The essay deals with the problem of the empirical analysis of the concept of social distance using a temporal rather than a spatial approach. To this end, the Bogardus’ Social Distance Scale is introduced by emphasizing that it was defined by employing a spatial perspective and describing the socio-cultural environment in which it was designed. Then, it is illustrated a temporal perspective to empirically investigate the concept of social distance introducing the concepts of allochronism, social time and standard time. In particular, it is argued that social time has close connections with our perceptions, interpretations, values, needs and cultures, and as such is particularly suitable for investigating socio-temporal distance. Moreover - as the main focus of this essay - the methodological procedure used by the author to examine the socio-temporal distance of ethnic relations between migrants and natives in Italy is illustrated. By comparing significant indicators suitable for assessing living conditions, we show how the two social groups live in different temporal worlds, although they are physically contemporary. In particular, it is shown how migrants live in a temporal bubble that represents a “piece” of modernity inserted in a postmodern world. It is concluded that studying social distance using a temporal approach is very effective and has several applications: it can be used not only for ethnic relations but also for research on minority, weak, marginal groups, in gender or intergenerational studies, and in all fields in which gaps/disparities/ inequalities must be compared.

A temporal perspective to empirically investigate the concept of social distance

Stefania Tusini
2022

Abstract

The essay deals with the problem of the empirical analysis of the concept of social distance using a temporal rather than a spatial approach. To this end, the Bogardus’ Social Distance Scale is introduced by emphasizing that it was defined by employing a spatial perspective and describing the socio-cultural environment in which it was designed. Then, it is illustrated a temporal perspective to empirically investigate the concept of social distance introducing the concepts of allochronism, social time and standard time. In particular, it is argued that social time has close connections with our perceptions, interpretations, values, needs and cultures, and as such is particularly suitable for investigating socio-temporal distance. Moreover - as the main focus of this essay - the methodological procedure used by the author to examine the socio-temporal distance of ethnic relations between migrants and natives in Italy is illustrated. By comparing significant indicators suitable for assessing living conditions, we show how the two social groups live in different temporal worlds, although they are physically contemporary. In particular, it is shown how migrants live in a temporal bubble that represents a “piece” of modernity inserted in a postmodern world. It is concluded that studying social distance using a temporal approach is very effective and has several applications: it can be used not only for ethnic relations but also for research on minority, weak, marginal groups, in gender or intergenerational studies, and in all fields in which gaps/disparities/ inequalities must be compared.
social distance, temporal distance, social time, allochronism, migration, ethnic relations
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12071/28526
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