Imre Kertész Kolleg Jena

Dr Rafael Mrowczynski

Leutragraben 1 | 07743 Jena
Fon + 49 (0) 3641 9 44070

  • Since Oct 2020 – research fellow at Imre Kertész Center for Advanced Studies at Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, Germany
  • 2019 – 2020 – adjunct professor (Professurvertreter) of comparative political sociology at Viadrina University in Frankfurt (Oder), Germany
  • 2018 – research fellow at Käte Hamburger Center for Advanced Studies in Humanities “Law as Culture” at Bonn University, Germany
  • 2017 – research associate (wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter) at Otto Suhr Institute of Political Science, Freie Universität Berlin, Gerrmany
  • 2015 – 2016 – visiting researcher (DAAD-funded) at the Institute for Cultural Studies of Leipzig University, Germany
  • 2010 -2015 – DAAD assistant professor at the Faculty of Sociology of National Research University „Higher School of Economics” in Moscow, Russian Federation

Research project at the Kolleg

Lawyering in Transition: Societal Transformations, Changing Legal Systems and Professional Habitus of Lawyers in Poland and Russia

The study focuses on habitualized agency dispositions or “frames of orientation” (Ralf Bohnsack) of legal professionals in two post-socialist countries—Poland and Russia. It aims at answering the following research questions: (1) What are the key categories that allow legal professionals to navigate the post-socialist realities they live and practice in? (2) How are these basic categories interrelated within individual “frames of orientation”? (3) How do these frames of orientations emerge and change or remain stable in the course of professional biographies spanning over two different political, economic and societal systems? (4) What are the decisive social factors (e.g. family socialization, education incl. apprentice training, market opportunities, social networks, political affiliations etc.) that influence the formation of different professional frames of orientation?

Since the project is inspired by the paradigm of reconstructive social research (Bohnsack; Przyborski and Wohlrab-Sahr) and by the “praxeological sociology of knowledge” (Bohnsack), its main aim is a systematic typology of frames of orientation grounded in a “documentary analysis” of autobiographic narrative interviews (Nohl). These agency-centered findings will be embedded in a comparative (historic-sociological) analysis of institutional settings within which different forms of the practice of law takes place. This structuralist part of the study will focus on the judicial systems and on the institutions of professional self-governance in both countries.

Main areas of research

  • Sociology of law
  • Sociology of professions (esp. legal professions)
  • Sociology of post-socialist societies and transformation research
  • Methodologies of qualitative / reconstructive social research
  • Sociological theories of action and agency
  • Social-scientific studies of public administration & fiscal sociology
  • Social-structure research
  • Stratification and social inequalities

Positions and memberships

Member of the German Sociological Association (DGS) and Polish Sociological Association (PTS)


Rafael Mrowczynski, 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).


In peer-reviewed journals:

Axel Philipps and Rafael Mrowczynski, “Getting more out of interviews: Understanding interviewees’ accounts in relation to their frames of orientation”, Qualitative Research, 19 (2019) Online First; DOI: 10.1177/1468794119867548.

Rafael Mrowczynski, Sabine Kropp and Katharina Bluhm, “Staatskapazität und Verwaltungsreformen in hybriden und autoritären Regimen – am Beispiel der Steuerverwaltung in postsowjetischen Ländern“ [State Capacities and Administrative Reforms in Hybrid and Authoritarian Regimes: the Case of Tax Administrations in Post-Soviet Countries], Politische Vierteljahresschrift, vol. 59, no. 2 (2018): 577-599; DOI: 10.1007/s11615-018-0087-7.

Rafael Mrowczynski, “Lawyering in Transition: Post-Socialist Transformations in Autobiographic Narratives of Polish and Russian Lawyers”, Przegląd Socjologii Jakościowej [Revue of Qualitative Sociology; Poland], vol. XII, no. 2 (2016): 146-166

Rafael Mrowczynski, “Institutional Professionalization of Lawyers in State-Socialism and Post-Socialism: Poland and Russia Compared”, International Journal of the Legal Profession. vol. 23, no. 2 (2016): 157-184.

Rafael Mrowczynski, “Self-Regulation of Legal Professions in State-Socialism: Poland and Russia Compared”, Legal History. Journal of the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History, no. 20 (2012): 170-188.

In edited volumes:

Rafael Mrowczynski, „Juristische Professionen zwischen Einheitsanspruch und Fragmentierungsrealität“ [Legal Professions between Aspirations to Unity and a Fragmented Reality], in: Handbuch Professionssoziologie. Themen, Theorien und Forschungsfelder [Handbook of the Sociology of Professions: Topics, Theories, and Research Fields], edited by Michaela Pfadenhauer and Christiane Schnell (Springer, 2019), digital pre-print:

Rafael Mrowczynski, „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: Professionen, Eigentum und Staat. Europäische Entwicklungen im Vergleich – 19. und 20. Jahrhundert [Professions, Property, and State. European Developments Compared – 19th and 20th Century], edited by Dietmar Müller and Hannes Siegrist (Göttingen: Wallstein Verlag, 2014), 133-166.


review of Andreas Witzel and Herwig Reiter, The Problem-centered Interview, in: Laboratorium. Russian Review of Social Research, vol. 5, no. 2 (2013): 226-227.

review of Claudia Althaus, Erfahrung denken. Hannah Arendts Weg von der Zeitgeschichte zur politischen Theorie, in: Tel Aviver Jahrbuch für deutsche Geschichte 2003, edited by Institut für Deutsche Geschichte Universität Tel Aviv (Göttingen, 2003): 411-417.