Questo fascicolo doppio e monografico di Studi di Sociologia ha lo scopo di rendere conto della ricchezza di pensiero sviluppatasi intorno al Convegno nazionale “Quale coesione sociale? Persone, generazioni, ecologie”, tenutosi a Milano in Università Cattolica il 15 novembre 2012 in occasione delle manifestazioni per il Cinquantesimo anniversario della rivista Studi di Sociologia. Così come negli anni la rivista si è impegnata a registrare, fotografare e analizzare in maniera rigorosa – sia a livello teorico sia metodologico – oltre che pluralistica e dialogica le principali trasformazioni socio-culturali che hanno investito la società, in occasione di questo importante anniversario si è scelto di mettere a tema una questione cruciale come quella della coesione sociale, sfida e problema della contemporaneità.
Il fascicolo è suddiviso in tre sezioni: nella prima viene proposto un inquadramento teorico e storico del tema della coesione sociale; la seconda è dedicata alla restituzione di alcuni papers presentati nelle sessioni tematiche del convegno; la terza infine è dedicata ad una ricognizione della letteratura internazionale tanto sul concetto quanto sulle ricerche in tema di coesione sociale.
The paper presents a short history of the «Studi di Sociologia» journal, remembering its orientation and main representatives over the years. Then it introduces the concept of social cohesion, main topic of the conference, by touching some of the key aspects of the ongoing debates regarding it, such as the lack of a convergent definition on a theoretical level, and of a clear operationalization on the empirical level. Furthermore, it explores the connections between the ever weaker social cohesion in our societies and other contemporary social phenomena such as the rise of narcissism, neo-tribalism and fragmentation.
The author addresses the subject of memory, which is shared by Sociology and History, and points out some of its remarkable functions, namely: the establishment of truth through time, the recognition, on the other hand, of what did not happen in time, and the capability to make the past «living». The article examines the case of a leading Italian sociological journal, which was founded in 1963 with the Università Cattolica of Milano and celebrated in 2013 its fiftieth anniversary. This case offers to the author the opportunity to hint at the development of Italian social problems and sociological issues during half century, in so far they have been covered by about a thousand articles totalling some twenty thousand pages of «Studi di sociologia» from 1963 to 2013.
Key words: memory, history, italian sociology, sociological journals.
Why do human societies remain united and do not dissolve into a fine dust of individuals and small groups? What factors create social cohesion beyond our more proximate social relations? Guido Gili critically examines some of the most important responses that sociology has given to this fundamental problem: sharing the core values of society; participation in a common horizon of meaning; reciprocity of interests; envy in social life; trust in usual appearances of others. Second, the essay shows that each of these responses assigns to the media a very significant role. Finally, it highlights some events and processes that weaken or strengthen these factors of social cohesion in Italian society today.
This paper deals with social cohesion as a key to the understanding of the changes taking place in welfare policies in developed countries. Social cohesion, in this perspective, is a necessary condition for developing new policies and further cohesion. Within this framework, social partnerships represent a working model of how innovative policies can become truly dynamic and successful in engendering local resources.
Empirical analysis concerning the popular explanations of poverty are a little known field of research. The article analyzes this topic, considering these attitudes as predictors of the degree of legitimation/delegitimation of social inequalities, associated with specific social welfare programs aimed at social cohesion. Such attitudes are investigated in a comparative perspective into a group of European countries representing different welfare models, using data from the European Values Survey (EVS). The article checks the influences of specific «culture of welfare» on the attitudes toward poverty using a set of variables who investigate the conceptions of social cohesion in the sense proposed by Bernard, that is the cultural conceptions that emphasize the dimensions of freedom, equality and solidarity as specific elements that welfare should be alternatively based in its variants.
The hypothesis formulated in this paper concerns the possibility that the intra-generational violence has taken the place of the inter-generational conflict among young and adults In other words, the violence is not a mode of interpersonal behavior, but the substrate, the basis on which articulates a complex set of interdependencies and cross-actions and reactions between peers. It therefore follows a pattern of deviant cohesion, which allows us to state that: 1. the violence erupts without conflict or after excluding any possibility of conflict and subsequent mediation and negotiation among the actors are involved in the relation indeed; 2. the violence has become the only glue between guys who voluntarily assume the role of perpetrators, victims and spectators, when any other possible communication strategies, conducted for the mutual recognition of their identity are failed.
In the context of a widespread recovery of attention to the family, family associationism is gaining increasing importance. There is in fact growing awareness that the general crisis of the welfare system and the fraying of social bonds, which makes cohesion within the community of life difficult, have to do with the inability to support the family and its code of solidarity. Family associations respond specifically to the need to find alternative ways to produce social cohesion. This paper deals with the theme of the «family identity» of this form of associationism, as well as the relevance of family associations in relation to another central sociological theme today: social capital, which is the fulcrum around which society builds its cohesion.
The urge of ecological issues forces to question radically the resources access and share models, putting under scrutiny the very right of human communities for such exploitation. A transition toward an «ecological State» implies the acceptance of a limitation of the growth of humanity as species; a choice carrying enormous cultural consequences, changing the sense of belonging to a social group, till now considered as established on the presence of an advantage of the consociation respect to a pre-social status. The features of the «ecological state» risk to be far from a human sustainability, separating excessively State and individual purposes, weakening the solidarity tie. The formulation of instruments based on elements from classical reflection on the reasons on human consociation, ecological theories and some proposals on the design of new development scenarios, could allow an effective analysis of the challenges posed by ecological emergencies to social systems.
The contemporary Western society is experiencing the loss of adherence of some cultural paradigms, about individualism, man-environment relationship and exclusivity of cultures. There is therefore need to reflect on three issues. First, the issue of interculturality, as a chance to enrich the interpretation of reality with other cultural perspectives. Second, the question of the commons, as an alternative to public-private duality. Finally, the issue of sustainability in all its aspects.
The article discusses and criticizes a diffused narrative about «digital global generation», represented as characterized by the use of Internet and mobile devices and described as being very similar to that of the protagonists of social movements of the 1960s. On one hand, a more complex definition of the generation and its connections with mediascapes is proposed; on the other hand, the emphasis on the gap between old and new generations is discussed on the background of intergenerational relations.
As there is no convergence between scholars regarding the definition of social cohesion, it is also difficult to translate it empirically. Some approaches tried to explore how social cohesion is produced, but they mostly worked with small groups (descriptive approach). Others, much more numerous, have defined social cohesion beforehand, on the basis of already formulated policy priorities (prescriptive approach). The latter approach leads to a multiplication of factorial models, in which various antecedents and consequences melt together, without the possibility of exploring the causal relationships between them. Another issue analyzed regards the level of the measurement of social cohesion, discussing about the relative relevance of individual-level measurements, as compared to larger-scale data collection. To conclude, more in-depth exploration of how social cohesion actually occurs is necessary, along with a clarification of overlapping factors that constitute the empirical construct.
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