Pierpaolo Donati

Pierpaolo Donati

Date of Birth 30 September 1946
Place Budrio (Bologna), Italy
Nomination 22 December 1997
Field Sociology, Social Policy
Title Professor

Most important awards, prizes and academies
Director of CEPOSS (Centre of Studies in Social Policy and Sociology of Health) (since 1983) and Chair Ph.D. in Sociology (since 1988) at the University of Bologna; Chair of the Committee on Social Policy of the Italian Sociological Association, 1984-93; Member of the National University Council, Ministry of University and Technological Research, Research Committee on Social and Political Sciences, 1987-95; Member of the National Committee on Population, Italian Ministry for Social Affairs, 1992-93; Member of the National Committee during the UN International Year of the Family, Italian Ministry for Social Affairs, 1993-94; Member of the National Committee on Bioethics, Council of Ministers, Rome, 1994-99; United Nations Organization acknowledgment as IYF PATRON for the International Year of the Family awarded by the Vienna Office (1994); Capri S. Michele Prize for the book Pensiero Sociale Cristiano e Società Post-moderna (1997); President of the Italian Sociological Association 1995-98; Member of the Committee for the Cultural Project of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI) years 2000-08; Member of the National Italian Committee for UNESCO 1996-99; Founder and Editor of the Journal Sociologia e Politiche Sociali (University of Bologna); Counselor of the Board of the International Institute of Sociology 2000-03; Director of the National Observatory on the Family (Italian Government) 2004-12; San Benedetto Prize for the promotion of Life in Europe, IX edition (2009). Honoris causa Doctorate of the Pontifical Institute John Paul II for studies on marriage and family, Pontifical Lateran University (2009). Mario Macchi Prize 2009 given by the National Association of Catholic Schools' Parents (AGESC) for social and cultural activities of great innovative interest; Councillor of the Pontifical Council for the Family (2009). Chair M.A. in Sociology, University of Bologna (2009-12).

Summary of scientific research
The main theme of my research has been the foundation of a new approach in social sciences called "relational sociology". I have developed a general theory (what I call the "relational theory of society") and carried out a number of empirical investigations in order to apply it to a variety of topics such as: family dynamics, citizenship, social policies, the welfare services, civil society, third sector or social-private spheres, the welfare state, relational goods, intergenerational equity, the sociology of genders, religion, cultural change, new media. My main concern has been to establish a scientific framework in which significant connections can be made between sociology as a science and Catholic social thought, both at the theoretical and empirical levels. Currently my main area of research concerns the sociological emergence of mediating structures of civil society in advanced countries and their interplay as a major cause of redefinition of the modern ‘lib-lab complex’, and their role in defining an "after-modern" society. The main goal is to understand how the globalization processes are affecting societal change at the global level.

Main publications
A selected list out of 730 titles. Books: Introduzione alla sociologia relazionale, FrancoAngeli, Milan, 1983; Teoria relazionale della società, FrancoAngeli, Milan, 1991; Manual de sociologia de la salud, Ediciones Diaz de Santos, Madrid, 1994; Pensiero sociale cristiano e società postmoderna, Ave, Rome, 1997; La cittadinanza societaria, Laterza, Rome-Bari, 2000; Il lavoro che emerge. Prospettive del lavoro come relazione sociale in una economia dopo-moderna, Bollati Boringhieri, Turin, 2001; La cultura civile in Italia: fra stato, mercato e privato sociale, il Mulino, Bologna, 2002; Manual de Sociología de la Familia, Eunsa, Pamplona, 2003; Sociologia delle politiche familiari, Carocci, Rome, 2003; Famiglia e capitale sociale nella società italiana, San Paolo, Cinisello, 2003; Repensar la sociedad. El enfoque relacional, EIU, Madrid, 2006; M.S. Archer and P. Donati (eds.), Pursuing the Common Good: How Solidarity and Subsidiarity Can Work Together, Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, Vatican Press, Rome, 2008; Família no século XXI: abordagem relacional, Paulinas, Sao Paulo, Brazil, 2008; Oltre il multiculturalismo. La ragione relazionale per un mondo comune, Laterza, Rome-Bari, 2008; La società dell'umano, Marietti, Genoa-Milan, 2009; La matrice teologica della società, Rubbettino, Soveria Mannelli, 2010: Relational Sociology: A New Paradigm for the Social Sciences, Routledge, London, 2011; I beni relazionali. Che cosa sono e quali effetti producono, Bollati Boringhieri, Torino, 2011; La familia como raíz de la sociedad, BAC, Madrid, 2013; Sociologia della complessità, Il Mulino, Bologna, 2011; Sociologia della relazione, il Mulino, Bologna, 2013. Essays and articles: Die Zukunft des Sozialstaats: Kontinuitaeten und Diskontinuitaeten, Soziologisches Jahrbuch, Trient, a. 3, n. 2, 1987; Different cultures, different citizenship? The challenge of a universal citizenship in a multicultural postmodern society, in The Annals of the International Institute of Sociology, New Series Volume V, 1996, pp. 245-63; The New Citizenship of the Family, in K. Matthijs (ed.), The Family. Contemporary Perspectives and Challenges, Leuven University Press, Leuven, 1998; Giving and Social Relations: The Culture of Free Giving and its Differentiation Today, International Review of Sociology, vol. 13, n. 2, 2003; Building a Relational Theory of Society: A Sociological Journey, in Mathieu Deflem (ed.), Sociologists in a Global Age. Biographical Perspectives, Ashgate, Aldershot, 2007, pp. 159-74; Reflexivity after Modernity: From the Viewpoint of Relational Sociology, in M.S. Archer (ed.), Conversations About Reflexivity, Routledge, London and New York, 2010; Engagement as a Social Relation: A Leap into Trans-Modernity, in M.S. Archer, A.M. Maccarini (eds.), Engaging with the World. Agency, Institutions, Historical Formations, Routledge, London, 2013.

Professional address

Università di Bologna
Dipartimento di Sociologia
Strada Maggiore, 45
I-40125 Bologna


Pacem in Terris and the Principle of Subsidiarity: Beyond the Misunderstandings (PDF) 2012

The Crisis of the ‘World System’ and the Need for a Civil Society (PDF) 2010

I diritti umani come latenza di tutti gli altri diritti (PDF) 2009

The State and the Family in a Subsidiary Society (PDF) 2008

Discovering the Relational Character of the Common Good (PDF) 2008

The Access of Immigrants and Their Families to a Decent Standard of Living and to the Public Goods: An Issue of Citizenship (PDF) 2007

Understanding the Human Person as a Relational Subject: An ‘After’-Modern Paradigm for the Social Sciences (or: The ‘Economy’ of Human Persons Lies on Their Ultimate Concerns) (PDF) 2005

Social Policy, Family Policy and Intergenerational Solidarity: A New Design (PDF) 2004

Globalisation and Governance (PDF) 2003

‘Intergenerational Solidarity’: a Sociological and Social Policy Issue (PDF) 2002

Equità fra le generazioni: una nuova norma sociale (PDF) 2002

Religion and Democracy in the Post-Modern World: the Possibility of a ‘Religiously Qualified’ Public Sphere (PDF) 2000

The Changing Meaning of Word (Secularized versus Humanistic) and its Implications for the New Society (PDF) 1999

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