Since the 1960’s, developing countries in Latin America started a complex journey towards establishing new values, the ones of modernity. This volume considers the work of renowned Italian-Argentine sociologist Gino Germani, who more than anyone else has been able to outline the process of modernization from this particular aspect. The author highlights Germani’s idea of ‘freedom’ as a crucial and unavoidable concept at the core of the “modern” way of being individuals, subjects, social actors and active participants within a social system. Germani also refers to the opposite direction, that of social marginality, and suggests that a ‘free’ human being is somebody who is responsible for his or her actions. Within this context, every human being is the bearer of rights insofar as he or she is capable of making choices, taking responsibilities and, able to identify – on a footing of equality with everyone else – the right and duty to be free. Bringing a new light to the great 20th century sociologist’ thought, this book aims to trace the path of modernization and the timely issues of freedom, marginality, and participation that still profoundly defines our social structure.

Marco Alberto Quiroz Vitale, graduated with a degree in Law from the University of Milan in 1967 and received his PhD in Sociology of Political and Legal Institutions from the University of Macerata in 1992. In 2015, he received a PhD Honoris Causa in Law from the University “Inca Garcilaso de la Vega” of Lima (Peru). He is currently Assistant Professor in Philosophy and Sociology of Law at the University of Milan, where he teaches Sociology of Law and Sociology of human rights and the Ombudsman.