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The Italian approach to philosophical practices: A socio-cultural perspective

Esposito, Silvia Maria (2023) The Italian approach to philosophical practices: A socio-cultural perspective. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.101023) (KAR id:101023)


My thesis analyses how and why several different disciplines such as Philosophical Counselling, Philosophy for Children and for Community, Socratic Dialogue, Café Philo and Philosophy for Management, have spread in Italy in the 1990s, after being imported from the countries where they originated. These disciplines, which create a new controversial specialism, can be deployed in numerous and disparate fields, such as education, workplace, private life, and leisure. They are characterised by different methodological approaches and have multiple purposes which have been defined as educational, therapeutic, conciliatory, pragmatic, or simply critical. Despite their differences, they have been grouped in Italy under the general label of ‘pratiche filosofiche’ (philosophical practices). In my thesis, I consider philosophical practices as a socio-cultural phenomenon, and as a product of a specific environment. Focusing on Philosophical counselling and Philosophy for Children, I assess the extent to which the Italian cultural, political and institutional milieu has influenced the development of a specifically Italian take on philosophical practices compared to their initial tenets. My main argument is that the introduction of these practices in Italy has represented a partially unsuccessful response to the crisis of institutional philosophy and humanistic culture that is raging not only in Italy but also across the globe. I show that the Italian institutional and cultural context has favoured the emergence of these disciplines as a product to be marketed to an audience of aspiring practitioners and potential users, which jeopardizes their innovative drive. Lastly, I acknowledge the potential of philosophical practices in the country by articulating them to the currents of ‘Italian Theory’, thus highlighting the political value ofsome original applications of these disciplines in the Italian context.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.101023
Uncontrolled keywords: philosophical Counselling; philosophy for Children and for Community; socratic Dialogue; café Philo; philosophy for Management; Italy
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Culture and Languages
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2023 08:31 UTC
Last Modified: 25 Apr 2023 15:08 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Esposito, Silvia Maria.

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