Contributi sociologici sull'innovazione universitaria
di Stefano Chessa, Andrea Vargiu
S. CHESSA - A. VARGIU, University evaluation and institutional changes in Europe.
The paper deals with the theme of university evaluation in the light of institutional changes that
European academies are presently facing. Some key factors of those changes as well as critical elements
concerning them that are to be found in literature are discussed. In the paper, a distinction is
made between macro, meso and micro levels at which changes are taking place. As to the macro
level, the role of the European research and higher education policies is taken into account with a
particular emphasis on the Open Method of Coordination. At the meso level, the main directives of
National policies carried out in the different European member States are presented and discussed
particularly by referring to accountability and autonomy. Whereas what is here defined micro level
is dealt with by briefly discussing the links between the diffusion of new public management, university
governance and evaluation. Following such premises, some proposals are made as to the
ambits and modes of university evaluation that do not appear sufficiently developed.
Key words: Higher education, Research, Europe, Evaluation, Accountability.
di Mauro Palumbo, Carlo Pennisi
M. PALUMBO - C. PENNISI, Reasons for University evalutation: ethical and deontological issues
The necessity of University evaluation derives from ethical and deontological issues, linked
to the autonomy that is a necessary feature of the University, since its foundations.
Nevertheless, it is not «the University» as a whole to be evaluated, but those specific components
and activities, in which the scientific interests of professors must be coherent with the
interests of other stakeholders (students, colleagues, public institutions, society) by clearly
defined rules and objectives. Evaluation is strongly tied to autonomy, by means of the accountability
that every autonomous institutions must warrant. Unfortunately, the recent University
reform law does not propose evaluation as an instrument of accountability and as a tool to
make Universities responsible, but as an instrument of their external control.
Key words: Academic evaluation, Universities evaluation, University reform, Institutional change.
Note e Commenti
di Ivana Acocella
I. ACOCELLA, The Islamic veil and its different meanings.
The debate about the Islamic veil has been present ever since Islam has taken roots in
Western countries and claimed its rights to self-expression and to have its own places for religious
activities in Western cities. Moreover, the use of veil has been associated to the most traditionalist and radical part of the Islamic world, leading to several misunderstandings and transforming
the veil into a very ambiguous object within the European context.
The major objective of this article is to give a different perspective to this issues and to
reveal what is hidden behind the public discourse over the Islamic veil. In fact, different types
of veils exist, and different meanings and values are attributed to them by women and men both
within the Islamic world and in the Western countries. This essay therefore emerges from the
need to shed light on the mystification associated with the veil and to propose alternative viewpoints
able to reduce a somewhat widespread alarmism and to go beyond the common representations
of Islamic women, which deny their identity and autonomy.
Key words: Gender issue, Community membership, Woman oppression.
di Ilaria Beretta
I. BERETTA, Catton and Dunlap: affinities and differences within the context of an all too topical
Within the context of Environmental Sociology, the role is by now generally recognised of
William R. Catton Jr. and Riley E. Dunlap as founding fathers of the subject. Their names are
often jointly cited, above all because of the number of texts written together; and yet the two
authors come from rather dissimilar personal and vocational training backgrounds, and only
in a specific period of their lives did they meet, materially and intellectually, giving life to a
new branch of Sociology and to a unique, original, and innovative sociological paradigm. This
article stems from a desire to satisfy a curiosity of mine inasmuch as, though having been
involved for many years in Environmental Sociology, one day I realised I was not acquainted –
in what is for me a detailed enough way – with the thought of the two different sociologists,
their different personalities, life histories, vocational backgrounds. In particular, I asked
myself about the specificity of the contribution given by each of these authors to the birth of
the subject and to the definition of the New Ecological Paradigm. In this essay then, I have
focused above all on the aspects that seem to me most meaningful in the lives and works of
Catton and Dunlap, while outlining that the inevitable diversity of the two authors is also a
major element of strength and richness of the works they produced together. To put it in the
words of Dunlap himself: «Collaborations can be difficult, frustrating, and disappointing, but
they can also be very rewarding. The best ones reflect the synergy created by two (or more)
colleagues with quite different backgrounds, strengths, and interests coming together and creating
something that neither would have produced on their own. This is definitely the case for
my collaboration with Bill Catton, particularly the early series of articles we wrote in the late
1970s» (Dunlap, 2008).
Key words: Origins of Environmental Sociology; New Ecological Paradigm, Socio-environmental
di Guia Gilardoni
G. GILARDONI, Reasoning on the value of convergence between sociology and history.
In order to better understand social reality phenomena the convergence of more perspectives
should be adopted. Possible convergences between sociology and history are herein represented
by the recall of some factual interconnections and mutual integrations which occurred
and correlations implemented from methodological reasoning. The case study proposed regards
the Freedom Rides, an episode of the Civil Rights Movement during the struggle against segregation.
Racial segregation is first explored at its beginning through historical direct sources and
historiography as a way to re-establish the previous privilege of whites after slavery had been
abolished. It is then observed from a sociological point of view, specifically from the Social Limits to Growth by F. Hirsch. His work, although not directly referring to historical events
and social phenomena considered, has provided an illuminating key of interpretation, revealing
how segregation has functioned as a effective device which partially stemmed the progressive
erosion of the satisfaction connected to consumptions experienced during the economic boom
of the Sixties. This article thus proposes a concrete example of how sociology and history can
usefully converge for a better understanding.
Key words: Sociology, history, racial segregation, social limits to growth.