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When quality measures the distance between valorization and commodification

di Alfonso Casalini

When quality measures the distance between valorization and commodification

There is a shared vision which wants that every kind of good and service can be transformed in a product. It doesn’t matter what kind of good or service is. This perspective is not so bad as it could sound to many, and above all, looking at our daily lives, it is not so far from the reality. We use and consume every kind of good and service, whether it is a cultural good, a relational good or an industrial good. Though, when we talk about cultural goods, the setting-up of a value-chain or a value-system, obviously scares humanists. Indeed, there is a point that we need to fix and to underline: there is a huge difference between valorization and commodification, and the measure of this difference is named quality. Quality of the processes trough which we transform cultural or non-cultural assets in cultural products. Skilled human resources, clever investments and proper management principles lead to a high-quality deliverable that, despite its market-driven approach, could improve knowledge, culture and social value more than a pure-cultural-driven approach. It is the same difference that measures the distance between “territorial development” and “territorial marketing”. Having a look at both the definitions remove any doubt about it. While “Territorial marketing can be defined as a process whereby local activities are related as closely as possible to the demands of targeted customers” the “Territorial development designates development that is endogenous and spatially integrated, leverages the contribution of actors operating at multiple scales and brings incremental value to national development efforts”. However, looking at the cultural sector, despite the glaring differences between these definitions, the output of these approaches could appear very similar. Both the approaches, indeed, produce cultural services, cultural goods and touristic goods that third-sector organizations, enterprises and Public Administrations offer on the market. So, what kind of variable should we use to interpret a cultural or touristic good as the result of a marketing approach or, on the contrary, of a territorial development approach? Once again, quality could be the answer.

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Reti creative

Sociology of dissent: American Beatniks and pre-sixty-eight Europe

di Luca Benvenga

In the Fifties of the XX century, American provincial and urban roads were occupied by “groups of vagrants”, who theorized an unusual “on the road” culture with their own ethics and their own “way of life”. The assault on culture was the characteristic of this group of “beatnik”[1] poets, artists and literary men, which, retrospectively analysed, becomes an archetypal condition of XX century avant-garde. Historically the beat movement has been considered the first outcry phenomenon prior to an increasing movement of teenager opposition, holding the key points of what will prove to be a radical breakup of an all-embracing and absolutist system. Its rebellion came out of a widespread feeling of clear, visible refuse towards the dominant power, so that the beat alienation from the “system” was to be understood as a real revolutionary process rooted in the Self and directed to the liberation from any oppressive power. Sympathetic towards the present, narrated as it presented itself to their own eyes, the various “Kerouac, Ginsberg and Burroughs – Goffman wrote- avoided the direct participation to some of their hipster friends ‘desperate excesses, preferring to observe and express solidarity.” They could understand and identify themselves with Bill Cannastra, who danced on the broken glass and on the mouldings, who once lost his challenge with the death while climbing the window of a New York subway car. They offered comfort and shelter to Herbert Huncke, a heavy drug addict who used to get money pilfering in Time Square. An extraordinary performance, a kaleidoscope of images and sounds from the underground, through which the beat wanted to give a violent shock to the romantic views of civil society, to the routine and usual ways of observing and analysing the real world, the one represented indeed by “Cannastra’s death, drug addicts and street thugs who passed by the windows of a diner in Time Square, where they spent…their time with Huncke”. These desperate lives represented to the beat writer the evidence that “we were detached from the official perspective of history and reality”. An unconventional socio-political context mixed with an idyllic, raw and releasing language, used to eviscerate the American low-lives: it is here, among run-down premises and dump houses, that they were involved in the lives of dropout hipsters, developing a literary identity marked by independence and experimental research. Without any directional structure and without any organization to embrace the whole movement, the key aspects of the beat generation, besides the change and subversion of linguistic models, were the absence of a fixed commitment, the non-violence, and the absolute freedom, which prevented the emergence of any centralized and hierarchical structure. In fact, as Holstein writes, we- the beat- “before the links  of a society characterized by any structure, recognized the tribal links proper of a primitive communitarian feeling, directed to mutual help, hospitality, refuse of property, friendship and solidarity facing the world outside.”

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Tecno-scenari

What Big Data Is and How Can We Use It

di Luigi Laura

In recent years, we have witnessed an exponential growth of the amount of data we are generating. As an example, consider the numbers depicted in Figure 1, that shows what happens in one minute in Internet, for both the years 2016 and 2017. In a single minute, approximately 150 million email are sent, 350 thousand new tweets appear in Twitter, and 40 thousand posts in Instagram, both in 2016 and in 2017. But the figure allows us also to see the impressive growth, in a single year, of some statistics: the search queries in Google raised from 2.4 to 3.5 million, video views in Youtube jumped from 2.78 to 4.1 million, and Uber Rides almost triplicated, from approximately 1300 to 3800. WhatsApp messages exchanged went from 20 to 29 million. There is an explosion of data, and the natural question is whether we can use it to improve our daily lives. We already witnessed some examples in which we can exploit the data: Google Maps has real time information about traffic data, and suggests us the fastest route available according to this info. Amazon knows what we bought, i.e., what we like, and can suggest us similar items based on shopping preferences of people that have similar tastes. Apple (and other companies) can recognize our friends in the pictures, that are geolocalized thanks to the built-in GPS in our smartphones, and helps us in retrieving and organizing them. We choose restaurants and hotels based on the feedback of thousands of customers in Tripadvisor. Big Data is already in our lives. In the following section, we will try to provide a better picture of what Big Data is. Then, the natural question become “How can we use it?”

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