Historical Social Research

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Angela PerulliEveryday Life in Figurational Approach: A Meso Level for Sociological Analysis [Abstract]

Moving from Elias and Scotson’s “Established and outsiders” the article proposes a discussion about everyday life analytical category. This book clearly highlights what can be considered a constant in Elias’ sociological methodology: the necessity for sociology to depart as little as possible from actual observable reality. Through a typically meso approach to social phenomena, the small things of everyday life, the ways that interactions and relations take place in specific places and times, become the observation plan to analyse the structural dimensions making society. Gossip, neighbours, free time, lifestyle, stigma and solidarity are just some of the topics dealt with in this text. With them, everyday life appears as the terrain on which social figurations reveal themselves, reproduce and are visible, in the ongoing game of the changing interdependencies of human living. I started by referring to the critical position that Elias assumed when invited to express himself on everyday life. The second part of the paper deals with the pars construens of Elias’ thought: through the category of figuration everyday life as a meso tool to approach sociological analysis. He sees real individuals at work in it – with their I-and we-identities, their habitus – acting and reacting in networks of interdependencies. With the figurational approach, everyday life appears as life that is there, as the unique and inevitable dimension of sociological analysis. With the peculiar established-outsiders figurational one, everyday life appears as the ground to see and study production and reproduction mechanisms of social inequalities.

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