Re-examination of the concept of «informality» is currently receiving renewed attention and interest in the social sciences, particularly in Anglo-Saxon literature, be it economic, political, urban, cultural or symbolic studies. This re-examination is equally relevant to societies of the South and of the North, and possibly even nullifies this North-South dichotomy entirely, as the latter largely stems from the eurocentrism of the social sciences. Key to this re-examination is the fact that it is the States themselves that today produce and instrumentalize informal practices. A corollary to this is the realization that the notion of «informal» is deeply embedded within, and is at the heart of the State and not outside the State as has heretofore been represented. The notion of «informal» carries an epistemological critique of the very foundations of the social sciences of the 20th century, developed in the wake of the rise of the welfare states and the very notion of «modernity», articulated around concepts of equity, redistribution, security, justice, social mobility, and progress among others. Re-examining the «informal» lays bare the fractures in the foundations of the welfare state. It makes it possible to better understand how this political edifice of modernity has been constructed and why, today, it is shaken to its foundations.
The author presents in a succinct way his sociological approach of the «interstices of everyday life» which was launched in the late Nineties. It concerns a considerable range of ordinary experiences of everyday life which are either «in-between» (first level of interstices), «marginal» (second level) or pertaining to «parallel worlds» (third level). One example of the first level is waiting, of the second is represented by gift, of the third by humour. A table sums up about thirty distinct phenomena or experiences which have been studied over the years. The author then remarks that several connections and superpositions exist between interstitial and informal experiences in everyday life: examples such as gift and marginal urban life are discussed in this connection. So, the two approaches maintain different origins, respectively Sociology or Anthropology (interstices) and Economy (informal phenomena), as well as preferred fields of application, but they share a common general aim in that they try to discover latent actors’ attitudes within institutions which can result in unexpected events or new movements.
Why compare Heidegger, Luhmann and Donati? Is it possible to analyse the nature of the «relationship» in order to rethink the concept of the person’s identity in Sociology? To rebuild the identity of the relationship, is it useful to draw a clear distinction between being and the body? In this case, would the distinction be one of «evolving»? But what is meant by the concept of evolving? Is evolving a relationship that separates that which joins, joining that which separates, establishing a connection (religo) between what «is» and what «is not»? Can we thus establish that when the being (as ego), evolution (as time) and difference (as alter), enter into a relationship, give life to the person’s identity? These connected questions are the underpinning for a comparison of Heidegger, Luhmann and Donati. These three authors are among the few thinkers who have dealt with the relationship between identity and difference, analysing them along the following conceptual axes: communication, being, time, technique, contingency and function.
This paper highlights the importance of neighborhood in the city today, with particular attention to collective efficacy. Robert Sampson proposed this concept in order the stress the role of shared expectations and social organization for a «better neighborhood» in terms of quality of services and social control. I show this importance through an alcohol abuse prevention project implemented in San Donato, a northern working-class Bologna neighborhood. First part, I introduce collective efficacy as an indicator of the persistent importance of neighborhood in the city. Second, I provide a brief historical and statistical background of San Donato, as well as a presentation of the prevention project. Third, I present the results of a field work in a neighborhood section where a collaboration between residents and local institutions occurred, and I point out collective efficacy as a good tool to understand what happened.
The ambition of the new technologies is to develop fully aware machines (technological singularity) and to create situations where humans and computers could merge seamlessly, creating totally impenetrable intellectual. In other words, this would create situations where we can see ourselves in the machines and be able to experience the machine in ourselves. In this way it seems that technologies are aimed first of all to the justification and promotion of themselves; however it emerges an ethical space that demands the affirmation of human consciousness beyond the technological sphere. On the basis of these statements, the goal of this work is to consider that an ethic of principles is not readily usable in the dialogue with the current technological strength and indicate, however, the need to develop an ethic that evolves wisely and that is more adaptive to the tumultuous scientific knowledge. In this way we try to point out ethical and scientific directions useful to fill the policy vacuum situations, rebalancing the relationship between human freedom of action and the technological determinism of which man is a leading actor.
Starting from the social investment paradigm, this essay aims to analyze the territorial articulation of educational welfare in Italy and its influence on relative schooling inequalities in higher education attendance. A model of educational welfare that invests more in education provides higher rates of school attendance and lower educational stratification among young people, but this model is not always effective in contrasting relative schooling inequalities. However, the local societies are relevant for the social organization of the matching between demand and offer of education. It can stimulate reflection upon the functions of investment in education. This investment has not only an economic function, but also a wider symbolic function: the value that the local institutional structure attributes to education seems to affect the level of schooling inequalities among social classes.
The research analyzed the correlation that has been established between the interest for wellness and body health and the use of leisure time dedicated to pilates: an isometric-postural body workout, practiced at the gym without tools, and in specialized centers with the Reformer. In Italy pilates find its place in the fitness and rehabilitation environments, without being officially recognized by the National Health System. The research was conducted in the city of Palermo and Milan, with a qualitative methodology: case studies and in-depth interviews. A set of 24 indepth interviews were administered to 4 instructors, 4 managers and 16 practitioners from two specialized centers and two gyms. The research has revealed people attitudes towards health, wellness and their appreciation for the benefits of training whether for its rehabilitative purpose or as a mean to improve performance in competitive sports.
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