A key point in the researches on institutions is the place they have in the social system.
Especially sociology wonders which institutional shape is emerging in the contemporary society.
This paper looks through the meaning of ‘institution’, and then the social evolution of institutions,
by underlining the contributions of sociology, law and economics. State and society are
part of a complex link, in which State plays a subordinate role.
On the basis of relational sociology a new paradigm personalizzante (?) of social institutions is outlined here: it links the reformulation of AGIL and M.S. Archer’s erergenziale (?) paradigm asserting that the person emerges in the interaction with social institutions that precedes and exceeds. In the actual new globalized context, the comprehension of the relation between the human person and the institutions passes through a change of the classical model of socialisation.
Through the fundamental concepts of habitus and reflexivity, the author analyses both the
heuristic role and the limits of Margaret Archer’s work for the maturation of present sociological
theory and for the change of the way in which the sociology studies the institution. In fact,
the relative dependence between the reflexivity of the internal conversation and the reflexivity
of the structures lets the sociologist choice between an “institutional” perspective and a theoretically
autonomous and specifically scientific perspective.
Through the analysis of sociological thought of Durkheim, Weber and Spencer, the author
focuses on the complexity and dramatic element of the modern institutional process, which has
these characteristics in the phase whether of institutionalisation or of de-institutionalisation. So
this suffering process, which has its last meaning in the value, can not be reduce in its explanation
in analytic schemes which have a mechanistic nature.
Economic and social changes and common values shift involve a parallel change of institutional
structures. But institutions are often very hard to change. This difficulty can be remarked
by analysing three topics: first of all, the subsidiarity principle and local agencies in the
European governance; then, political power and public administration in Italy; finally, the relationship
between European parliament and political parties.
The historical events which marked the last decades process toward an effective European
Union give many suggestions to understand the role of the institutions in order to build a large
integration among political and social actors, their interests and cultures, i.e. three conditions so
that european identity may be acknowledged. The identity acknowledgement arises from a permanent
negotiation among many social actors, in the same time it assures the legitimation to the
institutions themselves. The theoretical and practical issues connected to this circular process
are examined in relation with a specific Preambulum devoted to a solemn definition of cultural
and religious origins of Europe. The insuccessfull acknoledgement of the cristian root of
Europe is considered as a symbolic question which reveals deeper dilemmas in the present
European theoretical debate on identity, pluralism, multiculturalism, tolerance. This symbolic
question is re-examined throught the idea of civil religion, communitarism, multiculturalism,
suggesting the need of new intercultural approaches. Finally, the attitudes toward the so called
“Social Europe” are considered, in order to verify how some political and economical goals – as
development and equity – may help the construction of the european identity.
Based on data of eurobarometer and of a research on the noticiability of the European
Union in Italy and France, the author delineates an interpretation of the change of attitude of
the European citizens towards the Union. The process of European unification, that initially
enjoyed a wide consent of opinion, but a content of surface, has become more problematic
because of increasing evidence of difficulties and contrasts of interest. In order to exceed such
situation the author proposes a deliberative democracy, that uses all the shapes of communication
and consultation of the public, in order to activate it and put it in a position to expressing
itself on controversial and shared problems.