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The Relational Gaze on a Changing Society

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Edited By Paolo Terenzi and Elisabetta Carrà

Relational sociology is coming increasingly to the fore on the international academic stage. As it invariably happens in such circumstances, when a new paradigm attracts a growing number of scholars, researchers and practitioners, it is almost inevitably interpreted and identified in many different ways. This book aims to highlight the specific nature of relational sociology, disseminates knowledge about the relational approach which has been developed in Italy and in Europe starting from the work of Pierpaolo Donati, and confronts this approach with issues which are currently much debated in social theory, social research and social work. The authors try to consolidate the directions taken in the research field in order to distinguish relational sociology from other approaches which are not relational, or are only so to a certain degree.

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The Sociology of Guy Bajoit: between a Relational Paradigm and Relational Individualism

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1 Introduction

Guy Bajoit was the first French-speaking sociologist, and one of the first sociologists in the world, to publish a volume specifically dedicated to relational sociology (Bajoit 1992). His analytical approach was systematically formulated and developed in the years thereafter, leading to the publication of his most recent work La maison du sociologue. Pour une théorie sociologique générale (Bajoit 2015). This volume represents a summary and critical overview of the path followed by the author in the field of relational sociology. Of course, Bajoit is not the only Francophone scholar to have formulated a relational sociology. He has been followed by other French-speaking sociologists who have independently developed their own forms of relational sociology, taking different paths to that followed by Bajoit1. The works of the following sociologists are of relevance in this regard: Simon Laflamme (1995; 2009), François Depelteau (2008), Rachid Bagaoui (2007; 2009), and Claude Vautier (2008; 2016)2. Thus relational sociology boasts a consolidated history and certain vitality within the sphere of French-language sociology. The analytical scope of the present essay is limited to the work of Bajoit mainly because, as previously mentioned, he was the first Francophone sociologist to publish a volume dedicated to relational sociology, ←57 | 58→and he is one of the sociologists who have systematically adopted a relational approach. This essay does not purport to offer an overview of all of Bajoit’s work, as this would be an overly ambitious given the space available....

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