Questo fascicolo doppio e monografico di Studi di Sociologia ha lo scopo di rendere conto della ricchezza di pensiero sviluppatasi intorno al Convegno nazionale “Quale coesione sociale? Persone, generazioni, ecologie”, tenutosi a Milano in Università Cattolica il 15 novembre 2012 in occasione delle manifestazioni per il Cinquantesimo anniversario della rivista Studi di Sociologia. Così come negli anni la rivista si è impegnata a registrare, fotografare e analizzare in maniera rigorosa – sia a livello teorico sia metodologico – oltre che pluralistica e dialogica le principali trasformazioni socio-culturali che hanno investito la società, in occasione di questo importante anniversario si è scelto di mettere a tema una questione cruciale come quella della coesione sociale, sfida e problema della contemporaneità.
Il fascicolo è suddiviso in tre sezioni: nella prima viene proposto un inquadramento teorico e storico del tema della coesione sociale; la seconda è dedicata alla restituzione di alcuni papers presentati nelle sessioni tematiche del convegno; la terza infine è dedicata ad una ricognizione della letteratura internazionale tanto sul concetto quanto sulle ricerche in tema di coesione sociale.
Nota delle curatrici
di Cristina Pasqualini, Nicoletta Pavesi
di Vincenzo Cesareo
The paper presents a short history of the «Studi di Sociologia» journal, remembering its
orientation and main representatives over the years. Then it introduces the concept of social
cohesion, main topic of the conference, by touching some of the key aspects of the ongoing debates
regarding it, such as the lack of a convergent definition on a theoretical level, and of a clear
operationalization on the empirical level. Furthermore, it explores the connections between the
ever weaker social cohesion in our societies and other contemporary social phenomena such as
the rise of narcissism, neo-tribalism and fragmentation.
di Giovanni Gasparini
The author addresses the subject of memory, which is shared by Sociology and History, and
points out some of its remarkable functions, namely: the establishment of truth through time, the
recognition, on the other hand, of what did not happen in time, and the capability to make the
The article examines the case of a leading Italian sociological journal, which was founded in
1963 with the Università Cattolica of Milano and celebrated in 2013 its fiftieth anniversary. This
case offers to the author the opportunity to hint at the development of Italian social problems and
sociological issues during half century, in so far they have been covered by about a thousand articles
totalling some twenty thousand pages of «Studi di sociologia» from 1963 to 2013.
Key words: memory, history, italian sociology, sociological journals.
di Guido Gili
Why do human societies remain united and do not dissolve into a fine dust of individuals and
small groups? What factors create social cohesion beyond our more proximate social relations?
Guido Gili critically examines some of the most important responses that sociology has given to
this fundamental problem: sharing the core values of society; participation in a common horizon
of meaning; reciprocity of interests; envy in social life; trust in usual appearances of others.
Second, the essay shows that each of these responses assigns to the media a very significant role. Finally, it highlights some events and processes that weaken or strengthen these factors of social
cohesion in Italian society today.
Contributi dalle sessioni parallele
di Folco Cimagalli
This paper deals with social cohesion as a key to the understanding of the changes taking
place in welfare policies in developed countries. Social cohesion, in this perspective, is a necessary
condition for developing new policies and further cohesion. Within this framework, social
partnerships represent a working model of how innovative policies can become truly dynamic
and successful in engendering local resources.
di Luca Pesenti
Empirical analysis concerning the popular explanations of poverty are a little known field
of research. The article analyzes this topic, considering these attitudes as predictors of the degree
of legitimation/delegitimation of social inequalities, associated with specific social welfare
programs aimed at social cohesion. Such attitudes are investigated in a comparative perspective
into a group of European countries representing different welfare models, using data from the
European Values Survey (EVS). The article checks the influences of specific «culture of welfare»
on the attitudes toward poverty using a set of variables who investigate the conceptions of social
cohesion in the sense proposed by Bernard, that is the cultural conceptions that emphasize the
dimensions of freedom, equality and solidarity as specific elements that welfare should be alternatively
based in its variants.
di Ignazia Bartholini
The hypothesis formulated in this paper concerns the possibility that the intra-generational
violence has taken the place of the inter-generational conflict among young and adults
In other words, the violence is not a mode of interpersonal behavior, but the substrate,
the basis on which articulates a complex set of interdependencies and cross-actions and reactions
between peers. It therefore follows a pattern of deviant cohesion, which allows us to
1. the violence erupts without conflict or after excluding any possibility of conflict and subsequent
mediation and negotiation among the actors are involved in the relation indeed;
2. the violence has become the only glue between guys who voluntarily assume the role of perpetrators,
victims and spectators, when any other possible communication strategies, conducted
for the mutual recognition of their identity are failed.
di Elisabetta Carrà
In the context of a widespread recovery of attention to the family, family associationism is
gaining increasing importance. There is in fact growing awareness that the general crisis of the
welfare system and the fraying of social bonds, which makes cohesion within the community of
life difficult, have to do with the inability to support the family and its code of solidarity. Family
associations respond specifically to the need to find alternative ways to produce social cohesion.
This paper deals with the theme of the «family identity» of this form of associationism, as well as
the relevance of family associations in relation to another central sociological theme today: social
capital, which is the fulcrum around which society builds its cohesion.
di Alessandro Bellafiore
The urge of ecological issues forces to question radically the resources access and share
models, putting under scrutiny the very right of human communities for such exploitation. A
transition toward an «ecological State» implies the acceptance of a limitation of the growth of
humanity as species; a choice carrying enormous cultural consequences, changing the sense of
belonging to a social group, till now considered as established on the presence of an advantage
of the consociation respect to a pre-social status. The features of the «ecological state» risk to be
far from a human sustainability, separating excessively State and individual purposes, weakening
the solidarity tie.
The formulation of instruments based on elements from classical reflection on the reasons on
human consociation, ecological theories and some proposals on the design of new development
scenarios, could allow an effective analysis of the challenges posed by ecological emergencies to
di Valentina Grassi
The contemporary Western society is experiencing the loss of adherence of some cultural
paradigms, about individualism, man-environment relationship and exclusivity of cultures.
There is therefore need to reflect on three issues. First, the issue of interculturality, as a chance
to enrich the interpretation of reality with other cultural perspectives. Second, the question of
the commons, as an alternative to public-private duality. Finally, the issue of sustainability in
all its aspects.
Note e commenti
di Veronica Riniolo
The article discusses and criticizes a diffused narrative about «digital global generation»,
represented as characterized by the use of Internet and mobile devices and described as being very similar to that of the protagonists of social movements of the 1960s. On one hand, a more
complex definition of the generation and its connections with mediascapes is proposed; on the
other hand, the emphasis on the gap between old and new generations is discussed on the background
of intergenerational relations.
di Oana Marcu
As there is no convergence between scholars regarding the definition of social cohesion, it
is also difficult to translate it empirically. Some approaches tried to explore how social cohesion
is produced, but they mostly worked with small groups (descriptive approach). Others, much
more numerous, have defined social cohesion beforehand, on the basis of already formulated
policy priorities (prescriptive approach). The latter approach leads to a multiplication of factorial
models, in which various antecedents and consequences melt together, without the possibility of
exploring the causal relationships between them. Another issue analyzed regards the level of the
measurement of social cohesion, discussing about the relative relevance of individual-level measurements,
as compared to larger-scale data collection. To conclude, more in-depth exploration of
how social cohesion actually occurs is necessary, along with a clarification of overlapping factors
that constitute the empirical construct.