Cultural Changes, Communication, Knowledge: Critical lessons

Cultural Changes, Communication, Knowledge: Critical lessons

A book review – Gyaviira Luwaga


In light of the burgeoning scholarly discourse surrounding social systems, cultures, and development, an urgent imperative arises to undertake a comprehensive analysis of existing literature in order to effectively address the escalating dearth of people-centric communication pertaining to stateless individuals. This book, meticulously curated by Folco Cimagalli and Giovanna Truda, delves into the intricate nexus of social systems, culture, and development, shedding light on the prevailing negative societal perceptions concerning impoverished and homeless populations, thereby engendering a consequential dearth of attention and support from welfare institutions. The review aptly explicates that poverty constitutes a transitory state necessitating attentive consideration, while concurrently exposing the inadequacies of prevailing homeless services, which predominantly lack a holistic network-oriented approach. Significantly, it emphasizes that individuals experiencing homelessness do not passively succumb to their circumstances, but instead retain a modicum of agency, thereby underscoring the imperative for homeless services to view them as active social agents endowed with inherent personality, dignity, skills, and strategic acumen.

The book “Social Systems, Cultures and Development” aims to promote transdisciplinary research-action to strengthen and spread scientific knowledge of social sciences. It focuses on three key topics: social systems, cultures, and development. The book provides insights into various topics related to the subject matter, and how they are interconnected. It emphasizes the need for sustainable development that combines economic competitiveness, environmental sustainability, and social balance.

The first chapter discusses the importance of developing the mind and rising to the highest degree of knowledge to create a united, fair, and happy world. The Ubermensch tries to overcome a decadent, bourgeois, hypocritical, and violent culture to create a new man. Digital technologies are used for personalized learning and training to develop critical thinking and people’s awareness of social, ethical, and political aspects. Communication and media are essential for creating the world, and writing is fundamental to creating social objects. The authors explain that the use of new media requires critical skills, responsibility, awareness, and continuous adaptation in all institutional systems and equipment. Children and adolescents of the 21st century are digital natives who coexist with tablets, smartphones, and online technology. Relational nets generated by social networks have traits of a life community with frequent and significant points of interaction. The network allows people to communicate, enhancing the sense of common belonging and creating a society as a reality and product of interaction between people. The school’s task is to plan education and coherent responsibility in the use of scientific discoveries and technology to ensure the “common good” through ethical choices.

The second chapter discusses the past, present, and future of collective intelligence, referencing philosopher F. Nietzsche and his ideas on the abilities of man and connective intelligence. Nietzsche believed that great works are never generated by a unique author and that they are the result of the truth of experience generated in a not solitary way of existence. The text also discusses Nietzsche’s appreciation for the work of A. Schopenhauer and his belief that reason alone will not lead to the truth. Primitive man did not start from instinct but from judgement and created superior instincts that we call passions. Nietzsche believed that it is important to use “the light of reason” to purge fears, superstitions, and excesses of commonplaces, so as not to renounce to deal with our own origins.

The third chapter discusses the future of education and technology. The sociologist Zygmunt Bauman believes that social networks have replaced traditional meeting spaces and eliminated the exchange of cultural, political, and ideological diversity. The future of education and technology must be critically thought about to identify educational targets for a knowledge-based society. The responsible use of technology requires the ability to control relationships and emotions, interpret information critically, and avoid dangerous situations. The school must promote a collaborative and communicative climate to prevent conflict and bullying. Education is key to adapting to a rapidly changing world and developing a European identity. The digital and technological revolution has produced overwhelming effects in the communicative-relational sphere and the labour market. The transition to a society characterized by activities that can be carried out at a distance has not mortified the value of man and his work. The fundamental problem with automation is ethical in nature and about individual responsibility.

The fourth chapter discusses social work and homelessness in Italy. The role of social workers in promoting self-determination and facilitating social and human growth for NEET generation in Italy is discussed. The importance of Global Citizenship Education actions in Italy, particularly in Naples, is highlighted. The theme of extreme poverty and housing hardship, particularly for the homeless, is explored. The different definitions and categories of homelessness are discussed, including the ETHOS model. The results of a 2014 survey on homelessness in Italy are presented, including demographic information and causes of homelessness. The lack of priority given to homeless individuals by social policies is discussed.

The fifth chapter discusses AI and adolescence. Experts predict that robots could replace humans in their jobs in a short time. The process of automation and overcoming of AI on humans and work duties is uncertain. Success lies in being visionary and building inclusive human universes. Adolescents in Western societies face questions of identity and their place in the world. Developing a positive sense of identity is linked to psychological well-being. Adolescents must develop a firm personal identity and figure out their place in society. Civic efficacy and social responsibility are important attitudes to develop during adolescence.

Lessons and Learnings:

To critically elaborate on the areas of discourse, the book critically evaluates education, philosophy, and technology. It highlights the uncertain future of work due to the rise of automation and artificial intelligence. The importance of being visionary and looking towards the future is emphasized. The book also discusses the challenges faced by adolescents in Western societies and the need for developing a firm personal identity and social responsibility for psychological well-being. The text includes two chapters from a larger document, with the first chapter discussing the role of social workers in promoting self-determination and facilitating social and human growth for NEETs in Italy. The second chapter focuses on the issue of homelessness in Italy, including definitions and statistics on the homeless population.

Homelessness in Italy: The ISTAT survey estimates that there were around 50,724 homeless people in Italy in 2014, with the majority being men, foreigners, and under 54 years old. Milan and Rome are reported to host around 40% of the homeless population in Italy. The text also discusses the lack of priority given to homeless individuals in social policies and the historical connection between poverty and political agendas. The attention given to the poor and homeless is not charitable but rather focused on regulation. Welfare tools operate for rapid and forced recovery in the active part of society. There is a third area of vulnerability characterized by high levels of work and relational fragility. Poverty is a mobile condition, and impoverishment is a more appropriate term to use. The current scenario is marked by the expansion of the area of vulnerability and the population placed in conditions of risk of impoverishment. Social policies focus on the population group in vulnerable conditions and those groups that do not yet experience the marked situation of désaffiliation. The homeless are not passive and isolated individuals, but rather social actors with personality, dignity, skills, and strategy. Current social policies have difficulty considering the homeless through organic and effective interventions. The homeless subject is endowed with social capital and acts strategically. A project to revise services for the homeless should start from the consideration of the homeless subject as a social actor.

Personalized project of active inclusion: The task of social work with the homeless is to leave behind the obsolete need-performance scheme. The Housing First model identifies housing as a primary right. The process of taking charge identifies its central moment in the definition of a personalized project of active inclusion. The intervention is tuned to the specific condition of the person. The integrated network removes obstacles hindering the development of individual potential. It is necessary to identify and mobilize individual resources that are not sufficiently valued. It is useful to provide links with work orientation and local service structures. Planning information, training, and refresher courses, as well as sports, recreational, and cultural activities, are helpful. It is appropriate to conceive an effective, convincing localization of these services. The service operates to intervene widely on the needs of the homeless person. The service facilitates the initiation of an individualized and systemic taking charge.

Addressing the issue of stigma: Social work with the homeless must address the issue of stigma. It is advisable to widen the spectrum of the target and remix the sedimented categorical visions. The interventions in favour of the homeless were carried out from a residual perspective. The paper identifies some lines of work for a rethinking of these policies. A central role is played by the local authority and the third-sector city system.

Philosophy and Technology: The second part of the text discusses the philosopher F. Nietzsche’s ideas on connective intelligence and the role of reason in human existence. Nietzsche believed that great works are not generated by a single author and that the truth of experience is generated through collective existence. Nietzsche also believed that reason alone cannot lead to the truth and that the world is covered by a veil. Nietzsche’s legacy includes the search for truth and the importance of intellectual knowledge. The text discusses the impact of technology on communication and education. Spinoza’s philosophy is mentioned, emphasizing the importance of developing the mind. The concept of the Ubermensch is introduced as someone who can overcome a decadent culture and navigate digital technologies while still being aware of social, ethical, and political aspects. The text highlights the need for critical thinking and personalized learning in education. The role of media in shaping societal values and perceptions is discussed. The importance of responsible use of technology and ethical choices is emphasized. The concept of collective intelligence is introduced, and its potential for enhancing human connections and knowledge is discussed. The text also mentions the rise of digital natives and their relationship with technology. The idea of virtual communities is explored, and the sociological implications of social networks are discussed.

In conclusion, the book provides valuable insights into a range of topics, including education, technology, social issues, social work, and adolescence. It emphasizes the importance of critical thinking, responsibility, and ethical considerations in the use of technology, as well as the need for greater attention and support for marginalized groups. The legacy of Nietzsche and his ideas on collective intelligence and the use of reason are also discussed. The book critically evaluates education, philosophy, and technology, highlighting the uncertain future of work due to the rise of automation and artificial intelligence. The importance of being visionary and looking towards the future is emphasized. The book also discusses the challenges faced by adolescents in Western societies and the need for developing a firm personal identity and social responsibility for psychological well-being..


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