Florian Znaniecki

Florian Znaniecki


Florian Witold Znaniecki (January 15 1882March 23 1958) was a philosopher and a sociologist. He taught and wrote in Poland and the United States. He was the 44th President of the American Sociological Association and the founder of academic sociology studies in Poland. His theoretical and methodological work contributed to the development of Sociology as a distinct academic discipline.

He gained international fame as the co-author with William I. Thomas of [http://books.google.com/books?vid=OCLC11633316&id=zaUMAAAAIAAJ&pg=RA1-PR7&lpg=RA1-PR7&dq=Thomas+and+Florian+Znaniecki++Polish "The Polish Peasant in Europe and America] 1918-1920", considered the foundation of modern Empirical Sociology and Humanistic Sociology.

His Presidential Address, "Basic Problems of Contemporary Sociology," was delivered on September 8, 1954 at the Association's Annual Meeting, and was later published in the American Sociological Review (ASR October 1954 Vol 19 No 5, pp 519-524).


Florian Znaniecki was born on January 15 1882 in Świetniki, Russian Empire. He studied in Geneva, Zurich and Paris and obtained his PhD at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. Znaniecki came to Chicago in the United States in 1914 and returned to the Second Polish Republic in 1920 to accept the first Polish chair in sociology at the University in Poznań. There he organised the Polish Sociological Institute (Polish "Polski Instytut Socjologii") and began publishing The Polish Sociological Review (Polish "Polski Przegląd Socjologiczny"). Keeping in touch with American sociologists, he lectured at Columbia University in New York in 1931-1933 and during the summer of 1939.

This summer ended the Polish stage of his career, since the German invasion on Poland and the start of World War II prevented his return to Poland. He then moved to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he taught until his retirement, deciding not to return to the communist People's Republic of Poland. He died on March 23, 1958 in the town of Champaign, Illinois, USA.


Florian Znaniecki characterized the world as caught within two contrary modes of reflection; these were idealism and realism. Znaniecki proposed a third way, which he labeled culturalism (Polish "kulturalizm"). Znaniecki's culturalism is one of the ideas that founded modern sociological views of antipositivism.

His focus and subsequent impact lay mainly in the realms of sociology, philosophy, and secondarily psychology. According to the culturalist perspective, sociology should deal with the effects of culture, as sociology is a study of human meaning, and subsequently dualistic with a locus of empirical reality. Znaniecki responds to demands for objective reality as a focus, those that would use Descartesian arguments of fancy, and those with pre-postmodern malaise, thusly, "Therefore, whether we agree that the individual can contribute to the evolution of the objective world or not, whether we treat the objective realities or thoughts which the individual reaches as creations or mere reconstructions, as new objectively or new only for him, we must take the other, active side of the experiencing individual, the creative personality into account."

In 1934 he formulated the principle of analytic induction, designed to identify universal propositions and causal laws. He contrasted it with enumerative research, which provided mere correlations and could not account for exceptions in statistical relationships.(Taylor & Bogdan 1998)

Znaniecki proposed that social phenomena (Polish "czynności społeczne") should be treated as active or as potential subjects of one's actions (humanist principle, Polish "współczynnik humanistyczny" [http://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wsp%C3%B3%C5%82czynnik_humanistyczny] ). According to this principle, the individual's experiences and ideas are of utmost importance and the sociologist should study reality as a social actor (subjectively), not as an independent observer (objectively). As one of the first sociologists, he started analyzing personal documents like letters, autobiographies, diaries and similar items. Znaniecki's term "social phenomena" is broader then Max Weber's social actions.

According to Znaniecki, sociology should analyze social relations, which are composed of values. Their basic element is that of human beings. He recognized four types of social relations:
* social acts (Polish "czyny społeczne") - the most simple, like greeting or pleading, each composed of elements like: people, tools, subjects, methods, results
* social relations (Polish "stosunki społeczne")- need at least two people and a platform, like privilege or obligation
* social group (Polish "grupy społeczne")- any group which some people recognize as a separate entity
* social personalities (Polish "osobowości społeczne")- which are created under influence of social movements

Znaniecki also defined four types of character and personality:
* the humorous man (Polish "człowiek zabawy")- develops among those who have much time, treats work as fun
* the working man (Polish "człowiek pracy")- develops among the working class social class, treats work as a life necessity
* the well-behaved man (Polish "człowiek dobrze wychowany")- develops among the intelligentsia social class
* the deviant man (Polish "człowiek zboczeniec (dewiant)")- easily distinguishable from the others, not always in a negative perspective (he can be a genius or a criminal)

The "Polish Peasant in Europe and America 1918-1920" is considered to be a classic study of immigrants and their families based on personal documents, and is the foundation of modern empirical sociology and humanist sociology.


In English:

* "The Polish Peasant in Europe and America" (with William I. Thomas, 5 vols., 19l8-1920).
* "The Principle of Relativity and Philosophical Absolutism," "The Philosophical Review", vol. 24, no. 2 (March 1915), pp. 150-164.
* Cultural Reality (Chicago 1919),
* The Laws of Social Psychology (Warsaw-Kraków-Poznań 1926),
* The Method of Sociology (New York 1934),
* Social Actions (New York 1936),
* The Social Role of the Man of Knowledge (New York 1940),
* Cultural Sciences. Their Origin Development (Urbana 1952),
* Modern Nationalities (Urbana 1952),
* Social Relations and Social Roles (San Francisco 1965),
* On Humanistic Sociology (selection of works under redaction of R. Bierstedt, Chicago i London 1969),
* "The Subject Matter and Tasks of the Science of Knowledge" (translated by Christopher Kasparek; first published in Polish, 1923), in "Polish Contributions to the Science of Science", edited by Bohdan Walentynowicz, Dordrecht, D. Reidel, 1982, pp. 1-81.
* The Social Role of the University Student (Poznań 1994).

In Polish:

* Zagadnienie wartości w filozofii (Warsaw 1910),
* Humanizm i poznanie (Warsaw 1912),
* Upadek cywilizacji zachodniej. Szkic z pogranicza filozofii kultury i socjologii (Poznań 1921),
* Wstęp do socjologii (Poznań 1922),
* Socjologia wychowania (vol. I Warsaw 1928, vol. II Warsaw 1930),
* Miasto w świadomości jego obywateli (Poznań 1932),
* Ludzie teraźniejsi a cywilizacja przyszłości (Lwów-Warsaw 1934),

See also

* Stanisław Ossowski
* History of philosophy in Poland
* Humanistic Sociology

External links

* [http://www.fmag.unict.it/~polphil/PolPhil/Znan/Znanie.html Polish Philosophy Page: Florian Znaniecki]
* [http://www.asanet.org/governance/znaniecki.html Short bio from American Sociological Association]
* [http://www.enotes.com/soc-encyclopedia/znaniecki-florian Short bio from the Oxford Dictionary of Sociology]
* [http://main.amu.edu.pl/~fznansoc/index_e.htm Florian Znaniecki Society]
* [http://ead.lib.uchicago.edu/view.xqy?id=ICU.SPCL.ZNANIECKI&c=z Guide to the Florian Znaniecki Papers 1918-1968] at the University of Chicago
* Elżbieta Hałas, [http://www.lrz-muenchen.de/~Prof.Helle/znaniecki1.htm The Humanistic Approach of Florian Znaniecki] , see also [http://www.ceeol.com/aspx/getdocument.aspx?logid=5&id=14be83ea-7730-4343-bf03-9603ce697c31 this article]
* Elżbieta Hałas, [http://jcs.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/6/3/257.pdf Classical Cultural Sociology: Florian Znaniecki’s Impact in a New Light] , Journal of Classical Sociology 2006; 6; 257
* Aleksander Gella, Reviewed work(s): Florian Znaniecki: Zycie i Dzielo. by Zygmunt Dulczewski, in Slavic Review, Vol. 45, No. 2 (Summer, 1986), pp. 374-375 (review consists of 2 pages) [http://www.jstor.org/pss/2499246 JSTOR]
* Helena Znaniecki-Lopata, [http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/112410973/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0 Florian Znaniecki: Creative evolution of a sociologist]
* [http://www.soc.uoc.gr/kousis/SocPMS/METHODOIpms/ForumCrossNationalQualRes/Poland.pdf Polish Qualitative Sociology: The General Features and Development] - "The role of Florian ZNANIECKI in creating the Polish qualitative sociology is also underlined"

Publications online

* William Thomas and Florian Znaniecki. "The Polish Peasant in Europe and America." 2 vol 1920; famous classic [http://books.google.com/books?vid=OCLC11633316&id=zaUMAAAAIAAJ&pg=RA1-PR7&lpg=RA1-PR7&dq=Thomas+and+Florian+Znaniecki++Polish online edition]
* [http://spartan.ac.brocku.ca/~lward/Znaniecki/1919/1919_toc.html "Cultural Reality". Chicago: University of Chicago Press (1919).]
* [http://spartan.ac.brocku.ca/~lward/Znaniecki/1925/1925_toc.html "The Laws of Social Psychology". Chicago: University of Chicago Press (1925).]
* [http://spartan.ac.brocku.ca/~lward/Young/1931/11_Znaniecki.html "Group Crises Produced by Voluntary Undertakings" In K. Young (ed) Social Attitudes. New York: Henry Holt (1931): 265-290.]
* [http://spartan.ac.brocku.ca/~lward/Znaniecki/Znaziecki_1933.html "The Analysis of Social Processes." Publications of the American Sociological Society: Papers and Proceedings, Twenty-seventh Annual Meeting. XXVII (1932): 37-43.]
* [http://spartan.ac.brocku.ca/~lward/Znaniecki/Znaniecki_1948.html "William I. Thomas as a Collaborator." Sociology and Social Research 32 (1948): 765-767.]

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  • Znaniecki — Dieser Artikel wurde auf der Qualitätssicherungsseite des Portals Soziologie eingetragen. Dies geschieht, um die Qualität der Artikel aus dem Themengebiet Soziologie auf ein akzeptables Niveau zu bringen. Hilf mit, die inhaltlichen Mängel dieses… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • ZNANIECKI (F. W.) — ZNANIECKI FLORIAN WITOLD (1882 1958) Sociologue polonais, qui s’installa aux États Unis en 1914. Les travaux de Znaniecki, notamment The Polish Peasant in Europe and America (1920), ouvrage en cinq volumes rédigé en collaboration avec William… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Znaniecki —   [zna njɛtski, polnisch], Florian Witold, amerikanischer Soziologe polnischer Herkunft, * Świątniki Górne (bei Krakau) 15. 1. 1882, ✝ Champaign (Illinois) 23. 3. 1958; 1920 wurde Znaniecki Professor für Soziologie in Posen, wo er 1921 das… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Znaniecki, Florian — ▪ Polish sociologist born Jan. 15, 1882, Świętniki, Prussia [now in Poland] died March 23, 1958, Champaign, Ill., U.S.       Polish American sociologist whose theoretical and methodological work helped make sociology a distinct academic… …   Universalium

  • Znaniecki, Florian — (1882 1959) Born in German occupied Poland, Znaniecki was one of the first Polish professors of sociology, initiating the Polish Institute of Sociology and the Polish Sociological Review. In 1914 he collaborated with William Isaac Thomas on The… …   Dictionary of sociology

  • Znaniecki — /znah nyets kee/, n. Florian /flaw rddee ahn/, 1882 1958, Polish sociologist. * * * …   Universalium

  • Znaniecki — /znah nyets kee/, n. Florian /flaw rddee ahn/, 1882 1958, Polish sociologist …   Useful english dictionary

  • Humanistic sociology — is a domain of sociology which originated mainly from the work of University of Chicago Polish philosopher turned sociologist, Florian Znaniecki. It is a methodology which treats its objects of study and its studiers, that is, humans, as… …   Wikipedia

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