The main aim of these pages is to explore the possibility of crossing two sociological and theoretical approaches: Relational Sociology and some recent addresses of the Critical Theory. Firstly, although the formula “relational sociology” may seem extremely familiar, it is useful to clarify what particular idea of social relation should be involved and assumed in this analytic frame. This clarification is due to the very complex, fragmented and pluralistic scenario of the last thirty years within the Relational sociology debate. Social relations may express different meanings and this characterizes the different approaches as well as different methodologies. According to Simmelian sociology, we assume relations as “forms of social life”. Secondly, a critique of the forms of social life that we intend to resume here is intertwined with some topics of relational sociology and concerns from social philosophy, particularly those emerging from the recent debate on Critical Theory. Rahel Jaeggi, Axel Honneth and Hartmut Rosa have relaunched some interesting investigations on the concept of “good life” in a social sense. From this point of view, I advance that the convergence of these themes with the main themes of relational sociology could be fostered and examined. Finally, the idea of normative reciprocity, which links social and moral issues, is the most hallenging and difficult to explore: even if reciprocity is widely used among relational sociologists, it seems to be indeed an elusive and a “slippery” concept. Exploring and investigating on the normative reciprocity could be a central issue which demonstrates the fundamental convergence mentioned above. It concerns an intrinsically ontological character of social relations which, in order to generate a “good life” between the involved social actors, must always be able to intersect (social) being and (social) ought, in other words interaction and norm.
Following a relational perspective, this research examines models of socio-economic regeneration of small municipalities by observing their flows, connections, and reflexivity on the limits of sustainability. The ‘flow’ articulates the relationship between people and resources that generate traffic in the territories. By ‘connection’ we mean any mode that articulates the relationship between distance and proximity (physical or psychological) consolidating or weakening social ties and inspiring project communities. By ‘limit’ we mean the reflexivity on the sustainability of flows and connections that articulates the circular relationships between the following factors: speed and slowness, large and small, central and peripheral, public and private. Flow, connection, and limit are categories that we could define as meta-semantic and inspire local development practices. Among the 50 cases reviewed, 14 Municipalities were selected and classified into 10 categories. By examining these cases, we will try to understand how flow, connection and limit have been considered.
The Covid-19 pandemic embodied a major contemporary challenge for Orthodox churches. Indeed, they were called to adapt upon to health urgencies and to comply with inedited state regulations. In the article, we focus on the Romanian Orthodox Church and analyze qualitative material collected in two parishes in Bucharest. From the results, it appears the Romanian Orthodox Church nurtured a significant intransigence in dealing with modernity’s issues related to the pandemic context, especially resisting to the temporary closure of places of worship and the organic transposition of health regulations. We study the above processes within the frame of the contentions between the societal authority of religion and that of modern science, while at the same time considering those ones shaped by the state and the notion of nature. In short, this research would like both to shed new light on ancient tensions of Eastern Orthodoxy with modernity and to grasp some dynamic traits of this religion. Beyond the defensive Orthodoxy’s discourses, the examination of its liturgical space revealed a complex social setting marked by negotiations.
The emergency caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has led the Italian government to run the risk of strengthening the still too-widespread welfare regime that delegates to families the answers to social needs, taking for granted their willingness to do so. Through data from the first wave of a longitudinal research project entitled “The family at the time of Covid-19” (N = 2985), it has been possible to highlight a certain disagreement on the capacity of the government to support families effectively during the most critical period of the pandemic in Italy (March-April 2020), despite entrusting them with several crucial tasks and functions. Data show also that to feel supported by the government as a family is closely related to an optimistic vision of the future and the belief in the possibility that families can contribute to social change. This result suggests that participants are geared to a subsidiary welfare regime, in which families, with support from government, play a crucial role as actors of social change.
The article analyzes spatial proximity, understood as the dimension of the city that can influence not only the quality of life of individuals, but also the attractiveness and economic competitiveness of urban systems. The great spread of new digital technologies has changed the way of conceptualizing the city and has led sociologists to believe in the elimination of physical proximity constraints, also due to the progressive fragmentation of public space. Against this background, this article combines theoretical and conceptual perspectives, arguing that, in reality, the digital world has not replaced physical space; rather, we discuss how the former has supplemented the latter, even in those areas of research and technology that initially believed in the advent of a society no longer shaped by geographical distance (Castells 2004, 2014; Webber 1963). The production and transfer of innovation are processes that still today, albeit in a different and non-homogeneous way, express territorial roots and a link with the physical and relational proximity that characterizes the city. Indeed, the city is the place where the circulation of knowledge and skills tends to concentrate, it is a laboratory of experimentation and creativity in which spatial proximity fosters innovative processes.
The processes of social change that have affected Western societies since the 1980s have profoundly transformed the modern idea of the future, leading to what has been called the “crisis of the future”. As a consequence of these transformations, a renewed interest in the study of the future has given rise to much research on the relationship between young people – who, as projected towards adulthood, must necessarily look ahead in time – and the future. This research has shown that the ways in which young people respond to the crisis of the future are very different. This made it necessary to adopt research tools capable of grasping the heterogeneity of young people’s visions of the future. This contribution, which falls within this research field, on the basis of 25 in-depth interviews, aims to reconstruct the different visions of the future of young people through a new conceptual tool: the constellation of the future.