The attitudes and actions of people towards risk are influenced on the one hand, by their culture, and, on the other, by the indissoluble link with daily life and context. At this moment in time we pay attention not only to the “person” as an entity performing an action, but to the “person” as a “subject” and active part of the social processes. This situation allows for the transition from an approach to the study of social phenomena oriented towards the search for causes (causality) to an approach that focuses on the overall interaction between the individual, social and environment variables (relationality). For what concerns the present paper, starting from Archer's theory of morphogenesis (1995), we will examine risk from the perspective of relational sociology or relational theory of society (Donati), that is, by employing a reading of society that considers social relations as its starting point. The decision to launch a debate on risk in a relational perspective, starting from Archer's theory of morphogenesis, is justified by the fact that the latter was perhaps the first to give a real stimulus – though not immune from criticism – to overcome some ever-present dichotomies in the history of sociology (individualism / holism, structure / agency, micro / macro) which are then further developed in relational sociology. In this way we favour the spaces of social relations within the processes developing in society: those relating to risk are not excluded from this trend, since all social phenomena and the attitudes and actions related to them are built in a setting with its own places, times and symbols, which are essential for the cognitive processes of self-signification activated by the people for constructing social reality in their daily life experience. For this reason, we propose the relational perspective as a key to understand the concept of risk: indeed, social relations do not represent a constraint for the individual, but rather they are the element promoting the self-determination of the subject on the basis of reflexivity. Considering social relations allows us to take into consideration also the vital world and the social system, because the relation should be considered as an emergent phenomenon (generative semantics) of a mutual act (relation) with an autonomous connotation that goes beyond those who implement it, but at the same time it can be connected to referential semantics (refero) as it exists within a framework of symbolic meaning (culture), and to structural semantics (religo) because it is at the same time a resource and a constraint for the social system. If these are the general foundations of the relational theory of society, risk as a descriptive model added to this perspective has some peculiarities, such as that, as a dimension of everyday life, it is a “neutral category” because it is based on that “insecure security” theorized by Bauman in 1999 whose results, either positive or negative, will result from the kind of balance established between “resources and challenges” or, as we claim in this paper, between “goals and means”.

Risk According to the Relational Theory of Society

Mangone, Emiliana
2017

Abstract

The attitudes and actions of people towards risk are influenced on the one hand, by their culture, and, on the other, by the indissoluble link with daily life and context. At this moment in time we pay attention not only to the “person” as an entity performing an action, but to the “person” as a “subject” and active part of the social processes. This situation allows for the transition from an approach to the study of social phenomena oriented towards the search for causes (causality) to an approach that focuses on the overall interaction between the individual, social and environment variables (relationality). For what concerns the present paper, starting from Archer's theory of morphogenesis (1995), we will examine risk from the perspective of relational sociology or relational theory of society (Donati), that is, by employing a reading of society that considers social relations as its starting point. The decision to launch a debate on risk in a relational perspective, starting from Archer's theory of morphogenesis, is justified by the fact that the latter was perhaps the first to give a real stimulus – though not immune from criticism – to overcome some ever-present dichotomies in the history of sociology (individualism / holism, structure / agency, micro / macro) which are then further developed in relational sociology. In this way we favour the spaces of social relations within the processes developing in society: those relating to risk are not excluded from this trend, since all social phenomena and the attitudes and actions related to them are built in a setting with its own places, times and symbols, which are essential for the cognitive processes of self-signification activated by the people for constructing social reality in their daily life experience. For this reason, we propose the relational perspective as a key to understand the concept of risk: indeed, social relations do not represent a constraint for the individual, but rather they are the element promoting the self-determination of the subject on the basis of reflexivity. Considering social relations allows us to take into consideration also the vital world and the social system, because the relation should be considered as an emergent phenomenon (generative semantics) of a mutual act (relation) with an autonomous connotation that goes beyond those who implement it, but at the same time it can be connected to referential semantics (refero) as it exists within a framework of symbolic meaning (culture), and to structural semantics (religo) because it is at the same time a resource and a constraint for the social system. If these are the general foundations of the relational theory of society, risk as a descriptive model added to this perspective has some peculiarities, such as that, as a dimension of everyday life, it is a “neutral category” because it is based on that “insecure security” theorized by Bauman in 1999 whose results, either positive or negative, will result from the kind of balance established between “resources and challenges” or, as we claim in this paper, between “goals and means”.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11386/4702994
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