V. CESAREO - I. VACCARINI, The proposal of humanist constructionism
Sociological theory in the twentieth century polarized between collectivist doctrines which
asserted social determinism and individualist ones which asserted the autonomous action of
atomistically conceived individuals. The late 1900s also saw the advent of a kind of radical individualism
which can be labelled «sociological minimalism». «Social constructionism» is the
contemporary approach which seeks to reconcile the above polarizations, and it is within its
theoretical domain that lies the proposal for a «humanist constructionism» put forward in this
article. Humanist constructionism sets value on subjectivity and historicity. On this base it thematizes
the person understood as a sociological category, and it crucially refers to the sociology
of Max Weber in so far as it is qualified by the existential and historicist dimensions. The distinctive
feature of humanist constructionism is its axiological profile founded upon the concept
of citizenship. Within contemporary sociology, «humanist constructionism» has a particular
elective affinity with the morphogenetic approach of M. Archer.
Key words: humanism, constructionism, person, citizenship.
T. MARCI, Notes on the idea of «Big Society»
The aim of this paper is to underline the sociological meaning of the political idea of «Big
Society»: an idea that was launched on July 2010 by the Prime Minister David Cameron, leader
of the British Conservative Party.
The genesis of the «Big Society» was the idea, first articulated by Phillip Blond, that the stifling
duopoly of a centralised state and a laissez-faire free market had reached the point of
diminishing returns – and that nothing less than a radical, coherent platform for reinvigorating
civil society would suffice. In this way, the aim was to create a climate that empowers local people
and communities, building a «Big Society» that will take power away from politicians and
give it to people.
This is a bottom-up vision, not a government program dictated from the state to citizens.
«Big Society» is about a cultural change where people don’t always turn to officials, local
authorities or central government for answers to the problems they face but instead feel both
free and powerful enough to help themselves and their own communities.
The paper propose a critical point of view about these problems.
Key words: big society, civil society, social enterprises, communities, citizenship.
F. INTROINI, Re-opening complexity. Notes for a socio-anthropological reframing
Globalization and its emphasis upon a world society and a world global order in which
processes and actors connect in non-linear ways has re-awaken sociology’s social interest for
complexity as if complexity itself could be a sort of «new paradigm» able to put social sciences
in the best condition to deal with contemporary social world and its apparent non-intellegibility.
This contribution aims to sketch a historical pathway in the field of complexity to show how
– altought there exists a specifc language and a particular categorical apparatus that seems to
legitimate the idea of a «science of complexity» – complexity studies can’t be appropriately
thought of in terms of a coherent and unified paradigm, because this would mean to betray
complexity itself and its profound anthropological implications. This is the suggestive lesson
coming from complexity masters such as Morin, Latour and Urry.
Key words: complexity, science, social sciences epistemology, anthropology, (global) order.
A. MILLEFIORINI, The micro-macro linkage in Max Weber’s Theory of sociological categories
This essay intends to point out the micro-macro linkage in the remarks developed by Max
Weber in the first volume of Economy and Society, where he outlines his Theory of the
Sociological Categories, which gives the title to the volume.
Although the micro-macro linkage wasn’t the author’s declared intention, nevertheless,
reading the text regarding under this specific perspective, some relevant elements appear; they
give a meaningful contribution to the Weber’s sociological theory under this specific aspect too,
and so, as we shall see, under the one of the construction of sense in the societies.
The great merit of Weber’s work is that he has pointed out that the linkage between micro
and macro consists just in the fact that «a right causal interpretation of a concrete acting shows
that the external direction and the [internal] reason are recognized as adherent and, in the same
time, intelligible in a way that it has got meaning in their connection» (Weber 1999a: 11). In
other words, it is necessary an intelligible connection between the «external direction», that is
the meaning and the sense that the action of the subject has for the others, thanks to the macro
elements above which it is based, and the internal reason, namely the interior motivation of the
subject to do that specific action. This is the turning point of the micro-macro linkage Weber
has pointed out, and it represents one of the most relevant aspects of all his social theory.
Finally we propose, on the bases of the reasonings developed in this work, the substitution of
the concept of «objective sense» with that one less rigid of «shared sense» or «evident sense»; it
is more capable to give reason of the presence, in the societies, to a time of participation and
conflict, communicability and uncommunicability, loyalty, defection and protest, movement and
institution, form and life, taxi and cosmos, order and chaos, concordia discors, etc.
Key words: micro-macro, sense, construction of sense, objective sense, subjective sense,