Foto del docente

Laura Sartori

Associate Professor

Department of Political and Social Sciences

Academic discipline: SPS/07 General Sociology


Keywords: complementary currencies digital divide social capital political participation open government e-platforms for participation smart cities e-deliberation and e-consultation open data digital inequalities digital competences social innovation parliamentary alliances Ict's social and political implications gender inequalities social meaning of money

1. Money and credit. Complementary currencies are not a novelty, but the can widely vary as for design and functioning mechanisms. Sardinian case of mutual credit system 'Sardex' represents an original case for the social construction of a market between enterprises (SME) where trust and institutions play a crucial role. Alternative currencies also remind us the social meanings of money, usually considered as a neutral and colorless tool for economic exchange.

2. Sociology of disasters. Sociological analysis of natural disasters is a relatively new domain where social and political elements are considered in the study of earthquakes, flooding and hurricanes. The impact of a natural and disruptive event changes upon social and political elements that characterizes the resilience and recovery of the local community.

3. Information society. Digital divide; Digital inequalities; Internet governance; Social consequences of the Internet in daily life; Internet and social inequalities.

4. Digital agenda, E-Inclusion and Smart cities. Under the 2020 Digital Agenda Framework, research must address and investigate ways of political participation 2.0, e-inclusion policies (e.g. by means of Open data), urban policies towards digital and smart cities and new concepts of digital and smart citizenship.

5. Political participation: Ict's offer a new opportunity structure for political engagement, whose implications in terms of efficacy and efficiency have to be explored deeper. Hypotheses of mobilization of new actors or reinforcement of those already politically active have to be tested with specific gender analyses. Electronic platform (e.g. developed through Liquidfeedback) offers interesting case studies of involvement and participation.

More traditional forms of political participation are still relevant to a point that Italy reports a persistent gender gap. This line of research focuses on the cultural and structural constraints that pave the way to a gendered political participation.

Open Government is key to participation processes for both citizens (as a tool for empowering participation) and Public Administration (as a tool for transparency).

Social innovation is cross-cutting dimension that deserves specific investigation both at the individual and the institutional level. Mutual credit systems represent a case for social innovation in the investment and financial sector.

6. Network Analysis and Parliamentary alliances. Party's alliances as a mirror for social and political cleavages in the Italian Parliament discovered through a network analysis. We perform a Social Network Analysis (SNA) over the 1994-2008 time period in order to detect structures of action that may (or may not) reflect traditional political cleavages and electoral programs in a post-democracy.

7. Social capital. The social capital concept offers important insights on the study of social networks, individual relationships and production and maintenance's  mechanisms of trust. Trust is also fundamental in the understanding of emerging technological solutions, such as Internet of Things or Blockchain.

8. Internet of Things (IoT). Internet of things is said to be the big ‘next thing’, but it is already happening in areas such as mobility and health. Attention is usually dedicated to technological characteristics while social and political implications are overlooked.


Current research

- Emergence and Institutionalization of Complementary Currencies in Italy. With Paolo Dini, LSE, (London School of Economics, London).

After the Sardinian complementary commercial network’s success (Sardex), 7 Italian regions are adopting and experimenting complementary currencies as integrative circuits of commerce. Research focuses on entrepreneurs who started the circuit and members investigating their motivations and strategies to adhere and compete within the regional complementary currency market.

- IoT, Urban Mobility and Social Behaviors. With Marco Prandini (Dept of Information and Computer Science) and Franco Callegati (Dept of Engineering), University of Bologna.

Internet of Things (IoT) promises to be the big next thing in IT applied to mobility. If we think about mobility as a service (MaaS), the link to the urban context and social challenges is straightforward. Research will address both technological and sociological implications of mobility as a Service for the governance of smart and innovative cities.

- Social Roots of Political Inequality: Gender and Political Participation in Italy. With Rossella Ghigi and Dario Tuorto, Dept of Education - University of Bologna.

Women could be interested and participate into politics less than men because of structural or cultural constraints. Research focuses on the impact of structural (domestic work, family, partner and kids) and cultural (political socialization, interest for politics) factors in sustaining a less participative style into conventional and non-conventional forms of politics for women.

- Parliamentary alliances and legislative process in Italy 1994-2008. With Paolo Parigi, Dept of Sociology - Stanford University.

How do MP’s in different legislatures come to agree and co-sponsor bills across political parties? We perform a Social Network Analysis (SNA) over the 1994-2008 time period in order to detect structures of action that could reflect traditional political cleavages and electoral programs in a post-democracy.


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