Ordinary Academicians

Pierpaolo Donati


Pierpaolo Donati

Date of birth 30 September 1946

Place Budrio, Bologna, Italy (Europe)

Nomination 22 December 1997

Field Sociology, Social Policy

Title Professor

  • Biography
  • Publications

Most important awards, prizes and academies
Alma Mater Professor (PAM) of Sociology at the University of Bologna (2016-18); President of the Italian Sociological Association (1995-98). Counselor of the Board of the International Institute of Sociology (2000-03); Director of the Centre of Studies on Social Policy and Sociology of Health (Ceposs) (1983-2006) and Chair Ph.D. in Sociology (1988-2004) at the University of Bologna; Chair M.A. in Sociology University of Bologna (2009-12); Founder and 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 for 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); Member of the Committee for the ‘Settimane Sociali’ (1995-2007) and for the Cultural Project (2000-08) of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI); Member of the National Italian Committee for UNESCO (1996-99); Founder and Editor of the Journal Sociologia e Politiche Sociali (University of Bologna); Editor (1981-83) and then Co-editor (1983-2004) of the Journal Interdisciplinary Studies on the family (Catholic University of Milan); Director of the National Observatory on the Family (Italian Government) (2004-12); Member of the Academy of Sciences of the University of Bologna (2007-20). San Benedetto Prize for the promotion of Life in Europe, IX edition (2009); Mario Macchi Prize 2009 by the National Association of Catholic Schools (AGESC) for social and cultural activities of great innovative interest; Counselor of the Pontifical Council for the Family (2009-12). Honoris causa Doctorate of the Pontifical Lateran University for studies on marriage and family (2009). Honoris causa Doctorate of the Universidad Internacional de Catalunya (UIC) for studies in sociology and social policy (2017).

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, citizenship, social policies, welfare services, civil society, third sector and social-private spheres, welfare state, intergenerational equity, sociology of genders, religion, cultural change, new media. Based on this theory, new concepts have been developed such as relational goods, relational reflexivity, relational welfare, relational society. 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 areas of research concern 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 (not post)-modern" society. The main goal is to understand how the globalization processes are affecting societal change at the global level, from the point of view of a neo-humanistic social science in a critical position with regard to post/trans-humanism.

Main publications
A selected list out of about 850 titles (including 122 books): Introduzione alla sociologia relazionale, Franco Angeli, Milan, 1983; Teoria relazionale della società, Franco Angeli, 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, Vatican City, 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, Genova-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, Turin, 2011; P. Donati, Family Policy: A Relational Approach, Franco Angeli, Milan, 2012 (e-book); Sociologia della riflessività, Il Mulino, Bologna, 2011; Sociologia della relazione, il Mulino, Bologna, 2013; La familia como raíz de la sociedad, BAC, Madrid, 2013; Sociologia relazionale. Come cambia la società, La Scuola, Brescia, 2013; P. Donati, La famiglia. Il genoma che fa vivere la società, Rubbettino, Soveria Mannelli, 2013; P. Donati, La política de la familia. Por un welfare relacional y subsidiario, Ediciones Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago del Chile, 2014; P. Donati & M.S. Archer, The Relational Subject, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2015; P. Donati, L’enigma della relazione, Mimesis Edizioni, Milan-Udine, 2015; Generare un figlio. Che cosa rende umana la generatività?, Cantagalli, Siena, 2017; P. Donati (ed.), Towards a Participatory Society: New Roads to Social and Cultural Integration, PASS, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Vatican City, 2018; P. Donati, A. Malo, I. Vigorelli (eds.), Ecologia integrale della relazione uomo-donna. Una prospettiva relazionale, Edusc, Roma, 2018; P. Donati, A. Malo, G. Maspero (eds.), Social Science, Philosophy and Theology in Dialogue: A Relational Perspective, London, Routledge, 2019; P. Donati, Реляционная теория общества: социальная жизнь с точки зрения критического реализма, Москва: Москва Издательство ПСТГУ, 2019; P. Donati, Scoprire i beni relazionali. Per generare una nuova socialità, Rubbettino, Soveria Mannelli, 2019; P. Donati, Sociología relacional de lo humano, Eunsa, Pamplona, 2019; P. Donati e G. Maspero, Dopo la pandemia. Rigenerare la società con le relazioni, Città Nuova, Roma, 2021; P. Donati, Transcending Modernity with Relational Thinking, Routledge, London, 2021.

Professional Address

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

Intergenerational Solidarity: Old and New Scenarios, Challenges and Prospects (PDF) 2014

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

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

Comment: Understanding the Human Person as a Relational Subject: An ‘After’-Modern Paradigm for the Social Sciences (PDF) 2005