All posts by admin

The Elemental Forms of Social Life

A draft is available upon request.

translucent-concrete-2The Elemental Forms of Social Life

Abstract. The notion of elemental reality is parsed here as instrumental to a renewal of the understanding of social formations, orders, processes, events, and, more generally, social life. In an attempt to analyze how an elemental reality can be said to be at play, the category of ‘the visible’ is considered, so as to evince some of its constitutive dimensions, properties, and moments.

Keywords: social theory; medium theory; social environment; elemental reality; the visible



Tu es seul le matin va venir
Les laitiers font tinter leurs bidons dans les rues

La nuit s’eloigne ainsi qu’une belle Métive
C’est Ferdine la fausse ou Léa 1′attentive

Et tu bois cet alcool brulant comme ta vie
Ta vie que tu bois comme une eau-de-vie

Tu marches vers Auteuil tu veux aller chez toi à pied
Dormir parmi tes fetiches d’Océanie et de Guinée
ils sont des Christ d’une autre forme et d’une autre croyance
Ce sont les Christ inférieurs des obscures ésperances

Adieu Adieu

Soleil cou coupé


Apollinaire, Alcools (1913)


…as a rope and a branch…

The womb accepts the seed which has fallen into it and protects it as it takes root – for first the navel grows in the womb, as Democritus says, as an anchorage against rolling and drifting, as a rope and a branch for the fruit which is being generated and coming to be.



Activated. Towards a Sociology of Reaction (with Lorenzo Sabetta)

Out now in European Journal of Social Theory –


The reactive complexion of social relations, though empirically pervasive, is analytically neglected. Yet, reaction seems a surprisingly useful category to make sense of the extensive environmental links of behavior/action lying at the very junction of social phenomenology (the here-and-now) and social ecology (the elsewhere-at-other-times). To advance a deeper theorization of this category, we start by mobilizing Mauss’s notion of ‘counter-gift’, elaborating on three interactionist properties (investments, rhythms, and the psyche-society nexus) which make the moment of reaction pivotal. Next, we show how reactions are less deterministic than usually assumed, by examining a series of counterintuitive configurations where the action-reaction link is nonlinear and circuitous. Since receptions and consequent responses to others’ acts are determined by factors of speed and intensity, we then address both dromological and morphogenetic aspects of reaction processes. The last part of this article looks into war as a large-scale reactive formation, proposing that social interaction gets ‘activated’ mainly through mutual (and, not infrequently, adverse) replies among actors.


Theories of social action; interactionism; structuralism; behaviorism; exchange theory; action and reaction; political conflict; war.



The adventurer, in a word, treats the incalculable element in life in the way we ordinarily treat only what we think is by definition calculable. (For this reason, the philosopher is the adventurer of the spirit. He makes the hopeless, but not therefore meaningless, attempt to form into conceptual knowledge an attitude of the soul, its mood toward itself, the world, God. He treats this insoluble problem as if it were soluble.)

Georg Simmel

Public Space and the Study of Urban Territories

An online seminar to be given  on Thursday 07 December 2023 Time: 12:30-13:30 (UTC+00:00 – Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London.)


In this lecture, Professor Brighenti seeks to introduce territoriology as a research approach and a sensitivity that can be applied to the study of public space. He explores the intersection between social theory, ethnography, human geography and design as helpful to study territorial productions in the making. Each territory is shaped by imaginational and figurational forces of social life as they get incorporated into a set of materials. Starting from this assumption, he would like to illustrate a few cases and possible applications in the field of urban studies.

To get the Zoom link, pls contact ARCHI Research <>

The Social Logic of Leadership

A reading of Ruben Östlund’s Triangle of Sadness through Fascist and Aberrant Leadership
Abstract. In this piece, we puzzle about the social logic of leadership through the lens of the movie Triangle of Sadness (2022), directed by the Swedish filmmaker Ruben Östlund. We flesh out a distinction between two modes of leadership, which we call, respectively, fascist and aberrant, and elaborate on how these are seen at work in the film. Phenomena of leadership, we suggest, illustrate the workings of social logic ex vivo, and offer exquisite examples of how intensities intervene in social interaction, giving rise to the tensive states in which the local protagonists of interaction are caught.

Keywords: social theory, social interaction, social logic, social intensities, leadership

–> Contact me if interested in reading the draft!