The effective reality of facts in the sociology of Vilfredo Pareto: perspectives of sociological interpretations in contemporary European societies
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Vilfredo Pareto’s work and life counts a number of experiences combined with radical changes of perspectives. As final step of interpretation of reality, Pareto was to turn to Sociology as the “extreme synthesis aiming at studying in general human society”. The way, or methodology, of this “ sociological synthesis” has to be guided -according to Pareto- only by “experience and observation”. If on the one side the Paretian approach was seen as the beginning of a Structural-functionalist sociological analysis, on the other it is also a radical perspective on social facts as essential data for reality interpretation. This paper is the initial outcome of a research on Pareto’s thinking. Is his sociological imagination still debating to contemporary European society development and change? Historically, it is perhaps plausible to identify three type of societies: 1) A traditional type of society in which laws are less important than traditions; societies of acceptance and substantial stagnation; 2) A type of “elitarian society”, where groups of privileged people rule the society as a monoclass society (Nazism and fascism were born as mass reactions to these elitarian societies). 3) Contemporary society, in which the pressure of citizenship is trying to change the shape of power and the electronic communication media break up social partitions. ntering this third kind of society, all the issues that Pareto presented in his Trattato as the necessary questions to be faced in order to complete economic system and posit it in the social and political sphere, are at stake. The limits of economimc approach to social change interpretation was already clear to Pareto. How does contemporary society find its orientation? This paper will go through this debate starting from Pareto reflections on social change and social action.