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Peripheries, Social Vulnerabilities, Communities: Interdisciplinary Approaches, Methods and Practices for a Sustainable Future

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Social Ecology and Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 May 2024) | Viewed by 17368

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Laboratory of Psychology and Social Processes in Sport, University of Rome “Foro Italico”, 00135 Rome, Italy
Interests: sociology; urban health; lifestyles; culture; methodology of research; prevention; health; wellbeing; medical sociology; phisical activity; sport; nutrition
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Department of Social Sciences, University of Naples, 80136 Naples, Italy
Interests: methodology of social research; digital methods; mixed methods; political and institutional communication; risk communication; welfare and social policy; local development; tourism; peripheries

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Guest Editor
Department of Political and Communication Science, University of Salerno, 84084 Fisciano, SA, Italy
Interests: social research methods; digital methods; digital capital; migration; gender studies

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

a. Focus: Social vulnerabilities are a central theme that can be inferred from the 17 Sustainable Development Goals—SDGs—by the United Nations (United Nations Development Program. (2015)). Environmental and human sustainability, well-being, and equality of access to resources are among the aspects taken into account more extensively in the goals, which aim at significantly improving the living conditions of the world population, demonstrating how sustainable development cannot be achieved without a significant transformation of the way we build and manage our urban and rural spaces, our environment, our sense of community, our health.

b. Scope: This call aims to raise the question of social vulnerabilities as a central issue in the perspective of a sustainable approach to progress. Talking about vulnerability means talking about segregation, social and symbolic peripheries (OECD, 2018; Wilson, 1987; Alberio & Benassi, 2013; Marcuse, 1997), the sense of belonging that defines the community, the values of care the community has for itself (Park, 1967; Chavis & Wandersman, 2002; Farahani, 2016). This requires a rethinking of the concept of society’s well-being, as defined by the WHO (WHO, 2008). It means considering also the economic organization of the society, the spatial organization of the social groups, the material and intangible distribution of resources, the culture of lifestyles, of the communication and prevention, the methods of interpersonal relationships, the conditions of social mobility, education, access to services and land management as parameters for evaluating social sustainability. In essence, talking about social and peripheral vulnerabilities implies a redefinition of the term community as a principle from which to restart building more cohesive societies designed for ethical behavioral practices.

c. Purpose: Understanding and resolving such a complex problem requires an interdisciplinary dialogue. This call for papers is therefore urging for a comparison between different areas of study such as those on vulnerabilities, peripheries, segregation, communities and the related research methods, in order to contribute to answering the requests from international organizations to rethink the practices of building a sense of community and reduction of social vulnerabilities and to make room for sustainability as a founding value for present and future societies.

Mahmoudi Farahani, L. (2016). The value of the sense of community and neighbouring. Housing, theory and society33(3), 357-376.

United Nations Development Program. (2015). Sustainable Development Goals. [online]. United Nations. Retrieved from https://www.undp. org/content/undp/en/home/sustainable-development-goals.html.

Commission on Social Determinants of Health. Closing the gap in a generation. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2008.

Park, R. E. (1967). The city: Suggestions for the investigation of human behavior in the urban environment. In R. E. Park, E. W. Burgess, & R. D. McKenzie (Eds.), The city (pp. 1-46). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. (Original work published 1925)

Chavis, D. M., & Wandersman, A. (2002). Sense of community in the urban environment: A catalyst for participation and community development. In A quarter century of community psychology (pp. 265-292). Springer, Boston, MA.

OECD (2018). Divided cities: Understanding intra-urban inequalities. OECD

Marcuse P. (1997). The Enclave, the Citadel, and the Ghetto: What has Changed in the Post-Fordist U.S. City. Urban Affairs Review 33(2): 228:264.

Alberio M., Benassi D. (2013). Povertà urbana. In: Vicari Haddock S., a cura di, Questioni urbane. Caratteri e problemi della città contemporanea. Bologna: Il Mulino.

Wilson 1987 = William Julius Wilson, Th e truly disadvantaged: Th e inner city, the underclass, and public policy, Chicago, University of Chicago, 1987.

Dr. Francesca Romana Lenzi
Dr. Maria Palazzo
Dr. Gabriella Punziano
Dr. Felice Addeo
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

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Keywords

  • social vulnerabilities
  • communities
  • methods
  • social peripheries
  • interdisciplinary approach

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

14 pages, 1655 KiB  
Article
Vulnerability and Inner Areas in Italy—“Should Young Stay or Should Young Go”? A Survey in the Molise Region
by Daniela Grignoli, Mariangela D’Ambrosio and Danilo Boriati
Sustainability 2024, 16(1), 359; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16010359 - 30 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 904
Abstract
This article explores the depopulation phenomenon in the context of the Molise region, an Inner Area in the south of Italy, considering it as an indicator of emerging social vulnerability. In particular, this paper presents the results of a quantitative study conducted in [...] Read more.
This article explores the depopulation phenomenon in the context of the Molise region, an Inner Area in the south of Italy, considering it as an indicator of emerging social vulnerability. In particular, this paper presents the results of a quantitative study conducted in Molise on a non-probabilistic sample composed of 89 respondents through an online self-administered semi-structured questionnaire. This research may contribute to stimulating reflection on social vulnerability studies by explaining that, in the age of complexity, societies, although simple, are not builders of social capital capable of protecting against social vulnerability. In particular, the data reveal that more than 2/3 of the sample (+75%) do not participate in community activities (events at volunteer centers; civic and political activities; and events youth aggregation centers). For this reason, it is important to improve solidarity, which is the core of new strategies of proximity welfare that help to reduce depopulation. Full article
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22 pages, 8278 KiB  
Article
Multidisciplinary Evaluation of Vulnerabilities: Communities in Northern Mexico
by Francisco Valderrey, Lina Carreño, Simone Lucatello and Emanuele Giorgi
Sustainability 2023, 15(17), 13077; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151713077 - 30 Aug 2023
Viewed by 929
Abstract
This article takes a holistic view of vulnerabilities within several communities in northern Mexico. The authors use a mixed-methods approach, combining quantitative and qualitative data collection methods to capture different dimensions of vulnerability. Using the multidimensional vulnerability framework (MVI), they analyze socioeconomic indicators, [...] Read more.
This article takes a holistic view of vulnerabilities within several communities in northern Mexico. The authors use a mixed-methods approach, combining quantitative and qualitative data collection methods to capture different dimensions of vulnerability. Using the multidimensional vulnerability framework (MVI), they analyze socioeconomic indicators, including poverty rates, income inequality, access to essential services, and economic well-being in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. Environmental factors such as water scarcity, pollution levels, and natural resource degradation are also included to understand the ecological challenges those communities face, and political factors, including governance structures and policies, determine their influence on vulnerability and resilience. The result indicates that the community prioritizes ecological indicators over social ones. However, in each community this is heterogeneous. In both cases, the ecological and social indicators selected allow for a multidisciplinary approach to vulnerability. By identifying and understanding these issues, policy makers, researchers, and community leaders can work collaboratively to design strategies to mitigate the impacts of these vulnerabilities. In addition, architects and urban planners can offer specific interventions to benefit these communities. This research contributes to the broader field of vulnerability studies by demonstrating the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to understanding and addressing the complex web of vulnerability faced by communities in northern Mexico and territories that share similar characteristics. Full article
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15 pages, 304 KiB  
Article
Digitalization in Trail Running: Digital Tools as Sustainable Outdoor Infrastructure
by Orsolya Czegledi, Simon Beaucousin, Daniel Caballero-Julià and Philippe Campillo
Sustainability 2023, 15(14), 11085; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151411085 - 16 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1368
Abstract
Studies focusing on the territorial impact of outdoor activities rarely take into account the use of digital tools, such as digital mobile devices and applications. However, these digital tools can serve as sustainable outdoor infrastructure. While digital technology is not universally embraced by [...] Read more.
Studies focusing on the territorial impact of outdoor activities rarely take into account the use of digital tools, such as digital mobile devices and applications. However, these digital tools can serve as sustainable outdoor infrastructure. While digital technology is not universally embraced by trail runners today, consumer studies confirm a growing usage of digital equipment. To provide a concrete example of how digital tools are used and their potential, our study aimed to understand the patterns of digital use among trail runners in France. Through an online questionnaire study (n = 699), we found four main logics of digital use: (1) playful visit, (2) tourist discovery, (3) performance analysis, and (4) social use. Among all forms of use, the most commonly mentioned applications used by respondents during their trail runs were Strava, Garmin, and Suunto. Overall, trail runners demonstrated a high proficiency in digital use, with 95% reporting the use of these applications. Full article
24 pages, 7643 KiB  
Article
The Future of Fisheries Co-Management in the Context of the Sustainable Blue Economy and the Green Deal: There Is No Green without Blue
by Stella Sofia Kyvelou, Dimitrios G. Ierapetritis and Michalis Chiotinis
Sustainability 2023, 15(10), 7784; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15107784 - 9 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2383
Abstract
Appropriate governance structures are extremely important for fishery-dependent communities in developing integrated territorial development strategies and an adaptive capacity for change, including a climate one. This paper assesses to what extent fishery co-management schemes (e.g., fishery LAGs, being regional/local governance instruments in fishing [...] Read more.
Appropriate governance structures are extremely important for fishery-dependent communities in developing integrated territorial development strategies and an adaptive capacity for change, including a climate one. This paper assesses to what extent fishery co-management schemes (e.g., fishery LAGs, being regional/local governance instruments in fishing communities) are strengthening sustainability. The latter includes improving energy efficiency, promoting renewable energy sources (RES), coping with the climate crisis, minimizing environmental impacts, and promoting a sustainable blue economy. For detecting the policy aspects of aligning climate neutrality and a sustainable blue economy, the research lens focuses on the Greek Fisheries Local Action Groups (FLAGs), given that these are mostly located in coastal/marine and insular territories with significant blue growth potential. To map and assess their capacity and efficiency in pursuing Green Deal objectives, a co-development process with FLAG managers was put in place. The results and findings of this process reveal the scarcity of sustainability and blue-economy-related strategies. The key conclusion is that a transition to a post-carbon blue economy on a local level requires an understanding of the evolutionary dynamics of fishery co-management schemes. The latter, being multi-sectoral structures, may boost dialogue and cooperation to harmonize local development strategies and EU policies. Maritime spatial planning (MSP), as an evolutionary governance process itself, can be a driver for making FLAGs evolve and strengthen commonization, blue justice, and equity for fishers. Full article
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15 pages, 306 KiB  
Article
Brand Activism for Sustainable Development Goals: A Comparative Analysis in the Beauty and Personal Care Industry
by Maria Giovanna Confetto, Maria Palazzo, Maria Antonella Ferri and Mara Normando
Sustainability 2023, 15(7), 6245; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15076245 - 5 Apr 2023
Viewed by 5055
Abstract
National policymakers are now faced with the challenge of implementing the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and achieving the scopes envisioned through its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) worldwide. Diversity discrimination and social inequalities often responsible for sociopolitical uncertainty are at the [...] Read more.
National policymakers are now faced with the challenge of implementing the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and achieving the scopes envisioned through its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) worldwide. Diversity discrimination and social inequalities often responsible for sociopolitical uncertainty are at the heart of the agenda. Increasingly, corporations are pushed to take a public stance on controversial issues, promoting social improvements through their power to lead social change. This phenomenon is known in the academic literature as brand activism (BA). Many companies, for example, are exposing themselves to the need to cope with the equality gap that still exists on aspects such as gender, race and age, especially those operating in the beauty and personal care industry. The purpose of this paper is to explore how BA is being used as a driver for equality and inclusion, supporting the achievement of the related SDGs 5 and 10. Through a comparative analysis of the two inclusive brands Dove and L’Oréal, this study aims to capture BA under different corporate strategies in terms of stated values, initiatives and digital communication. Both theoretical and managerial perspectives are offered in the study, which emphasizes that different activist approaches can be successful, provided strong and consistent values are adhered to. The findings of this research show that although the two brands use different activist approaches, one more communicative and the other less so, both are successful because they reflect authentic and consistent values that are considered positively by consumers. Therefore, the study questions the dominant view that BA authenticity is linked to marketing, placing greater emphasis on prosocial corporate practices over communication. Full article
15 pages, 821 KiB  
Article
The Sustainability of Emerging Social Vulnerabilities: The Hikikomori Phenomenon in Southern Italy
by Vincenzo Esposito, Felice Addeo, Valentina D’Auria and Francesca Romana Lenzi
Sustainability 2023, 15(4), 3869; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15043869 - 20 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2839
Abstract
We can classify the Hikikomori phenomenon with the classification of “social pathology”: the Hikikomori phenomenon, and its spread in society, appear to be a real danger to the sustainability and resilience of the very society in which it occurs. This is because the [...] Read more.
We can classify the Hikikomori phenomenon with the classification of “social pathology”: the Hikikomori phenomenon, and its spread in society, appear to be a real danger to the sustainability and resilience of the very society in which it occurs. This is because the social isolation of an individual, especially if young and non-independent, impacts the community of reference in human, economic and psychological terms. Therefore, an analysis that investigates the social aspects of the Hikikomori phenomenon cannot disregard the fact that it can be said to be sustainable in the community of reference within which it occurs. This, without wishing to produce a judgment on the merits of the social pathology, is relevant to assessing the capacity of that community to sustain its presence and spread and the human and social costs required to contain it. The research aims to explore the Hikikomori phenomenon in the context of Southern Italy, considering it as an emerging social vulnerability that impacts very deeply onto the sustainability of a social, economic and community systems such as the Campania region one. The following paper therefore presents empirical work conducted in southern Italy, in the Campania region. The methodology used is Mixed Methods, and the research design is Sequential Exploratory. The respondents were reached through the help of the association Hikikomori Italia. Full article
12 pages, 880 KiB  
Article
Performing Group-Based Physical Activity (Gbpa) in the Work-Place: Survey and Sociological Considerations of the “Happy Bones” Project
by Francesca Romana Lenzi, Eliana Tranchita, Elisa Grazioli, Claudia Cerulli, Vincenzo Esposito, Giuseppe Coppola, Elisa Moretti, Caterina Mauri, Carlo Minganti and Attilio Parisi
Sustainability 2023, 15(1), 480; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15010480 - 28 Dec 2022
Viewed by 1868
Abstract
The goal of the following work was to identify the effects, positive or negative, of performing group-based physical activity (GBPA) in the workplace. In addition, the scope of the present research was to investigate some social and relational aspects of medical origin associated [...] Read more.
The goal of the following work was to identify the effects, positive or negative, of performing group-based physical activity (GBPA) in the workplace. In addition, the scope of the present research was to investigate some social and relational aspects of medical origin associated with the Happy Bones project. The sample consisted of 28 women between 47 and 67 years old, employees of the University of Rome “Foro Italico”, in menopause, and inactive. The explorative nature of the investigation and the multidimensional aspect of the variables suggested the adoption of a qualitative method. Even though the survey did not fulfil the minimum standards of representativeness, interview analysis showed a positive trend in joining physical activity in the workplace, as shown by the good compliance of the participants with the proposed workplace training protocol. Personal motivation linked to the project itself or to the corresponding activity existed albeit to a secondary extent; the unifying element of the group existed regardless of the project and was due to the home institution, hence to the workplace. Full article
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