Jan 30, 2011

MENA (Middle East North Africa) Turmoil

The protest started in Tunisia, then:  Libya, Algeria, Jordan, Yemen, Albania, Lebanon and Egypt. You can find more detailed information in the article “A region in upheaval”. The world is now concentrated, for the geopolitical and strategic importance, on Egypt. One thing is sure, for the first time in decades the theme at stake is not religion, terrorism or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Some interpret the protest as “Yearning for Respect, Arabs Find a Voice”. Internet (Facebook and Twitter in particular) are playing a key role in spreading the voice and articulating the protest. Some commentators describe the chain of upheavals as “Tunisian's Domino Effect”, some other call it the “North Africa 1989”. The unspoken rule “Better a loyal dictator (who serves my interests) than an unstable (not so easy controllable) democracy” is trembling.

Jan 29, 2011

Sociology of Italian Culture, Gonzaga, Fall 2010

Well, yes: I like to take and post class pictures (the one I have). Last semester I was lucky: I had two great classes. Unfortunately I do not have the Identity & Culture class picture (International Studies Institute). Each time I proposed to take the picture some students did not want to, because of the hair, the make up etc. It is a pity and in the future I will be more authoritative for the picture, almost despotic!

Great Students

Jan 17, 2011

Surviving Finland: Confessions of an Underachiever.

This is the only occasion I have to share a treasure with all of you. I have many thoughtful autobiographical essays written by my students over the years. And, of course, I keep them all for myself, enshrined. Danielle, who was enrolled in my class Identity and Culture: A Narrative Approach, in the Research Master in Social Sciences (University of Helsinki) published the autobiographical essay in her blog. At the end of the story she writes: I would like to add a special thanks to Professor Pierluca Birindelli.  It was his assignment to write this autobiographical essay. Thank you, it was better than therapy”. There are many important themes she faces with her beautiful English: self-identity, achievement, cultural differences, etc. I’ve talked and wrote her back, but this is going to remain between the two of us. Let me just say: thank you Danielle! And here you can find her autobiographical essay: Surviving Finland: Confessions of an Underachiever.

Berlusconi Faces Inquiry in Prostitution Case

What’s the top news in Italy this week? The economical crisis? The unemployment rate (30% among young people)? The ongoing Tunisia revolution (30 minutes fly from Sicily)? No. Everybody is, again, talking about Berlusconi. And, again, is a sex scandal. Our prime minister is facing an investigation in a prostitution case involving an under-age nightclub dancer. You can read about this in the New York Times Global Edition. In November Berlusconi denied doing anything improper during one of his parties at his house, and defended himself saying: “It’s better to like beautiful girls than to be gay