Dr. Rafael Mrowczynski

Universität Leipzig

Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Rafael Mrowczynski studierte Politikwissenschaft mit dem Wahlpflichtfach Volkswirtschaft und Nebenfächern Soziologie und Philosophie an der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main. 2007 promovierte er in Soziologie mit einer Arbeit zum Thema „Im Netz der Hierarchien. Sozialstruktur, informelle Beziehungen und Mittelschicht im entwickelten Sowjetsozialismus“ an der Leibniz-Universität Hannover. Von 2002 bis 2005 wurde er durch die Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung mit einem Promotionsstipendium gefördert. Darüber hinaus war Dr. Rafael Mrowczynski Projektmitarbeiter an der Forschungsstelle Osteuropa der Universität Bremen sowie am Institut für Soziologie der Leibniz Universität Hannover. Von 2010 bis 2015 war Dr. Mrowczynski DAAD-Langzeitdozent an der Fakultät für Soziologie der Nationalen Forschungsuniversität „Higher School of Economics“ in Moskau, Russland. In dieser Zeit betrieb er intensive Feldforschung zu russischen Rechtsberufen. Ein Gastforschungsaufenthalt am Institut für Soziologie der Universität Warschau (Polen) im Herbst 2013 ermöglichte es ihm, diese Feldforschung ebenso zu polnischen Rechtsberufen durchzuführen. Die Ergebnisse der Datenerhebung dienen ihm als Grundlage seines derzeitigen Habilitationsprojekts an der Universität Leipzig und für seine Forschungstätigkeit am Käte Hamburger Kolleg „Recht als Kultur“. Ferner war Dr. Rafael Mrowczynski in den letzten Jahren als Gastwissenschaftler am Institut für Kulturwissenschaften der Universität Leipzig (2015-2016) sowie als wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter am Otto-Suhr-Institut für Politikwissenschaft der Freien Universität Berlin (2016-2017) tätig.

Von April bis Dezember 2018 war Dr. Rafael Mrowczynski Fellow am Käte Hamburger Kolleg „Recht als Kultur“.


Rechts- und Professionssoziologie (insbes. Soziologie der Rechtsberufe), sozialistischer und postsozialistischer Gesellschaftswandel, sozialwissenschaftliche Osteuropaforschung, Sozialstrukturtheorien, Mittelschichtsforschung, soziologische Verwaltungsforschung, Steuerverwaltungen in postsozialistsichen Ländern, qualitative Methoden der Sozialwissenschaften, Gesellschaftstheorie.


“Doing Law and Making a Living in Nascent Market Economies: Socio-economic Transformations, Changing Legal Systems and Professional Orientations of Lawyers in Poland and Russia”

Legal reforms and fundamental reorganizations of judicial institutions have been one of the focal points in post-socialist transformations. The “law-based state” or the “rule of law” was among the major declared goals of the transformation. Changes of fundamental legal norms regulating property rights, economic, but also political and civic, activities were the key instruments of post-socialist reforms; they contributed inter alia to the emergence of normative-regulatory frames for nascent market economies, but they were at the same time molded by volatile economic processes. While the law and the administration of justice in socialism were subordinated, although not entirely, to the power of the party-state and its ruling elite (“dual state” or “rule by law”), it was envisioned as the supreme form of normative regulation for post-socialist societies. As a consequence, there was an expectation that the importance of legal professionals would significantly increase in the course of post-socialist transformations.
From the social-constructivist perspective, the core of legal professionals’ activities—the so-called “lawyering”—is normative interpretation of (potential) social conflicts. Lawyers, as members of a “normative profession” par excellence (Halliday), simultaneously interpret two types of texts: legal norms (“law on the books”) and narratives about (potential) conflicts. The aim of their interpretative activities is to decide how these (potential) conflicts—as perceived by clients, witnesses, state officials and lawyers themselves—can be won, settled, avoided or at least reduced in accordance with the legal norms that are in force at a given time in a given jurisdiction. The process of arriving at such a decision is, in most cases, a persuasion-based competition between different views that result from diverging interpretations of both: norms and narrated facts. When participating in legal disputes, each legal professional, on the one hand, has to refer to interpretative frames that have a significant degree of commonality with analogous frames found in other members of his or her legal community. Otherwise his or her argumentation would not be accepted by professional peers. But on the other hand, his or her interpretation has to provide for a sufficient originality which is necessary to make a distinct case for his or her client. This conceptualization of lawyers’ activities draws on Bourdieu’s theory of “juridical field.”
Lawyers’ biographically habitualized “frames of social orientation” (Bohnsack; Nohl) are of particular interest for social scientists because lawyers are key actors in processes of normative regulation by law in all functionally differentiated (modern) societies. Lawyers’ understandings of how their society and economy “works” influence their judgements and actions which in turn have consequences for other members of the society who rely on their adjudication, representation, advice or assistance. According to the key assumption of this study, interpretative patterns used by legal professionals in their practices are habitualized, i.e. engrained in their personalities as a result of their general as well as specifically professional socialization. Bourdieu proposed the concept of “habitus” to grasp this phenomenon.
As a research fellow at Käte Hamburger Center for Advanced Studies in Humanities “Law as Culture”, I focus on the socio-economic dimension of professional orientations and professional practices. Making a living (and sometimes getting rich) by practicing law is one of the key aspects of legal professionalism. Using autobiographic narrative interviews with Polish and Russian lawyers, I explore how being an economic actor in emerging post-socialist market economies impacts practitioners’ frames of social orientation that guide their professional activities. In general terms, my study aims at a contribution to a better understanding to the link between economic activities and practices of normative regulation by law.

Publikationen (Auswahl)

  • „Staatskapazität und Verwaltungsreformen in hybriden und autoritären Regimen – unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der Steuerverwaltung in postsowjetischen Ländern“ [State Capacities and Administrative Reforms in Hybrid and Authoritarian Regimes – with a special focus on tax administrations in post-soviet countries] (co-authored with Sabine Kropp & Katharina Bluhm; submitted to Politische Vierteljahreszeitschrift) (in Bearbeitung)
  • „Juristische Professionen zwischen Einheitsanspruch und Fragmentierungsrealität“ [Legal Professions between Aspirations to Unity and a Fragmented Reality] In: Michaela Pfadenhauer und Christiane Schnell (eds.): Handbuch Professionssoziologie. Themen, Theorien und Forschungsfelder [Handbook of the Sociology of Professions: Topics, Theories, and Research Fields], Springer (im Erscheinen)
  • “Der Ausbruch 'geschlossener Gemeinschaften' aus 'geschlossenen Gesellschaften'. Professionalisierung im Spannungsfeld staatssozialistischer und postsozialistischer Gesellschaftstransformationen.” [“Closed Communities” Breaking Out of “Closed Societies”: Professionalization within State-Socialist and Post-Socialist Transformations] in: Stephan Lessenich (ed.): Geschlossene Gesellschaften. Verhandlungen des 38. Kongresses der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Soziologie in Bamberg 2016. [Closed Societies. Proceedings of the 38th Congress of German Sociological Association in Bamberg] 2017 online: http://publikationen.soziologie.de/index.php/kongressband_2016/article/view/502/pdf_230
  • “Lawyering in Transition: Post-Socialist Transformations in Autobiographic Narratives of Polish and Russian Lawyers”. In: Przegląd Socjologii Jakościowej [Revue of Qualitative Soziology; Poland], Jg. XII (2016) Nr. 2, S. 146-166 (in englischer Sprache)
  • “Institutional Professionalization of Lawyers in State-Socialism and Post-Socialism: Poland and Russia Compared”. In: International Journal of the Legal Profession. vol. 23 (2016), no. 2, pp. 157-184.
  • „Rechtsberater in staatssozialistischen und post-sozialistischen Gesellschaften. Ein Vergleich zwischen Polen, der Sowjetunion und dem post-kommunistischen Russland“ [Legal Counsellors in Socialist and Post-Socialist Societies. A Comparison between Poland, Soviet Union and Post-Communist Russia] In: Müller, Dietmar / Siegrist, Hannes (eds.): Professionen, Eigentum und Staat. Europäische Entwicklungen im Vergleich – 19. und 20. Jahrhundert [Professions, Property, and State. European Developments Compared – 19th and 20th Century], Göttingen: Wallstein Verlag 2014, S. 133-166.
  • “Institutsial’naia professionalizatsiia iuristov v usloviakh gosudarstvennogo sotsializma i postsotisalizma: sravnitel’nyi analiz organizatsii professional’nogo samoupravleniia v Polshe i Rossii” [Institutional Professionalization of Lawyers in State-Socialism and Post-Socialism: a comparative analysis of self-regulating organizations in Poland and Russia]. In: Romanov, Pavel / Iarskaia-Smirnova, Elena (eds.): Antropologiia professii: granitsy zaniatosti v epokhu nestabil’nosti [Anthropology of Professions: Occupational Boundaries in Turbulent Times], Tsentr sotsial’noi politiki i gendernykh issledovanii, Moskva 2012, pp. 99-117 (in russischer Sprache).
  • „Im Netz der Hierarchien. Russlands sozialistische und postsozialistische Mittelschichten“[In a Network of Hierarchies. Russia’s Socialist and Post-Socialist Middle Class], Wiesbaden: VS – Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 2010.
  • “‘Middle Classes’ in post-socialist Russia and Poland: emergence or decline?”. In: Fischer, Sabine / Pleines, Heiko (eds): Crises and conflicts in post-socialist societies: The role of ethnic, political and social identities, Changing Europe book series vol. 4 Stuttgart 2008, pp. 129-149.
  • „‚NEtakratie‘? Sozialstrukturtheorien der sowjetischen Gesellschaft und das Problem der inoffiziellen Netzwerkbeziehungen“ [NEtacracy? Theories of the Soviet Social Structure and the Problem of Informal Networks]. In: Schuhmann, Annette (ed.): Vernetzte Improvisationen. Gesellschaftliche Subsysteme in Ostmitteleuropa und der DDR [Network-Based Improvisations. Social Sub-Systems in Central-Eastern Europe and in GDR], Weimar, Wien: Böhlau Verlag Köln 2008, S. 157-177