Areas of research

Below is a summary of the main areas of research, key scientific interests and principal sectors of empirical and theoretical analysis currently being worked on by members of the Department of Sociology and Social Research:

  • scope of socio-economic changes;
  • dynamics of migration;
  • business economics and management;
  • human rights and citizenship;
  • families, gender and generations;
  • symbolism and media strategies;
  • nature and dynamics of tourist phenomena;
  • identity and collective culture;
  • multicultural societies and political changes;
  • organisations and society;
  • regulation and social control;
  • local development, social capital and networks;
  • changes to work and the job market;
  • changes to local area and the environment;
  • welfare and social policies;
  • cooperation and human development.

Planned activities for 2018-2020

As in recent years, during the three-year period between 2018 and 2020, the research activities of the Department of Sociology and Social Research will be mainly based around two macro-areas:

  1. empirical analysis of changes currently underway in modern societies, particularly in Italy and Europe, within the context of more general processes of globalisation and social transformation;
  2. developing models and theoretical and methodological tools, which allow those studying social phenomena to analyse, understand and tackle these changes.

 

Within the context of this wider goal, the Department will continue to promote key areas of research and theoretical study, which reflect the most popular scientific interests of its members, who have helped the Department to achieve national prestige. This success is confirmed by the outcomes of the latest Research Quality Assessment (VQR; 2011-2014) and the recent allocation of Department of Excellence funding to the Department.

The main subject areas include: scope of socio-economic changes; dynamics of migration; business economics and management; human rights and citizenship; families, gender and generations; youth; symbolism and media strategies; nature and dynamics of tourist phenomena; identity and collective culture; multicultural societies and political changes; organisations and society; mafia and criminal organisations; regulation and social control; local development, social capital and networks; changes to work and the job market; changes to local areas and the environment; welfare and social policies; cooperation and human development.

Given the diverse body of research interests and subjects, the unifying traits of Department planning for the three-year period between 2018 and 2020 will continue to be:

  • a focus on emerging social phenomena;
  • a rigorous methodological approach to the various techniques of analysis (quantitative surveys, qualitative research, secondary data analysis, text and ethnographic analyses);
  • a focus on the local dimension of the phenomena studied;
  • a cross-discipline vision which enhances all subjects studied in the Department.

 

The availability of additional resources allocated by the Excellence Project (PDE) has enabled the Department to expand its general framework for 2018-20 to include new development prospects. Though not the sole focus of the Department, one of the key measures for the upcoming three-year period will be the PDE’s launch of the Centre for Advanced Studies on Social Change (CSSC) within the Department. The centre’s aim is to become an internationally renowned hub in Italy for the analysis of social changes and the collection, archiving and analysis of longitudinal quantitative and qualitative data. The creation of the CSSC will also be an important opportunity for young academics.

The Department will also continue to promote research activities as part of a highly cross-discipline approach, based on a belief that such an approach is made necessary by the nature and complexity of the phenomena studied. Work to consolidate the international profile of the Department will continue. This will include taking advantage of the interest of the national and international scientific community in the longitudinal data produced by the PDE. Finally, though the number of Department publications is deemed to be satisfactory in general, there will be a strong focus on consolidating and further increasing the standard of these – a standard already confirmed by the two previous Research Quality Assessments (VQR).

To summarise, the Department’s aims for the three-year period are:

  1. to enhance research activities, with a special but not exclusive focus on the phases of development of the PDE within the planning period;
  2. to enhance the quality of research output;
  3. to enhance internationalisation processes;
  4. to enhance the cross-discipline nature of the Department;
  5. to increase opportunities for internal and external scientific discussions;
  6. to support the research activities of young academics.

 

A series of committees, University figures and University events will ensure monitoring of measures implemented to achieve these objectives.