Using empirical evidence concerning catastrophes I show that the conception of inequalities dominant in social ethics is inadequate, that it misrepresent the reality it pretends to analyze and evaluate. Disaster studies make clear that catastrophes regularly entrench existing inequalities, making the poor and vulnerable poorer and more vulnerable, and the rich richer. In consequence, I argue, the distinction between legitimate and unjustified inequalities disappears. This well established empirical result undermines a central presupposition of major theories of social justice: that in themselves inequalities are morally neutral. Whether “justice as fairness”, “brute luck” or “desert” theories all these approaches to social justice are challenged by the effect of catastrophes on pre-existing inequalities. In a second part, I argue that this properly catastrophic result for theories of social justice is related to the fact that they tend to identify, if not sometimes to conceived inequalities as properties of agents, while they are relational properties rather than properties of isolated individuals.
The low propensity of social workers operating in community service to use the results of scientific studies in their daily work, as well as actively participating in social research, is a criticism of the profession detected in different realities European and international. To respond to this issue, fruitful collaborations between professionals and researchers have been implemented in many contexts, promoting an exchange of knowledge and the implementation of expertise in social work. In Italy, although the discipline has entered the universities for over 20 years, these collaborations have been activated only recently and still appear limited. This study investigated through a questionnaire the opinion of 100 social workers regarding the use of the results of scientific research in professional practice. The results show the first signs of an initial change which needs to be further supported by the development of sector research and the commitment of universities in its promotion.
The contribution intends to present the results of a research – included in the national program “Redesign – frail elderly, intergenerational solidarity and aging friendly communities” – which analyzed the local program of the Zone Plans (ZP) of some territories of our country with the aim of verifying whether and how much the issue of the frailty of the elderly is taken into consideration. After an introduction that focuses on the issue of fragility, as it is addressed by international literature, the contribution proposes the demographic framework of the Italian population and the extent of the phenomenon of population aging, and then focuses on an analysis of the content of the ZP of the municipalities of Milan, Brescia, Abbiategrasso (MI), Verona, Ponte di Piave (TV), Larino (CB), Isernia and Lecce. In particular, through the analysis of four thematic areas present in the ZP (services for the elderly, the aging of the population, the relationship between frailty and elderly life, the role of the caregiver) three ways of understanding frailty was identified, variously declined in the different territories studied: institutional, semi-multidimensional and multidimensional. A strong correlation was observed between the conceptualization of frailty in elderly life and the social offer: more the fragility assumes social, economic and psychological characteristics – in addition to the bio-medical aspects (multidimensional fragility) – more the services promoted by the administrations extend on various fronts by involving in the operational structure not only public actors, but also coming from proximity networks and / or from the private social sector.
The essay examines four identity profiles representing four ways through which a sample of young Italian Americans living in the greater New York City area identify with their Italian heritage. The reflections presented in the paper come from the results of a survey conducted in 2013 designed to gather the opinions, attitudes, behaviors and perceptions of young people about Italian descent and culture. The identity profiles have been related to structural data, socialization, values, ethnic self-identification, the image of Italians and Italian Americans, stereotypes, affiliations, memberships and the future. The analyses conducted made it possible to formulate hypotheses on the dynamics of the ethnic identity of Italian Americans that seem to be modulated through a combination of “knowledge” of different cultural aspects and “attachment” to them.
Intercultural Mediators play a key role within the reception system for refugees and asylum seekers. Although they are required to deal with a well-known humanitarian emergency, their status is still weak and not yet fully formalized. This article is based on the results of a study conducted within the Erasmus + Project ReCULM - Upskilling Cultural Mediators. The contribution starts by presenting the most salient points of the theoretical debate on intercultural mediation in Italy, and then focusses on mediators who work with refugees and asylum seekers. The aim is to analyse the mediators’ role, their identity and their views about the problems and challenges they face in their daily work, and how they facilitate the processes of inclusion of forced migrants. In the conclusions we discuss whether, how and to what extent issues raised in the theoretical debate on mediation can be better specified and addressed by looking at everyday mediation practices.
In order to analyze the representation of migrants in the Italian media, we focused on three months of the main Italian newspaper, Corriere della Sera, selecting all the articles with the keyword «migrants». The content analysis shows that the narrative of the medium describes foreigners 1. as an abstract and depersonalized group, where it is not possible to discover any individuality; 2. as «flows», «quotas» or «abstract problems» described in an «alarmist» way. This alarm is not generated by migrants’ characteristics (ethnicity, religion, values, behavior, features that are infrequent in the articles) but by the numbers related to the phenomenon, always «exaggerated», «record», «emergent». This journalistic representation describes migrants in an abstract and depersonalized way as «emergencies», «problems » and «numbers» and the resultant narrative seems to produce indifference to the phenomenon.
The basic hypothesis of the article «The young people and the re-invention of the social» is that the new generations are the testimony – not necessarily aware – of a process of «re-invention of the social», that is, of a radical transformation of the relationships between individuals and society. We are witnessing a progressive disruption of the traditional boundaries of sub-systems and a subsequent hybridization of means and goals of social action. Individualization reflects in a rarefaction of the collective sphere. Sociability is no longer mainly shaped by the consolidated identification between individuals and groups but follows a flexible and dynamic conformation. We argue that these processes do not weaken but reinforce the dimension of relationality and sociability, placing them at the heart of a new social morphology, where – according to Melucci – social relations produce society through processes of «identization», that is, through dynamics of «identifying actions».
This article presents the process of construction of a sociological instrument for the empirical study of social perception of religious freedom. In doing that, we examine existing theoretical perspectives of religious freedom analysis in social sciences and suggest the conceptualization model, which integrates five dimension of the meaning of religious freedom. We explore the structure of the concept of social perception of religious freedom and discuss its latent dimensions applying the exploratory factor analysis. The results of testing the instrument in Italy (N=1035) support the task to study religious freedom as a multidimensional construct in sociology. We highlight the importance of political and religious identities of respondents for the understanding their perception of religious freedom in society.