Domenico De Masi (1 February, 1938 – 9 September 2023) was an eminent Italian sociologist and academic. He held the title of Professor Emeritus of Sociology of Work at the Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”, where he was also the head of the Faculty of Communication Sciences. De Masi had a wide range of interests spanning from the sociology of work and organizations to urban systems and creativity. He left a lasting impact not only in Italy but also globally, particularly in Brazil.
Early Life and Education
Born in Rotello in 1938, De Masi attended the liceo classico secondary school in Caserta. He later moved to Perugia, where he graduated in Law in 1960. He specialized in sociology of work in Paris.
His academic journey began in Naples at Federico II University, where he served as an assistant professor in sociology. Concurrently, he was involved in research at the ‘Nord e Sud’ study center directed by Giuseppe Galasso, focusing on informal groups and trade unions at the Italsider plant in Bagnoli.
De Masi moved to Milan, where he worked for the CMF company of the IRI-Finsider group until 1966. He was instrumental in the founding of the Associazione Italiana Formatori (AIF), later becoming its president.
Rome and La Sapienza
In 1966, he transitioned to Rome, becoming a lecturer at IFAP, the Iri Centre for the Study of Corporate Management Functions. From 1977, he joined La Sapienza in Rome, holding various roles, including President of the Faculty of Communication Sciences.
S3.Studium and Further Initiatives
De Masi founded S3.Studium, a postgraduate specialization school in organizational sciences, in 1978. In 2000, he transformed it into a consultancy and research company. He also co-founded S3Acta SrL with sociologists Delia Zingarelli and Giovanna Scarpitti in 1989.
Influence in Brazil
De Masi’s works were highly popular in Brazil. He consulted for organizations like Sebrae and the State of Santa Catarina, as well as TV Globo. His research in Brazilian culture resulted in several publications.
Civil and Political Work
De Masi was involved in various non-profit initiatives. He was the president of Istituto Nazionale di Architettura and briefly for Parco nazionale del Cilento, Vallo di Diano e Alburni. With Ermete Realacci and Alessandro Profumo, he founded Symbola, an association of outstanding companies.
Paradigm and Contributions
De Masi developed his sociological paradigm focusing on the world of work, influenced by thinkers such as Tocqueville, Marx, and Taylor. He contributed to the development of the post-industrial paradigm, emphasizing the role of creative groups and creativity.
De Masi authored several significant publications, including:
- Sociologia urbana e dello sviluppo
- Sociologia del lavoro e dell’organizzazione
- Sociologia delle organizzazioni creative
- Smart working: La rivoluzione del lavoro intelligente
De Masi moved to Sant’Agata de’ Goti when he was eight years old. He was married twice and had two children from his first marriage.
Domenico De Masi left a profound impact on the field of sociology, particularly in understanding the dynamics of work in a post-industrial society. His work remains an essential resource for scholars, policymakers, and social thinkers alike.