In 1968 he graduated from the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Iasi, Romania with a master's degree in Philosophy. Between 1968 and 1990 he worked as a researcher at the Research Centre on Youth in Bucharest, Romania. In 1980, he earned a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Bucharest.
He was a Visiting Scholar at Boston University, USA and Berkeley University, USA. (February–May 1981). He has presented papers at international scientific congresses and conferences organized in Romania, France, England, China, Denmark, Israel, Germany, Italy, Russia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Cuba, Belgium. He is member of European Sociological Association and International Sociological Association. Dean and Founder of the Political Sciences Department at Dimitrie Cantemir University in Bucharest. Between 1990 and 1994 he was part of the Government of Romania as General Director in Ministry of Culture, Bucharest. Schifirneţ is Professor of Sociology at the National School of Administration and Political Science of Bucharest, Romania. In 2007, he was awarded the Romanian Academy Prize for his work C. Rãdulescu-Motru. His Life and Activities. His scientific interests are sociology and anthropology, Romanian philosophy and sociology, modernisation, sociology of age and generations, communication. He has coordinated „Ethnos”' collection of Albatros Printing House. He has republished 30 titles of Romanian works - a lot of them for the first time since first edition
He has contribution in modernisation and development sociology, in age and generations sociology, in the study of Romanian thinkers, and especially Constantin Rădulescu-Motru. For instance, he has examined the outlook of Rădulescu-Motru about philosophy of Kant.
Schifirneţ is one of the first Romanian researchers who have scientifically researched the topic of mass media and brought a valuable contribution to the development of this subject in the Romanian research literature before 1989. Since 1968, he has conducted several academic studies on the impact of mass communication on public opinion formation. Schifirneţ has coordinated in 1969, empirical research 'Opinions of students', first sociological research in Romania on a national sample. A summary of the findings of this research was published in the volume 'Student and Society' (coordinators F. Mahler, A. Mihu, C. Schifirnet), 1973. In 1971, together with Ovidiu Bădina, he coordinated the volume Youth and Mass Media.
In his book, “Generaţie şi cultură” (Generation and Culture, 1985), Schifirneţ defined culture through a series of antagonist categories such as: classic culture - modern culture, traditional culture - mass media culture, and generation culture - global culture. He identified the interferences between different levels of culture and also the multiple relationships between the cultural behavior of a social group and various types of culture. His approach on the term of generation allowed him to develop the sociology of age and generations that was lacking from the Romanian sociological literature of that time. In his works, he demonstrated the existence of a conflict between generations in the socialist society. His scientific studies on subculture and counterculture (1981, 1985) were the first in the Romanian sociology to approach these two notions. During those years, these concepts were rejected by the Romanian sociologists because of their bourgeois belongings and were considered to be irrelevant in the analysis of the communist society. Through the analysis of the works of major Romanian thinkers, he succeeds in updating relevant concepts related to the term of nation such as: ethnic identity and agents of modernization in the Romanian society. He elaborated a monograph of the “forms without substance” theory.
Schifirneţ has studied historical particularities the modern evolution of Romanians. The modernisation has begun with political institutional construction and not with the building of capitalist economy. The Romanian modernization was against boyars and social traditional structures. But a lot of traditional elements had outlived the new capitalist political-juridical organism from Romanian society. Romania is still a country which faced a late modernization; in the same time it has got many elements of modernity which fail to coagulate stable modern structures in all departments of society. Schifirneţ launched and developed the concept of tendential modernity. This concept explains the role of modernity for building political and legal institutional framework necessary to develop modern nation in a society with underdeveloped economy. Throughout its history, the Romanian state gave priority to the national construction and the problems related to the economic and social development were postponed or subordinated to the national issue. Tendential modernity describes the evolution of modernization processes within the societies that are only partially functional. Schifirneţ thinks that it is useful to analyze the Romanian modernization processes under the notion of tendential modernity. This means the development in the opposite direction: from the affirmation of national spirit and political construction towards economical development. In Romanian society modernity is a trend, which coexists with obsolete institutional forms and ancient substance. Tendential modernity penetrates slowly and hard through the complicated network of socio-institutional structures of the traditional and patriarchal Romanian society. Since it has no clear dominant form, it is a mosaic modernity. Modernity is the framework and the element which supports the Romanian nation, but not by means of economical way, as a basis of a national state. Modernity is a tendency, an ideal in the construction of a nation.
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