1. bookVolume 4 (2021): Edition 2 (December 2021)
Détails du magazine
Première parution
30 Sep 2018
1 fois par an
access type Accès libre

Techno-altruism. From cultural conflict to constructive and supportive use of online environments

Publié en ligne: 19 May 2022
Volume & Edition: Volume 4 (2021) - Edition 2 (December 2021)
Pages: 16 - 32
Détails du magazine
Première parution
30 Sep 2018
1 fois par an

Even before the Covid-19 pandemic crisis, the massive use of the digital in everyday life, in the absence of intercultural - media skills, seemed to have fuelled violence, misinformation, ethnocentrisms, prejudices towards the Other (Urry 2000; Appadurai 2005; Couldry 2015; Ziccardi 2016; Europol 2016; SWG 2017, Vox 2018).

However, social and digital technology can also be re-thought as a civic and moral space (Silverstone, 2009) able to overcome conflict and polarisation, as a strategic medium to improve social policies and the management of migration flows, actively involving host institutions and communities (Buoncompagni, D’Ambrosi 2020).

The panorama of humanitarian aid, in particular, i.e. that typology of interventions aimed at helping populations affected by war events or natural disasters, is completely changing in the way of operating within the world of international migration precisely thanks to the digital infrastructure (IOM 2018). Apps, virtual itinerant maps and self-narratives via social networks, sharing GPS coordinates of the safest routes among migrants, increasing numbers of socially engaged indigenous citizens enrolled in online platforms, are just a few examples of how digital media are acquiring a fundamental role within the migration network in hospitality and aid actions (Brunwasser 2015; Buoncompagni 2021. Only by developing the art of solidarity and the ability to communicate and cooperate globally, opening up to the Other, can the “different” relate effectively and productively in digital society (Chen 2005; Bennet 2015).

Pitirim A. Sorokin himself, a still prominent figure of 20th century sociology, stated that historical and techno-cultural changes have not always produced positive results within societies, but at times also negative (or more precisely ‘destructive’) ones: individualism, antagonism, excess of technology and rationality, and in particular the fall of the bonds of solidarity towards the different and the loss of the feeling of belonging (Cimagalli 2010; Marletti 2018; Perrotta 2016).

But the sociologist also stressed how altruism could be one of the indispensable ingredients of social life. No society can exist without an “altruistic and creative love” that has as its aim the “altruisation” of individuals and social institutions: a complex process/project capable of encompassing the emotional, supra-rational and spiritual aspects of human relationships (including online), starting from the idea that all men can recognise themselves in certain moral principles, eternal and universal (Mangone, 2020).

And such a condition could be re-created/supported also through digital tools and exist in online environments, thus trying to extend, on a theoretical level, Sorokin’s attempt to make sociology (also digital, in this case) a “science of altruism” in the post-pandemic era of global interconnectedness.


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