Niklas Luhmann, Alberto Cevolini

Comunicazione ecologica

Può la società moderna affrontare le minacce ecologiche?

La comunicazione è uno strumento chiave per cercare di reagire ai problemi ambientali che la società ha prodotto. La comunicazione ecologica può svilupparsi soltanto a partire dai più importanti sistemi di funzione, come la politica, il diritto, l’economia, la scienza, l’educazione, la religione – oppure sotto forma di protesta contro questi sistemi. In entrambi i casi il rischio è duplice: si può produrre una risonanza insufficiente oppure una risonanza eccessiva.

cod. 1970.6

Alberto Cevolini

Insurance as a business of imagination


Fascicolo: 2 / 2019

Despite the fact that insurance is a ubiquitous core institution of modern society, a sociological theory of insurance does not yet exist. This article aims at suggesting some hypotheses which can help filling the gap. Insurance has been pertinently defined as "the archetype of modernist governance of the future". Consequently, a sociological research on insurance institution should answer three preliminary questions: First, when we talk about the future, what are we actually talking about? Second, how is it possible to govern the future in the present? Finally, what is the modernity of this modernist governance of the future, and why does insurance represent its archetype? Moving from a comparison between prudence and providence, it is suggested that insurance turns uncertainty into possibilities. In this way, the decision-maker who takes out insurance can plan for the planningness of the future - that is, whatever happens, he relies on an open future. This article suggests, eventually, that the theory of evolution is conceptually well equipped to explain why an institution that at the beginning (that is, in the late Middle Ages) was regarded as a form of deviation has become normal over time.

Alberto Cevolini

What is new in fake news? The disinhibition of dissent in a hyperconnected society


Fascicolo: 3 / 2018

Fake news entered quite impetuously in our daily lives, causing much concern. However, scientific research on this social issue is still rather lacking. This article offers a contribution to research starting from a strictly sociological approach. First of all, it is shown that the phenomenon of fake news is an old and new phenomenon at the same time, even if to understand this phenomenon we do not need a new concept of fake news but a new media theory. The issue of fake news is then detached from two very commonly held misunderstandings: that in order to defend oneself from this type of news it is necessary to distinguish the true from the false, and that the news can be manipulated. The core distinction should be, however, that between information and non-information rather than that between information and misinformation. Even misinformation is informative – not so much on what is reported, as on recipients’ reactions to misinformation. The main hypothesis is that fake news exploit this information to “stage dissent” in the mass media system. Fake news are therefore interpreted as events which trigger a second-order observation starting from a second reality, that produced by the mass media, which does not oblige consensus.