This book is a tribute to Enzo Mingione and his contribution to the fields of sociology and urban studies on the occasion of his retirement. It touches upon the processes of transformation of cities to the informal economy, from the Fordist crisis to the rediscovery of poverty, from the welfare state and welfare policies to migration and the transformation of work. These themes constitute the analytical building blocks of this book on the transitions that Western capitalist societies are undergoing. The book focuses on social foundations of Western capitalism, explaining how socio-economic and institutional complementarities that characterised postwar capitalism created relatively integrated socio-economic regimes, It has five thematic sections reflecting five areas of capitalism, the search interests of Enzo Mingione. The first discusses the transformations of global capitalism, addressing how capitalism works and how it changes. The second provides insights into the mechanisms of re-embedding, in particular how welfare policies are part of a societal reaction to capitalism's disruptive dynamic. The third addresses some main challenges that citizenship systems established in the post-war period have had to face, from the spread of new employment regimes to new migratory flows. The fourth addresses cities and their transformation and the final section addresses poverty and its spatial dimension as a crucial lens through which to understand the differentiated impact of the processes of change in Western capitalist societies, both in socio-economic and spatial terms.
This chapter illustrates the social foundations of capitalism and puts forward the argument that there is a constant tension between dis-embedding and re-embedding mechanisms of economic activity into a less commodified society. It deals with the transformations that Western capitalist societies are undergoing, and how the double movement operates. The chapter highlights how the socio-economic and institutional complementarities that characterised postwar capitalism created relatively integrated socio-economic regimes, which have been inherently challenged since the 1970s. It addresses the relevant role played by the increased mobility of capital, labour and goods in this process, underlining their crucial destabilising impact on contemporary fragmented capitalism. Finally, the chapter also presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in this book. The book reconstructs the debate about capitalism and its transformations within the urban tradition. It shows how social policies have undergone important reforms, partly undermining their sheltering capacities.