Present globalization processes seem to bring along them new modes and levels of commodification
of welfare services and policies. Sociological researches show how and to what
extent welfare practices and interventions are more and more treated as market commodities
instead of being conceived as provisions sensitive to the social and human dimensions of people’s
needs. The Author’s thesis is that such a trend is not only due to the neocapitalist character
of globalization, but more properly to the ‘lib-lab configurations’ of welfare regimes.
These configurations, as different as they may be, are producing the widespreading commodification
of welfare, much more than avoiding it. The theory of reflexive modernization does
not grasp the issues at stake. In order to understand how advanced societies can (and as a
matter of fact) produce the decommodification of welfare provisions, we need to resort to a
relational analysis and evaluation of social policies combined with a more sophisticated theory
of social reflexivity. The decommodification of welfare is actually brought about by social
practices sustained by what Donati calls ‘reflexive relationality’. We can observe it at work in
those social spheres that Donati calls ‘social private’ and third sector organizations, as actors
of a new civil society.
In most of Western countries, leisure studies have a rather consolidated tradition.
Although still considered somehow marginal, this area of study has collected a number of
researches and theoretical reflections that are both quantitatively and qualitatively significant.
In Italy instead, even if some studies have been conducted, especially in the last thirty years,
research appears quite fragmentary. This study intends to focus either on the relevance of
leisure time as an object of study for sociologists or on the results leisure studies have
attained so far. In particular, looking at the current literature, I shall focus on the different
meanings of leisure as well as on the sociological aspects of this important «finite province of
meaning». The study ends with a reflection on the characteristics of leisure in contemporary
For many years violence was neglected by sociology. Still today there is not enough awareness
of the fact that violence can be a social force. An instrumental conception of violence exists in
sociology which we have inherited from the classic authors. Side by side with this we must formulate
another conception which will be called modernist, according to which violence is a social
force loaded with meaning and endowed with a capacity to give structure (i.e., boundaries, a
hierarchy, a sense of belonging) to a group. An essential point of the study of collective violence
is that these two notions have to be used together. The events we have to explain are the result of
their interplay. The paper attempts: 1) to recall the instrumental notion of violence; 2) to compare
the two conceptions cited above 3) to elaborate on the notion of modernist violence and
its crucial elements: connection between reason and emotion, invention of an enemy, the body
of the victim transformed into matter to be shaped. The paper gives a number of empirical
examples such as the genocides of the second part of the twentieth century, nationalist ethnic
cleansing, and mass rape in Bosnia. It also discusses violence against women in Italy from the
standpoint of this new perspective.
Festive time has many significant meanings in European traditions: the observation of the
cosmos and of cycle of human life, the need for identity and the renewal of the social pact
among living individuals. Festive time is therefore a traditional institution in which the community
periodically celebrates its desire of unity and happiness.