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Silvia Cataldi and Gennaro Iorio (Eds.) Social Love and the Critical Potential of People, New York, Routledge, 2023, pp. 347


  • Paul Norvy



The book revolves around five major themes structured in five sections: an overview of social love, social love as abundance, social love as care for others and the world, social love as universalism and social love as recognition of others. Each section provides an insight or overview of the theme and attempts to sketch evidence and present current issues. The book is divided into 21 chapters and contributed by more than 30 authors. Social love as a sociological concept needs clarity for the readers since it seems to reflect an old understanding of love. Cataldi and Iorio have attempted to bring out the nuances of social love, especially against the backdrop of the COVID-19 and Ukraine war. The book bases conceptual derivations from everyday life experience and quotes terms like solidarity refrigeration, street lawyers. The authors’ reference to the philosophical understanding of social love sketched back to Kierkegaard’s “ability to recognise the Other and their needs at centre generating trust, hope and social innovation”. The challenge before the authors is to explain how love can be a space for criticism of par excellence and love coincide with agape – over abundance – social action relationships and interactions. Cataldi also brings six axiological thinking from philosophical, sociological, contemporary, feminist, critical sociologist and interdisciplinary traverse. The book argumentatively captures the readers’ minds in reflecting on daily living experiences to validate the arguments from a theoretical perspective. The research perspectives of social love are critical as they try to distinguish researcher and subject that becomes a ‘place of cognitive process, the space of the soul’.