role of the individuality of a scientist conducting interdisciplinary research, from the point of view of scientific value of specific research it is very important to provide some general conditions for carrying out such an integrative analysis. This is precisely the purpose of defining specific guidelines concerning the way to conduct scientific work under the term of ‘culturally integrated research’. The syntheses built through culturally integrated research are intended to lead, as in the case of other types of research, to the discovery of the laws of science, in other words to lead toward the acceptance of properly substantiated and sufficiently verified claims in the form of general statements. In social and legal sciences such laws are not absolute because the nature of the studied legal and social phenomena is not of this kind. In the case of culturally integrated research we may say that their relativity has the nature of a historical generalisation. One makes claims about certain rules on the basis of generalisations of specific kinds of cases. This makes it possible to make claims about unknown cases on the basis of known cases; in particular, it makes it possible to recognize continuity, development and transformation of the subjects of research, in other words to carry out a social and historical ‘morphological’ analysis of relatively unchanging legal and social phenomena (institutions).
6. The researcher’s professional cognitive activities are focused on specific phenomena; however, the appropriate presentation of the research problem is part of the process of scientific cognition. Hence scientific research includes not only the identification of a subject that exists in objective terms, but also, in a sense, the creation of the subject of research both through intellectual reflection and a classification of events in the context of previous systematised experiences (earlier knowledge), as well as by relating the theoretical construction of the examined subject to certain external empirical data. In this context we say, for example, that pedagogy and certain legal sciences examine and identify different aspects of response to the problems of difficult youth. However, this does not mean that legal or pedagogical studies remain indifferent to the findings of one another. Although in dogmatic approach (the logical and linguistic study of a norm) legal sciences are sometimes considered separate from social sciences, in a broader approach it would be difficult to study the law without making a reference to the subject of regulation, in other words not taking into account the necessity to subjugate the actual state to the legal norm, that is to study the social matter of norms. As noted by Czesław Znamierowski, it is difficult to study the norms of a group not taking into account the knowledge about this social group. While, when planning educational actions and analysing their subject matter and attitudes, it is difficult for the law in force, including, for example, the Convention on the Rights of the Child or the Family and Custody Code, to ignore the question of their complex conditions. Pedagogical studies may also be of high significance in the formulation of proposals de lege ferenda and in the enforcement of law in relation to pedagogical issues, including the assumed strategies of educational actions. Life itself imposes a certain kind of ‘translation’ of the findings of educational sciences into the legal language and the language of the law, and the purpose of the development of culturally integrated studies would ease this process and deepen the reflection associated with it.
7. The predicate ‘culturally integrated’ constitutes the differentiae specificae of research activities (i.e. their existential quantifier), defining the character of conduct employed during the so-named interdisciplinary research on legal and social phenomena. The term ‘culturally integrated’ is a proper name, adopted to designate this type of research; however, it makes a reference to words that are already known and used in the language of science. The word ‘integrated’ comes from the Latin integratio – renewal, from integrare – renew, recreate (ab, ex, de integro means ‘all over again’, ‘with a fresh start’). Integrum may also mean an ‘unaltered’ legal state, meaning ‘original’, that is before amending, changing the law, before making it effective in the new form. In the context of the term ‘culturally integrated’, one should adopt, for the purpose of the use concerning legal analyses, the meaning of the word integrum in its broader, cognitive sense as the crude legal state, not subjected to secondary analysis yet. In this broader sense it also means the study of the language of law and not only of the legal language. Although in that case, the analysis concerns the subject matter and the form of the law, but it is carried out partly outside the convention of the theory and the doctrine of the law from the perspective of history, other social sciences and humanities. It may also encompass the study of the law in the context of a meta-reflection on the methods of its interpretation appropriate to the given place and time, in other words as part of the critical analysis of legal discourse of a given era. In Latin, integer also means ‘untouched’, ‘unaffected’, ‘whole’. In the Polish language integralny is typically a synonym of the words ‘whole’ and ‘unchanged’. With regard to the etymology of the proper name ‘culturally integrated studies’, it is important to make a reference to the use of the word ‘integration’ as a name for research activities. Since integration, understood in the sense of integrating activities, means the process of creating a whole out of parts, or a process of incorporating a certain element into the whole, for example when unifying and harmonising the components of a social group. In the context of culturally integrated studies, integration should naturally be understood as activities concerning thought processes, theoretical ordering of the studied material at the level of cognition, and not as the ordering of the examined legal or social reality itself. In that sense, culturally integrated studies are to contribute to the scientific integration of human experience. In his famous ‘An Essay on Man’, Ernst Cassirer stated that science is the last step in the mental development of man and it may be considered the highest and the most characteristic achievement of our culture. However, while detailed scientific research is developing dynamically, the ability of science to present a relatively cohesive view on man and society is not really growing. This may be associated with the rebirth of religious thought, which fulfil cementing functions necessary to maintain social balance, but in the world of western culture this phenomenon is probably also connected with the crisis of modernist worldview, which has been named using the distinct term of postmodernism (late modernism, postindustrialism or, as one could define it paraphrasing Giovanni Sartori, post-thinking). Considering this state of the matters, the development of culturally integrated studies may be associated with the scientific trend that attempts, despite of all objective difficulties, to make the effort of rational, objectively verifiable scientific integration of human experience. It is worthwhile to note here that such integration of human experience is an important need of individuals and societies. Science’s withdrawal from this task results in the fact that it becomes taken over by other institutions, sometimes of religious character, but also of political or business kind. It seems that both cognitive and social considerations justify the synthesis of legal and social experiences in various fields to be carried out by the people of science. It is actually being done already. Culturally integrated studies should be treated as one of the proposals, with guidelines for conducting such integrating, merging studies on legal and social issues.
8. The second component of the expression ‘culturally integrated’ is culture. In its broadest sense, culture is defined as the whole material and spiritual product of the human kind, nation, era, characterising the level of development of societies, groups or individuals in a given era, in historical place and time. With reference to groups of people with complex organisation, that are broader in terms of territory, population and history, apart from the notion of ‘culture’ the closely related term ‘civilisation’ is used, although the traditions and language practices regarding this issue are not strictly defined even in science.
The notion of culture concerns material and technological matters (agricultural or technological culture) but also the moral and mental development, the man’s emancipation, the man’s attitude toward his own body, emotional life, as well as the attitudes toward other people, their bodies and emotions, the attitude toward nature and higher rationales, including the attitude toward God. In historical perspective, many aspects of social life comprising culture were reflected in the legal acts (the law’s statues), which are a normative record of the specific ways of society’s (civilisation’s) organisation, the level of its technological as well as moral development, its socio-economic structure, the structure and the organisation of power, and a testimony of the mentality and knowledge that defined the forms of rationalisation of the phenomena of social life, feasible in the given era and place. In Latin etymology, culture (cultus) referred to nurturing activities, the care for the man, his environment, and education. In the Latin language it also referred to the way of life, both the clothes and the education, as well as the cult, the payment of tribute, the recognition of authority – broadly speaking, it referred to the systemic and political legitimisation of power.
9. In culturally integrated research, in order to integrate the material from social and legal sciences and humanities, we use two basic analytical categories. In this case we refer to category as defined, most general types of analyses of the examined social or legal phenomenon, which we use with respect to the subjects of our inquiry, making judgements about them, evaluating them and expressing preferences. The appropriate legal and sociological category of institution was adopted specifically for the needs of culturally integrated research, and a category of historical-cultural background was developed.
10. The idea of institution as a complex set of norms defining some typical, relatively constant patterns of social relations, adopted for the use of culturally integrated research, comes from the tradition of Roman jurists (Gaius). In the legal language, the term ‘legal institutions’ is used in reference to relatively fixed forms of regulations of certain typical social relations, using a set of functionally connected legal norms. In social sciences, in turn, Emil Durkheim already claimed that sociology is a science about institutions, their origins and functioning. According to this thinker, social institutions include all institutions we find in society, and in that sense – relatively independent from us or any other individual or a group of people, beliefs, behaviours or ways of making judgment. The idea of institution refers to repeatable, preserved behaviours, models, rules, and rituals. According to Talcott Parsons, in turn, an institution may be defined as a set of people who fulfil certain interconnected social roles, for example at school, at hospital, in jail, in court, or within the framework of the institutions of property (the sheaf of owner’s rights, an important erga omnes). In order for society to be able to exist, elementary values and norms have to be internalised by the members of social life to a certain extent, owing to which they can rationally expect appropriate behaviour on the part of other individuals, which is called institutionalisation. It is the basis for creating social order, described most deeply in the theory of law by Leon Petrażycki.
In a different sense, in social sciences a social institution is a particular type of activity that meets specific needs of individuals and groups of people. This is the sense in which the term was used by Bronisław Malinowski. From this perspective, in a social institution we distinguish the primary principle, namely the intentions and goals that form the basis of its rationalisation, norms and personnel, material devices, as well as the manifestations of activity and social functions interpreted as its conscious and unconscious consequences for the society. In this understanding, the first meaning is overlapped by the secondary one, which describes the visible organisational form that social institutions can take. For social institutions can be expressed by various organisational forms. Every organisational form is an expression of a certain social institutions, while a social institution does not have to take on a deeply structuralised organisational form.
When taking on a specific organisational form, social institutions may belong to different types, such as:
The institutions of family and kin, regulating most of all the rules of biological and cultural reproduction of society through the upbringing and care of children;
Political institutions, regulating the relations of power and defining the political organisation of society and the functioning of the coercive measures;
Institutions regulating the rules of social stratification, defining the distribution of social positions and the social resources of society;
Economic institutions handling the production and distribution of goods;
Educational and upbringing institutions, connected with religion, scientific and artistic activities, the functioning of mass media and the participation in high culture.
In the case of the before-mentioned question, used as illustration, regarding difficult youth and the response to its behaviour, culturally integrated studies make it possible to properly systematise the levels of analyses, allowing for the avoidance of the error of category shift that frequently occurs in interdisciplinary research. From the culturally integrated perspective, we will say, for example, that the criminological or penological analysis of the problem of difficult youth will concentrate on the institutions of the second and third type, namely the ones which regulate the relations of power and which define the political organisation of society and the functioning of coercive measures, and which regulate the rules of social stratification that define the distribution of social positions and the social resources of society. In turn, a pedagogical analysis of the same phenomenon will concentrate on the institutions of the first and fifth type, namely the institutions of family and kin, regulating most of all the rules of biological and cultural reproduction of society through the upbringing and care of children and on the educational and upbringing activities connected with religion, scientific and artistic activities, the functioning of mass media, and the study of forms and content of the participation in high culture. The awareness and systematic presentation of these complex relations between different aspects of the examined phenomenon (here – difficult youth) allows for the rationalisation of discourse of the representatives of different disciplines. This makes it easier to take advantage of the different fields’ accomplishments in a reciprocal way, while at the same time, it allows for the avoidance of simplifications and misunderstandings resulting from the category shift, pointing out substantial limitations in the translatability of conclusions reached by the particular fields. After all, interdisciplinary studies are not supposed to replace specialist research, but rather create opportunities for broader and integrated use of the results of partial research. The purpose of culturally integrated research is precisely a certain systematisation of the procedure of carrying out integrated research in social and legal sciences and the humanities.
11. In relation to culturally integrated studies, sociological, and more broadly - humanistic, analyses are significantly supported by research from the areas of law theory and the analytical philosophy of law. The category of historical-cultural background is to serve as a bridge between the formal logical reflection over the fixed, complex patterns of behaviour called social institutions (including legal institutions) and the phenomenological research on the historical-cultural conditions of a given place and time, and the context of their occurrence. Its purpose is, therefore, to recreate the certain ideological atmosphere, that is to say – the socio-intellectual history of specific phenomena (institutions), in other words the basic pre-assumptions of ideas, shaped within the culture, adopted in the legal and social sciences. Only in this context one distinguishes and presents the selected, important trends of thought on a given social or legal subject, showing their social and economical bases and ideological foundations. The category of historical-cultural background requires a rejection of the plots that are secondary for the identity of the given social institution, including a legal one, although they could be fundamental to its specific organisational forms.
12. When studying the attributes of social institutions, in practice we often use ideal types in the Weberian sense, while, in social life, institutions are both a source of order as well as a limitation to social activity and creativeness. The process of society establishing the meaning of an institution never ends. Therefore, social institutions are subject to a certain kind of continuous negotiation, during which the participants of the events exchange experiences (externalisation), the accepted rules gradually become agreed upon (internalisation), which leads to objectivisation, in other words – to the creation of Durkheimian collective conscience, or, to use the interactionist vocabulary of Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann, to the incorporation of these institutions into the symbolic universe of a specific society. Objectivisation not only shapes the pattern, but also gives it importance, which means that the process of social establishment of institutions also includes legitimisation. The described processes of social establishment of meaning of an institution (institutionalisation), which encompass the mechanisms of externalisation, internalisation, objectivisation and legitimisation, often have the character of a long historical process. From the perspective of scientific research, the sole fact of commonness of a specific institution in time and space, or – even more so – of its specific organisational form (for example, the institution of family or the institution of school and the more so – a specific kind of schooling), does not mean that it is necessary. We may assume, for the purpose of culturally integrated studies, that it is necessary to fulfil certain social needs, and therefore that the certain functions, which the given institutions have in specific organisations, are necessary. As Robert K. Merton argues, the necessity of a social function does not logically imply the necessity for the existence of the institution that fulfils that function. That is why culturally integrated studies do not assume any a priori standpoints in any ideological philosophical disputes concerning the questions of the foundations of social life, because these issues exceed the limits of scientific cognition (at least from the perspective of culturally integrated studies).
In the process of shaping a social institution, the enactment and enforcement of the law is often one of its important phases. It plays both the role of a recipient of social meanings established earlier, as well as the secondary stimulator of transformations of the social meaning of social practices. In order to understand this relationship, it is important to differentiate between the notion of action and the notion of act as Anthony Giddens did. Following the idea of Max Weber, Giddens correctly notes that only an act can be considered a purposeful and intentional action. However, an act is, similarly as in the doctrine of the law, a theoretical construct, a specific fragment of reality isolated on the basis of an argumented assumption that it is characterised by specific features which make up a categorial uniqueness as a socially significant unit of a man’s external behaviour. A so-construed act is not a unit in the sense of the thought of Tadeusz Kotarbiński, a basic unit of behaviour which makes it possible to isolate in a sensible way; neither it is a description of the sensible totality of human behaviour. When referring to the totality of sensible behaviour, and therefore one that has social significance, we speak about action. Such action can be described as a stream of lived through experience (Erleben). It is the subject of a secondary reflection of individuals performing an action who try to analyse the lived through experiences ex post, in order to isolate, on that basis, the category of an act that in the future will be the subject of intentional, conscious choices that make it possible to correct one’s own behaviour and conscious, planned changes of situations, including the enactment of the law. Contrary to popular perception, an action is, therefore, not a result of intentional undertakings, motivated a priori by calculating gains and losses or by establishing the desired goals and the means leading to them. It is rather a continuous evaluation of the past experience which has to be analysed during that reflection. Only this secondary reflection gives sense to experience, in other words it gives it the meaning that it had as a social action. That is why A. Giddens proposes, in order to avoid misunderstanding, to speak about the rationalisation of action and not about its rationality. Hence the foundations of social life have no scientific basis because what we call the rational policy of a state is at most an action, rationalised ex post.
13. The issue of continuity and the changes of social and legal institutions in the period of industrial revolution and the mental changes of the era of Enlightment are a separate research problem. The literature on the subject sometimes accepts the fundamental distinction between the modern organisation of social life after industrial revolution and the traditional organisation. Sociology (Peter L. Berger) speaks about the modern society of choice and the traditional society of fate. Such standpoint is not new. In the thought of Enlightment, former legal, social and political systems were associated with the influence of religion and were generally considered to be lacking purposeful rationality, which was supposed to differentiate them fundamentally from the modern systems. The presented analysis indicates the unlikely validity of this standpoint. In the past it was influenced, as it seems, by the separation of legal and social sciences from the achievements of the previous eras, which resulted in the fact that studies disregarded the historical process of the shaping of modern times. In the Enlightment era, such standpoint involved a noble fight for the humanitarian systemic reforms carried out against the traditional and clerical forces supporting the Ancien Règime. The unwillingness to study the continuity of social and legal institutions had, therefore, strong political ideological reasons. While in contemporary times this standpoint suffers from the error of not distinguishing the issue of the rationalisation of legal and social institutions from the question about their rationality.
Max Weber stressed on multiple occasions the fact that the actors of events usually have an unclear idea of the motives of their behaviour and that they often explain them to themselves erroneously. That is why he was sceptical about excessively relying on surveys to obtain knowledge about social reality. That was the source of the Weberian postulate of cultural studies as understanding studies. Relying only on the opinion of the participants of events would mean granting them, unreasonably, as we have already argumented following A. Giddens, full knowledge about their own actions. In the explanations of phenomena and events, a researcher makes a reference to values, goals and intentions, in the light of which human behaviour seems sensible, or meaningful, in other words – it is seen as actions. This does not mean that the actors of events have to be aware of the foundations of this reasonableness. They do not have to be present in their consciousness and they often are not. M. Weber claimed that it would be of assistance to scientific cognition to create ideal, or model, types, comprehensive types, made up of the patterns of real social phenomena - models that would show the presence of specific signs in human behaviour that will give them sense as actions. A construction of a model is possible only when one manages to reveal the values that are the basis of people’s efforts to reach specific goals, which determine the admissibility of using appropriate means. M. Weber noticed the fundamental significance of the period of industrial revolution in the transformation of social life. However, trying to understand and explain the modern times, he focused on the analysis of the socio-cultural factors of the transformation, including in his studies the most distant times, with their characteristic wide influence of religion.
14. Legal studies employ the theory of a rational legislator. It is the point of departure for the dogmatic analysis of the institutions of the law in force. The institutions of law must be analysed as cohesive with one another, not contradictory in normative or praxeological sense, as components of a consciously systematised set of rationally enacted norms. However, the concept of a rational legislator is used in the science of law as a science about norms, therefore it has an application in legal analysis (particularly dogmatic analysis) of the sollen sphere, that is the duties consciously enacted by the state authorities (or axiological imperative), and not in the analysis of the sein sphere, that is the existence of specific social institutions defined by legal norms. In the analysis of the social existence of a legal institution we do not use the concept of a rational legislator. When analysing social life, we refer to the notion of Weberian rationality, which confirmed the departure of social research from the acknowledgement of any a priori assumptions made at the starting point. Weberian rationality rejected the axiom of a specific ‘cosmic, omniscient legislator’, typical of various trends in religious or philosophical reflection over social life. From the perspective of social sciences, throughout the course of their actions people are doomed to make incessant choices based on their existing knowledge, axiological preferences and the availability of specific forms of behaviour. People’s choices depend therefore both on the existing conditions and their evaluation by the individual who has to make a valuative judgement, to consider certain states as desired or undesired in the light of specific knowledge, views and possibilities concerning behaviour. The peculiarity of social sciences in relation to natural sciences lies therefore in the integral bond of experiences and evaluations of the acting individual with the behaviour itself, which receives its meaning only owing to the consciousness of the participants of the events. In the analyses of human creative behaviour it is worthwhile to make a reference to the notion of humanistic coefficient, introduced by Florian Znaniecki. According to this standpoint, social reality is always somebody’s. Some, even trivial, behaviour or results of actions may therefore appear to an individual as new and original in relation to his or her past experience. By relativising the reality to the perceiving individual, the humanistic coefficient makes it possible to avoid the perception of social reality in a fatalistic way as an area of actions enslaved by the corset of the past or an area which determines the chance to make the only right decision as a result of reflection. A social researcher does not face only empirical events understood as changes in the position of objects or people. The researcher subjects the events, which have already been defined with regard to their meanings and values by their witnesses and participants, to secondary analysis. Hence, the social world is far from cohesiveness and consistency which characterise the system of legal norms interpreted according to the principles of a rational legislator. In relation to the doctrine of the law, it may be said, therefore, that, within the framework of the theory of a rational legislator, one should analyse the purpose of a legal institution, taking into consideration, however, the possible collisions of objectives (claims) of the particular norms that are its components. Yet, for the culturally integrated studies it is more important to analyse the functions of that institution, interpreted – similarly as in criminal law – as its positive and negative, recognised and unrecognised social consequences, including legal consequences.
15. Culturally integrated studies concentrate on issues and topics which, frequently using different verbal styles and ideological rhetoric, reappear in the subsequent eras and often different theoretical concepts of the particular scientific fields. They concern social and legal phenomena, analysed in the broad context of culture, politics, knowledge about man and man’s behaviour. However, these studies were born as part of penal studies. Originally, they were connected with the development of penology, in other words the study of punishment as a social phenomenon, becoming the basis of the integration of knowledge obtained from different disciplines within the legal and social sciences and humanities, and concerned with the central category of criminal law: the criminal punishment. In culturally integrated penology, emphasis is placed on the fact that the legal and social institution of criminal punishment has to do with the axiological foundations of society. Apart from the knowledge obtained using methods typical of social and legal sciences, in all discussions devoted to culturally integrated penology, enormous role is played by the questions of axiological preferences and worldview-related choices. That is why the humanistic approach to social life, characteristic of Florian Znaniecki’s study of culture, has its counterpart in Nils Christie’s study of punishment. This scholar notices the connection between the organisational side of social life and its axiological dimension. He expresses this most profoundly when he states that by opting for a certain character of the selected organisational forms of criminal punishment we define, most of all, the type of culture we live in. Apart from penal studies (in particular – penology), culturally integrated research has particular application in the study of those social phenomena and processes and legal institutions, where the questions associated with culture, axiology, history, religious and worldview differences come first. This is especially true for the issues of migration and cultural integration, as well as for the institution of family, the status of women and children. Culturally integrated research becomes particularly significant in the context of studies of various kinds of social conflicts, from the issues of war and terrorism or political struggle, through international relations and economic competition, to different forms of discrimination or violence and coercion in individual and group life. It is therefore also important for the studies on poverty and the studies in the sociology of charity, sociology of education or gender studies, conducted in a broader philosophical-cultural context.
16. The focal point of culturally integrated studies is always man – as a researcher, as the subject of studies, and the addressee of a lecture and of the practical solutions based on the results of the analyses. Culturally integrated studies concern human actions, humanitarian patterns of behaviour and its consequences, hence – culture. It is impossible not to notice that the so-constructed research domain makes a natural reference to the humanistic and community-centred tradition of involvement for the benefit of man, present in pedagogical studies.