The scientific and technological achievements of the past century and the increasing pervasiveness of images have not only influenced deeply the relationship between humankind and nature, but have also introduced new kinds of awareness of human's responsibilities on vulnerabilities never experienced before, which have serious - if not irreversible - cascades of consequences on the stability, livability and reproduction of social and natural contexts. As a matter of fact, in several cases, the threats produced by the current system have already neared the end of their latency (Beck, 1992): we are increasingly more affected by their effects and also visually more exposed to them. This happens not just because disasters, either man-made or natural, occur more frequently, and the multiplicity of their damages are wider, but also because individuals and communities can increasingly experience them, not just directly but also indirectly, and in several ways. Media shrink time and space distances and augment the capacity of our senses to acknowledge them and this also encourages the emergence of new social processes. Nonetheless,  in the early stages of studies on these issues, in front of the complexity of the phenomena that were dramatically unfolding, the theories and methods of social sciences (as well as of others) have proven to be weak and running behind.

Published: 2018-02-17