Driving inspiration from classic sociology, this paper try to sketch a new way to think to
social distance in contemporary society. A key role in defining and understanding social distance
is played by Simmel’s thought ad exposed in Sociology where he considers social distance
as a process deeply embedded in the social production of knowledge. It is in facts by means of
social knowledge that we give sense and organize the physical space, so that it is always a social
space as well. At the same time, social space shapes the way in which actors interact and relate
to each other, leading the social construction of the cathegories by which they perceive other
people as distant or near. So, through Simmel’s cathegories, we can describe urban space as the
dynamic overalpping of two maps – physical and social – and we can understand transition
from traditional, modern, european town to contemporary metropolis as a change in this overlapping
that in the town was full and that, in contemporary metropolis is more problematic and
The essay discusses the problem of operationally defining the concept of social distance.
Specifically, on the basis of existing literature, attention is paid to the possibility of empirical
data collection with regard to a peculiar dimension of social distance: subjects’ perception, i.e.
the ways through which individuals recognize social distance in their social relations. The
research process which is presented starts from an exploratory phase, where semi-structured
interviews have been used. In a second phase, data collected have been transformed into a substantial
number of categories that were later tested in order to make them part of a perceived
social distance scale (PSDS).
This paper is based on research into secondhand clothing undertaken during the 1990s. It
also contains observations from research in progress that the author has conducted in Zambia
since 2001 on youth and urban social reproduction. The widespread use all over the world today of Western-inspired dress does not produce «sameness», even though we all wear many
of the same things, for example, jeans and sneakers, shirts and dresses, and suits and ties. Cities
like Lusaka are the prime stages for globalization’s translation into local understandings and
experiences. Monitoring the way they dress in public, clothing conscious Zambians pay considerable
attention to the possibilities of their garments when dressing in world/global styles, seeking
to anticipate their desired effects. In this affecting experience of dress, the distinction
between used clothing and fashion becomes irrelevant as does the problematic differentiation
between Western and non-Western dress styles. In spite of the aggressive forces that structure
the global circuit of garment production and along with it, the international secondhand clothing
trade, there does exist spaces within which locally authored dress distinctions may take over.
The aim of these paper is to analyze the role of Natural Sciences Nobel-prize winner in
public communication of science. Using the sociological works on the position of Nobel-prize
in the rewarding system of science, the image of scientists and their function in public communication
of science, these paper analyses how the scientific symbolic capital of Nobel-prize winner
is employed outside the scientific field, particularly, in popularization and science news.
Analysing journal articles on two important newspapers («Corriere della Sera» and «The
Times»), the paper shows that the role of Nobel-prize winners is that of (scientific) authority
argument, which legitimize (or de-legitimize) the scientific statements expressed in the articles.
The article examines the approaches of «mobile theorizing» developed by contemporary
sociologists, among whom John Urry’s contribution is extremely relevant. According to the contemporary
sociological debate, a rich definition of mobility is provided, one which covers not
only the global and local mobility of travelling peoples, but the multiple intersecting mobilities
of peoples, objects, information, images, risks and diseases, and the virtual and imaginative
mobilities which reconfigure «the social as mobility». The implications of this mobility turn for
the social sciences, their objects of study and methods, are examined through the reconceptualization
of central keywords of the sociological discourse, such as society, place, culture and
home. An insight on the convergence between travel and communication, and on media as multipliers
of mobility is also given, supported by the findings provided by recent empirical