Editorial

The electronic version of the first number of the eighteen edition of the review Our Society (Naše společnost). Our Society issues Center for Public Opinion Research, Institute of Sociology of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic.

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Public Opinion Research before 1989: at the Request of Science, State Apparatus and Public

The article deals with the public opinion research before 1989 in then Czechoslovakia. The most important public opinion re- search institution of its time is the subject of discussed analysis, i.e. The Institute for Public Opinion Research, which operated in the framework of several institutional arrangements during the period 1946 to 1990 (in the 1970s also with the name changed to the Public Opinion Research Cabinet).

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Who Will Go to the Polls? Predictors of Turnout in Terms of the Reasoned Action Approach

Turnout probability measurement is one of the fundamen- tal methodological questions of pre-election polls. Accurate pre-election polls are important not only for polling agencies and politicians but also for social scientists. Among the op- portunities they indeed provide is verifying the accuracy of questionnaire surveys – one of the fundamental social scien- tific methods.

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Editorial

The electronic version of the first number of the seventeenth edition of the review Our Society (Naše společnost). Our Society issues Center for Public Opinion Research, Institute of Sociology of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic.

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Settlement Demolition in the Context of Contemporary Discourse: Kralupy u Chomutova

Brown coal mining was and continues to be the main source of fuel for electricity and heat generation in the Czech Republic. Located in the territories of the Karlovy Vary and Ústí nad Labem Regions, the North Bohemian Brown Coal Basin (NBBCB) is the area with the largest deposits of brown coal in the country. Coal mining intertwines with the lives of the residents of this area. In the past, it helped attract new labour force but, at the same time, it devastated the landscape and contributed to environmental degradation. Even at its diminished current levels, coal mining continues to play an important role.

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Attitudes of Children and Youth to Railway Trespassing

Unauthorised entry of railway premises accounts for approximately 200 casualties per year in the Czech Republic. Although the phenomenon is highly pertinent to children and youth, it does not receive sufficient attention in traffic safety education. Existing research has mapped railway trespassing in the Czech Republic in general terms only, with primary focus on the conditions of emergence and characteristics of high-risk sites. In contrast, international research and practice pay more attention to shaping public awareness, including education of children and youth.

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Web Archives and Social Sciences: Opportunities, Problems and Solutions

Over the past three decades, the internet has become an integral part of contemporary societies. Online content is growing at a tremendous scale and changing dynamically. In spite of that, social sciences and social scientists have paid little attention to the kind of account of social change the World Wide Web can provide. This article provides an introduction to the subject matter of web archives, which can serve as sources of data that help us draw a picture of the dynamic change of contemporary society and communication. It seeks to discuss the different problems faced by social scientists in utilising web archive data and to propose, or at least sketch, their solutions.

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Editorial

The electronic version of the second number of the sixteenth edition of the review Our Society (Naše společnost). Our Society issues Center for Public Opinion Research, Institute of Sociology of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic.

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Public Support for Policies: Public Opinion and Policy Making

Increasing policy feasibility is a frequent argument for policyIncreasing policy feasibility is a frequent argument for policyrelevance of research on public attitudes to policies. Therefore,this text discusses the interlinkage of public opinion and thepolicy-making process. The text focuses on the role of publicopinion surveys as a source of information about public attitudestowards policies and policy instruments. Following a discussionof conditions of policy responsiveness related to pollmeasures of public support, public support is argued to emergefrom public opinion as a communication process or a processof social organization, rather than to reflect a collective state ofmind. As such, public support constitutes one of many possibleresults of the public opinion communication process – a resultwhich is temporary and thenceforth subject to the ongoingprocess. It is not reducible to survey responses as expressionsof individual attitudes toward policies, which present an oversimplifiedand partial picture of reality. Surveys, however, constitutean important source of information for researchers andpolicy makers. Therefore, we need to use and interpret themaccordingly. Some recommendations are proposed to improvethe current practice.

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United by Faith? The Significance of Religion for Assortative Mating in the Czech Republic and Slovakia

Based on empirical data, contemporary Czech Republic is considered to be more secular than Slovakia. The differences between these countries have been described by the way of rates of traditional forms of religiosity in society. The declining share of the religious population is often explained through the secularisation thesis. From this perspective, the process of secularisation entails decreasing importance of religion in everyday life, and it is associated with the modernisation process. Nevertheless, both religious and non-religious worldviews have an impact on people’s decisions in their everyday lives. In addressing their daily needs, individuals rely in their rational calculus on the values and opinions stemming from their worldview.

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Intergroup Contacts and Attitudes to the Roma in the Czech Republic: A Mixed-Methods Analysis

The paper presents an application of a mixed-methods designThe paper presents an application of a mixed-methods designin the study of interethnic attitudes (prejudice). Its goal is toanalyze the relationship between attitudes towards the Romaand contacts with members of this group. Both quantitative andqualitative empirical material is used here and methodologically,the analysis presented seeks to verify the applicability, limitsand usefulness of mixed methods for prejudice research. Theoretically,the text is based on the contact hypothesis, whichmainly holds that contacts with members of a group that istargeted by prejudice lower the level of prejudice towards thegroup as a whole. It was formulated by Gordon Allport in the1950s and developed later by authors like Thomas Pettigrewor Linda Tropp. The premises of the contact hypothesis are appliedin the case of attitudes towards the Roma in the CzechRepublic. Mixed-methods design provides the methodologicalframework for this study. A secondary analysis of quantitativesurveys (by the Public Opinion Research Centre) is followed(enriched and deepened) by a primary analysis of qualitativesemi-structured interviews with a purposive sample of membersof the Czech majority. This mixed design is intended toachieve more comprehensive and convincing results comparedto a single-method (either qualitative or quantitative) approach.

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Editorial

The electronic version of the first number of the sixteenth edition of the review Our Society (Naše společnost). Our Society issues Center for Public Opinion Research, Institute of Sociology of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic.

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Three Generations of Methods for Measuring Corruption in Europe

This article focuses on methods for measuring corruption, first describing three generations of corruption indicators and then comparing them qualitatively and quantitatively. Corruption is a clandestine activity that is extremely difficult to measure; there are no official statistics on the number of corruption cases. For this reason, corruption can only be measured indirectly, by various proxies, and it is extremely hard to state whether these indicators are reliable and indeed measure the corruption phenomena in a given country. A large number of different indicators have been developed over the years that try to capture and quantify corruption. Some authors measure perceptions of corruption, others try to use “hard data” to explore the level of corruption in a country, and even others combine different measurements, weight them, and then publish composite indicators to capture the overall level of corruption in a country.

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Homogamy and the Internet: Can Online Dating Sites Help Us Understand Assortative Mating?

Non-random selection of reproductive partners in the human population, i.e. assortative mating, has been a stable occurrence for decades and across societies, including the Czech Republic. Social sciences have paid primary attention to homogamy, marriage between similar partners, also due to its potential impact on society. High levels of homogamy in a society may imply high closedness of the different groups, prevent social mobility, suggest racial tensions, or lead to higher inequality.

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Big Data as an Alternative to Surveys in Quantitative Social Research

The goal of this article is to inform social scientists, especially those of a quantitative orientation, about the basic characteristics of Big Data and to present the opportunities and limitations of using such data in social research. The paper informs about three basic types of Big Data as they are distinguished in contemporary methodological literature, namely administrative data, transaction data and social network data, and exemplifies how they can be utilized by quantitative social research. According to many, questionnaire-based sample survey as the dominant method of quantitative social research has found itself in a crisis, especially as response rates have decreased in most developed countries and public confidence in opinion polling has declined.

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Editorial

The electronic version of the second number of the fourteenth edition of the review Our Society (Naše společnost). Our Society issues Center for Public Opinion Research, Institute of Sociology of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic.

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