Nuova pagina 1


Italian Home Contacts Credits ISSN
Urban Suffering Studies Center



The Manifesto Convivialista: a reading of today under three perspectives

Nuova pagina 1


Anna Cossetta Guglielmo Faldetta Sergio Labate


Live beyond the market and the gift


Di Anna Cossetta
Università degli Studi di Genova

One of the fundamental questions that sociology asks is "How is a social life possible?" This is a question that we continually try to give answers to because our interactions, and our need for others not only are never ending, but they are incessantly declined in every epoch and culture according to continually different modalities and mechanisms.
Our contemporary living is characterized by a seemingly endless ability to belong simultaneously to both formal and informal groups, organizations, associations, communities, social circles, that branch out and intersect. A great opportunity, but that requires, at the same time, the need to know the different languages and social norms to be used: a continual need of interpersonal competences increasingly difficult and complex, which, in many cases, leave us tired and lonely. Also because it is often a relational effort that actually serves only to build interactions, debased and emptied by capitalist dictates. Exchange, as pointed out by Simmel, has crystallized into the form of money as an independent structure, that dominates life. We must therefore stick to the biopower of homo economicus: a rational and cold being, able to decide and choose with efficacy and efficiency and that, precisely for this reason, is in turn exploited and dominated because of his inevitable need to give and to live. And so his passions become whims and desires become objects that give pleasure in an instant and then remain there, to witnesses the disappointment. It is a way of life full of illusions, that we find it hard to believe in now, weighed down as we are by recurrent crises, from the lack of pleasure that these decades of consumerism have caused, from a greater awareness and respect for the world we live in, but anyway, certainly not willing to return to an archaic world just as illusory as difficult and potentially violent. Because the market, let's face it, had a great merit, that was to allow us to escape from forced, often violent and strongly hierarchical relationships, that can be the result of systems based on the gift. Anthropologists, starting from Boas, Malinowsky and Marcel Mauss have demonstrated: the gift can be an instrument of ostentation and submission. How do I feel when I'm in a position of not being able to reciprocate a gift that is too big? The gift, as we women know only too well, can take on the characteristics of a proper sacrifice, a necessary submission. Here you have to look and hunt for a third way, which is exactly that of this Manifesto: that of sharing, of conviviality. This means being present, being in small groups and communities in which living-with is really possible, but at the same time opening up towards a multiple dimension, rich and free. A molecular system of belonging and sharing made up of the care and recognition of others.
Therefore it is necessary to definitely overcome the rational man to become reasonable, in the same way overcome ostentation and possession to become capable, as the ancient rabbis, of the Tiqqun 'Olam used to say, and that is to maintain and repair the world, together.


Manifesto Convivialista:Culture and Policy together


Di Sergio Labate - University of Macerata

Reading the Manifesto convivialista you breathe again. In it there is an analysis of the present that reconnects culture and politics, whose link is forbidden in the prevailing public debate.
In a few pages you find the summary of ideas that break the evil spell that politics should become accustomed to the cultural hegemony of homo economicus. On closer inspection, the crisis is the project of a world that has given up the idea that we can "coexist without slaughtering one another», defining the order of slaughter as the only possible order. In this way reversing the great idea of democratic universalism in the dystopia of the democracy of the unequal (the erosion of rights, the transcendentality of the inequalities, etc.). This is why policy proposed tools for "gettng out of the crisis" are to all effects tools for permanently enforcing the order of the crisis.
The proposals of this Manifesto unmask the cultural void of contemporary democracy. They are neither pretentious nor innovative. Probably a decade ago they would have seemed sustainable, while today they have a deconstructive as well as a heuristic value. I would like to give just two examples.
The idea that there is "no correlation found between monetary or material wealth, on the one hand, and happiness or well-being on the other." A few years ago wasn't this contestation of the hegemony of the GDP at the centre of public debate? Shouldn't the crisis have been a great opportunity for recomposing the puzzle of our public values? The interdiction of the link between culture and politics has made this argument entirely irrelevant just when it is greatly needed.
The idea that the legitimacy of the States arises from ensuring common principles of equality. The Manifesto puts forward the proposal of a ‘minimum income ' and a ' maximum income'. How far it seem from politics that undertake only the task of ensuring an economy without a state (a masochistic form of politics )?
These two small examples are not explained if they are not connected to that great ban from which I started and that the Manifesto helps to overcome. On this point I would also like to point out two insights that ought to be taken seriously.
The first is that the contempt for culture held by politics will finish by infecting the field of our passions and likings. A policy that replaces culture with economy makes some potentially destructive passions for coexistence publicly acceptable. And it defines them ideologically as "rational choices," according to the neo-liberal ideology. A reconstruction of democracy can't not go through this subversion of passions and dominant likings.
Also: the idea that one of the most pernicious effects of society being replaced by the market is not to allow the construction of spaces and symbolic exchanges. A market without society makes the virtuous circle of economy and society impossible, which then prevents conflicts from becoming wars, prevents individual claims from becoming forms of annihilation of the other. Conviviality, indeed. The great forgotten lesson of Mauss and Polanyi. Are we so sure of ourselves that we think that to forget this was a good thing to do, leaving to the economy and economists the place that once belonged to culture and intellectuals?

Conviviality and workplace relations

by Guglielmo Faldetta
Associate Professor of Business Organization - Kore University of Enna

Reading the Manifesto convivilista offers interesting stimuli for reflection on the meaning of the gift in workplace relations.
Starting from An essay on the gift by Marcel Mauss, and the studies of M.A.U.S.S., the gift should be inextricably inserted in a scheme of reciprocal performance and return performance, where the actors are all donors, pervaded by a sense of positive debt, as if the scheme of exchange of gifts were never to be balanced, never tending towards equivalence, but always remaining intrinsically open.
Economic organizations have often based their success on the gift, a gift, though, too often hypocritical or "poisoned", far from the logics of reciprocity and conviviality. The logic of the gift finds space in these organisations for the fact that workplace relations, even though formalized in contracts, necessarily remain irreducible to this formalization. In workplace relations it is very difficult to understand, let alone measure, what employees give to the organization, and what they receive from it. Employees often "feel", or are even asked, to give something that exceeds their working hours, a part of themselves, of their own life, a gift, therefore, and consequently they expect to receive something in return, which should also take the form of a gift.
In this respect there has been talk of prosocial behaviour, or "organizational citizenship", or even "commitment", in other words all those actions of help, condivision, cooperation aimed at producing and maintaining the well-being of a generic "other self" (whether a person, a group, or an entire organization), and that represent the whole of the informal contributions that members of the organization execute without regard to sanctions or formally regulated incentives. The gift, rather than a form of resistance to the economic mechanisms of the exchange market, has often become a condition for existence of the organizations that make extensive use of these behaviours, and therfore a subtle and refined support structure for the market. It is obvious that it is in some way an "incomplete", partial, often hypocritical gift, if not inserted in virtuous relational dynamics within the organizations.
In this regard, if, in the past, it was the owners and management who gave, often in the form of industrial paternalism, and this was done, apart from solidarity, to force the workers to a return performancee, a return gift, specifically in the form of subordination, today there is an increasing tendency to request from workers partecipation, identification, loyalty and a sense of belonging towards the organization. It's as if the process is reversed, for which it's the workers who have to give, sacrifice themselves, and all this also thanks to the construction of a symbolism that emphasizes emotional logics and uses them in an instrumental way.
If one wants to get away from the dynamics of a hypocritical gift, developing on the contrary a dimension of conviviality within the context of workplace relations, it must be looked for in that scheme of relationships encouraged by the gift, from what their members give "in addition", not only as time, commitment and energy expended in the place of work, but also in terms of gestures, smiles, encouragement, advice, words, anything that can nurture relationships and friendship. This is especially visible in working contexts where a spirit of solidarity that implies the existence of mutual ties between members of the organization, is developed.
There remains, however, a question: what is the return gift offered by the economic organizations to its members?





Bookmark and Share

Center for urban suffering

The study centre wishes to study the phenomenon of urban suffering, in other words the suffering that is specific to the great metropolises. Urban Suffering is a category that describes the meeting of individual suffering with the social fabric that they inhabit. The description, the understanding and the transformation of the psychological and social dynamics that develop from the meeting of ...

Who we are

The Urban Suffering Studies Center - SOUQ - arises from Milan, a place of complexity and economic and social contradictions belonged to global world.Tightly linked to Casa della Carità Foundation, which provides assistance and care to unserved populations in Milan (such as immigrants legal and illegal, homeless, vulnerable minorities), the Urban Suffering Studies Center puts attention on ...


Centro studi Souq Management commitee: Laura Arduini, Virginio Colmegna (presidente), Silvia Landra, Simona Sambati, Benedetto Saraceno ; Scientific commitee: Mario Agostinelli, Angelo Barbato, Maurizio Bonati, Adolfo Ceretti, Giacomo Costa, Ota de Leonardis,  Giulio Ernesti, Sergio Escobar, Luca Formenton, Francesco Maisto, Ambrogio Manenti, Claudia Mazzucato, Daniela ...
< Ultimo aggiornamento
  Editorials   Theory waiting for practice   Practice waiting for theory   Papers   References  

Nuova pagina 1

ISSN 2282-5754 Souquaderni [online] by SOUQ - Centro Studi sulla Sofferenza Urbana - CF: 97316770151
Last update: 20/04/2019

[Area riservata]