Sophia Review
year V, n. 1, January-June 2013


CALLEBAUT, Bernhard. Chiara Lubich e la sua eredità nelle Scienze Sociali. Stimoli Sociologici Trentini

Today Chiara Lubich (1920-2008) is remembered not only for her mystical writings or for the spirituality and Movement to which she gave rise. Bernhard Callebaut wishes to mention four fields within which his research program will develop: first the contemporary religious movements, especially from the point of view of the sociology of ecumenism and interreligious activities. In the second place he wants in dialogue with the sociology of cultural processes to deepen the complex reception of trinitarian thought in the churches throughout their history, and its impact on the social organization of the polis. A third field of interest is that of gender studies and the issue of reciprocity in the man-woman relationship in the light of life and action of Chiara Lubich. At length, as the fourth field of inquiry, Callebaut studies the link between the process of functional differentiation, i.e. the complexification of our society and the thoughts Lubich developed on a lifestyle inspired by an evangelical way of living, so to say the task of conducting a balanced way of living personally, socially and even on geopolitical level. A vision that does not admit hegemonies and exploitation of the other, but favors a kind of reciprocal (Luhmann) between economy and family, free time, religion, politics, media and social justice, arts and social relationships, health and environment.


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COLASANTO, Michele. Agape e Scienze Sociali: frammenti di analisi

The theme of love is not foreign, as is well-known, to the sociological tradition, from Sorokin, whose work will be discussed, to Simmel. It is therefore worth asking whether this theme still has explanatory power at least in terms of specific as agape or – better – agapic action, especially in a context that ever more sets this theme aside?
Michele Colasanto, who has had a long career teaching sociology, reflects on the plausibility of the concept of agapic action as it appears in the legacy of Achille Ardigò and his concept of civil society, and illustrates how agape can be confirmed as a perspective capable of interpreting society in its global dimensions and in all its complexity. He also considers how this might be transformed into political, social and moral codes.


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ABRUZZESE, Salvatore. Secolarizzazione e movimenti religiosi

The rise of new ecclesial movements represents something new that changes the scenario of modern society. Secularization, traditionally at the centre of sociological analysis, ceases to be the only possible interpretation of the religious situation in our contemporary society, and – at the same time – the religious dimension ceases to be reducible to the mere outcome of the processes of social conditioning and a simple reaction to the hardships of life. In the light of such reductive visions, the explanation of ecclesial movements was almost always reduced to an analysis of the organizational forms and institutional strategies. Nowhere was brought interest to the reasons of belief and joining, as they have never been taken into account the explicit reasons that founded the movement. This has resulted in a clear underestimation of the figures of the founders and their specific charisms. In fact, precisely in the context of a secularized society, it is impossible to understand the dynamics of membership and affiliation if no reference is made to both the explicit intentions of the movement, as to the role of those who founded and inspired them.


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IORIO, Gennaro. L'origine dell'Occidente e l'Agape. Appunti per un progetto di ricerca di Sociologia storica

The paper proposed an outline for a research project sociological origins of the West and the crisis that is living in modern times. This work, too broad in scope, for the space of an article and the level of knowledge, using Szakolczai’s research and interpretative scheme on the sociology of grace. In particular, in the essay is reinterpreted the concept of grace as a fulcrum for the historical and comparative analysis. This concept is analyzed, from our point of view, as love-agape.


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VECCHIATO, Tiziano. Riconciliare pensiero e azione in una società capace di rinnovarsi

For Chiara Lubich sociology can promote a new humanity. But, in order to accept this challenge, sociology has to become a “more social” science, able to find new solutions for community living. This means not only to build knowledge about the society, but also to search for new ways to live inside the society. This is an effort that other sciences made in the last century, offering new perspectives to their thinking, towards possible worlds. Social environment can generate a new humanity, with less conflicts and more able to create love and agapic action, sharing their vital roots. It is not enough to observe and to explain: it must become care and love that generate and improve capacities and strengths . As the night and the dawn prepare new life every day, also thought and action have to do the same inside a society that is more capable of renovate itself. Is not a vain desire but it is a necessary effort to prevent the drift of self-referring, that does not represent a new humanization.


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PAGLIONE, Maria Licia. Per un dialogo tra dono e amore. Alcuni spunti da un'intuizione di natura meta-sociologica

This paper follows the intuition that “gift” and “love”, in the social dimensions and dynamics through which they manifest themselves, are co-involved. It offers a comparative analysis – on the one hand – of the sociological thought concerning “gift”, developed by scholars of the Mouvement Anti-utilitariste das Sciences Sociales (MAUSS) – especially A. Caillé (1998, 2008) and J. T. Godbout (1998, 2002, 2008) – and – on the other hand – of the thought of the Russian sociologist P. A. Sorokin (2005) on “altruistic creative love”. The paper aims at highlighting how dialogue between these concepts allows us to discover their common “essential core” and proposes this as a theoretically useful element in view of a deeper understanding of the generative dynamics of social bonds.


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DI NICOLA, Giulia Paola. Chiara Lubich, Sociologia e genere

The article deals with the social influence of the Focolare Movement with regard to relations between men and women, taking the dynamisms of feminist movements into account. 

It stresses the determination of Chiara Lubich in defending its founding charism in a period when women were under constant male protection, to the point that the statutes of the Movement guarantee that the presidency will always be entrusted to a woman.

Equally important is the diarchy, namely the presence of two directors, a man and a woman, in every expression of the Movement, that is a “two-voice” representation, which complies with John Paul II’s anthropological “uni-duality”. Sisterhood, as an alternative to the genealogical chain “from father to son ...”, wishes a “sisterhood” that the Focolare Movement brings about through the foundation of little communities of women with authority, dignity, and the ability to publicly interpret their own stories.

Regarding some important cultural aspects, the article highlights some revolutionary aspects of the charism of the Focolare Movement such as: love at the centre of interpersonal relations and activities, the laity as protagonists, “conversion” of masculinity and femininity, a prudent diffidence in defining male and female, conforming to what the author calls a “learned ignorance”.


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ALNET, Virginie. Chiara Lubich: la donna, l'utopista

Despite the controversies aroused by the concept of “utopia”, we have considered that, as a potentially valid analytic tool, its application in the field of sociology could be heuristically fruitful. Appearing as a performative concept connected with individual and collective beliefs, “utopia”, freed from its negative and contradictory connotations, can be considered, in a generic way, as the hope - that sometimes becomes reality - of seeing the rise of different institutions and societies. After a brief attempt of definition, the idea of “utopia” is applied to Chiara Lubich’s activities in religious and civil fields. In fact, if  in the religious sphere the work of Chiara Lubich has reformative effects, it has consequences on the world too, insofar as it leads to a “double utopia” that considers the potential involvement of the whole humanity.


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PELLEGRINI, Giuseppe. Tecnoscienza, democrazia deliberativa e relazionalità

Techno-scientific innovations with an impact on the lives of citizens are increasingly at the centre of strong debate. In this essay I intend to reflect on the relationship between science, technology and society, highlighting the mutual influences and effects on individuals. An examination should be given of the ways in which science and technology are co-produced by the adoption of regulations and procedures for use following the perspective of the social studies of science and technology (STS). The pervasive influence of science and technology requires a reflection on the role of political actors, decision-making processes and social order. To address these issues, and related controversies, I propose an analysis of the challenges posed by technoscience taking into consideration relevant dimensions of Chiara Lubich thought such as the Trinitarian relationship and the figure of the abandoned, to identify new forms of dialogue and participation.


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CATALDI, Silvia. Per un disegno di ricerca partecipativo agapico

The goal of the article aims to improve the reflexivity of the researchers in designing social studies, asking them two essential questions: what kind of relationship develops between the researcher and the social actor? And what kind of ethical impact has the participation required from the social actor? 

To answer these questions the article opens with a brief overview of how the relationship between researcher and object of study has been analysed in epistemological and sociological studies. A particular focus is dedicated to the critical perspectives of the Sixties and Seventies.

Considering in particular these, the core of the paper consists in suggesting a new research participation model based on agapic acting. The effects of this ideal type are explored by rediscovering all the practices that include a particular attention and a specific involvement of the social actor in the research process.


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MALIŠA, Jelena. Il rapporto educativo come "rapporto trinitario". Linee pedagogiche nella luce del carisma dell'unità

The current crisis in the experience of authority and of positive models in which personal freedom can be exercised threatens the very possibility of educational relationships, as children and adolescents are left without figures capable of accompanying them in their growth. The human experience of Jesus can represent a point of departure capable of illuminating this situation. Jesus, is the Son who understands himself in relationship with the Father, in an asymmetrical relationship in which the equality of nature of the Two is manifest. The Father, on the other hand, does not suffocate the human freedom of the Son and doesn’t spare him the experience of suffering and darkness, to the point that the cry of forsakenness of Jesus on the cross marks the definitive accomplishment of his sonship and the revelation of the paternity of the Father, while the “Third” who is the Holy Spirit, expressed the reciprocal openness of the Father and the Son to and in the Other. Basing itself on the “trinitarian paradigm” the important speech of Chiara Lubich from 2001 on the occasion of the inauguration of the Higher Institute of Culture (ISC) can offer a significant contribution for a renewal of educative relationships.


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ZATLOUKAL, Stanislav. Uguaglianza, differenza e femminilità in Edith Stein

After a brief survey of some passages in which the Scripture and classic authors of the Christian tradition deal with the theme of the relationship between men and women, the author addresses the use that E. Stein makes of the category of “double species” in order to illustrate the equality and difference between men and women. Her treatment of the specificity of the woman is controversial, and linked to an anthropology that is not yet fully illuminated by a trinitarian comprehension of God. If, on the one hand, the category of “reciprocity” is absent from Stein’s reflection, her “anthropology of gift”, on the other hand, if it is referred both to men and women, contains precious potential in view of a trinitarian opening of the understanding of each human being.


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