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A positive crisis

Two scholars of society reflect upon the difficult realities we face today as we attempt to define a potentially better tomorrow

Crisis as a means of growth and development — a concept that might be difficult to comprehend, yet one that is often the only possible way out of a critical situation and that is, in fact, still very relevant today to all members of a society that is struggling with a pandemic that shows no sign of loosening its grip. The adoption of a ‘proactive’ attitude towards the pandemic, and indeed towards various other issues, is also relevant where the production system is concerned, as well as, evidently, implying something of a cultural leap that affects everyone.

It will no doubt do everyone some good, then, to read Nella Fine è l’Inizio. In che mondo vivremo (“In the End There is the Beginning. The world in which we will live”), written by Chiara Giaccardi and Mauro Magatti, which looks at the position in which the world now finds itself using a whole host of tools and based on the two authors’ backgrounds in sociology and anthropology.

The pandemic crisis, which Giaccardi and Magatti use as the starting point for their book, can be seen as a lens through which to interpret our era, and a telescope that we might use to look further into the future. The basic idea that the book tries to convey is that Covid-19 is not only a tragedy that has disrupted a race that needs to get back on track as soon as possible, but also a fracture that has highlighted various limitations and indeed possibilities; an opportunity to create an unprecedented future as an alternative to an inertial evolution. This being the case, the book, which has not even two hundred pages and is worthy of a thorough read, examines the two opposing factors, namely the possibilities that have been unearthed and the limitations that have been observed, as it unfolds.

The literary task undertaken by Giaccardi and Magatti is also of interest for the way in which the two authors have chosen to structure the text, that is in the form of five chapters based each on a triad of concepts relating to a particular aspect of the reality. Indeed, as the authors put it, “[t]he problem is that, thanks to the extraordinary development that has taken place over the last two centuries, risk, in an advanced society, no longer relates simply to the outcome of a single decision but rather stems from the combined effects of the entire social structure”.

Nella Fine è l’Inizio (“In the End There is the Beginning”) conveys a positive message that begins with the reasoning surrounding the reality of the current situation in order to transform what some people think of as “the end of the world” into the beginning of a new way of life.

Chiara Giaccardi and Mauro Magatti

Nella Fine è l’Inizio. In Che Mondo Vivremo

Il Mulino, 2020