Sociology of Symbolic Systems (2011/2012)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Paola Di Nicola
Paola Di Nicola
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Sem. 2A, Sem. 2B

Lesson timetable

Sem. 2A
Day Time Type Place Note
Wednesday 2:00 PM - 4:30 PM lesson Lecture Hall 2.3  
Thursday 11:00 AM - 1:30 PM lesson Lecture Hall 2.3  
Sem. 2B
Day Time Type Place Note
Wednesday 1:00 PM - 3:30 PM lesson Lecture Hall Zorzi B from Apr 23, 2012  to May 9, 2012
Thursday 11:00 AM - 1:30 PM lesson Lecture Hall 1.6 from Apr 23, 2012  to May 9, 2012

Learning outcomes

The course starts from the premise that for the human behavior, the instinct is a weak predictor because individual is a ‘symbolic’ animal that fits in and works through social interaction ego-alter systems that become intelligible (make sense for the social actor) and give meaning to the interaction (ego-alter recognize each other) through a language (culture) that is both context and content for interaction.
For the whole society, their system integration and social cohesion, culture plays a central role and, to the extent that from one part it makes 'possible' the communication between systems and between social actors and institutions and from the other provides stability over time and conditions for its reproduction, despite the alternation of generations.


Part one: After a presentation of general theories of the relationship between culture and society (culture and social system, culture and social interaction), it will be highlighted the social processes through societies produce complex systems of interactions, which ensure stability and transmissibility. It will underlined the processes that are the basis of the formation of identity and role of 'symbols'.
Part two: it will be analyzed and highlighted the economic, political, historical and social process that have radically changed the ordering function in relation to the symbolic universe of individual experience in multicultural societies which have given rise to debate on policies for the recognition . It will be discussed the following topics: relationship society-culture, identity and sense of belonging, equality and diversity, multiculturalism and politics for recognition.
Testi per l’esame (frequentanti):
A) F. Crespi, Manuale di sociologia della cultura, Capitoli: Introduzione; 1. Concetti generali; 2. Teorie generali del rapporto tra cultura e società; 3. I diversi ambiti di produzione della cultura; Laterza, Bari-Roma, 2003
P. Berger, T. Luckmann, La realtà come costruzione sociale, Il Mulino, Bologna, 1969
L. Gattamorta, La società e i suoi simboli, Carocci, Roma, 2010
B) S. Benhabib, La rivendicazione dell’identità culturale, Il Mulino, Bologna, 2005
V. Cesareo, Società multietniche e multiculturalismi, Vita e Pensiero, Milano, 2000
J. Habermas, C. Taylor, Multiculturalismo. Lotte per il riconoscimento, Feltrinelli, Milano, 2007

Programma per non frequentanti

Gli studenti non frequentanti aggiungono al programma uno ( per una sola parte: 4 cfu) o due (per il corso completo: 9 cfu) dei seguenti testi:
A. Honneth, Lotte per il riconoscimento, Il Saggiatore, Milano, 2002
A, Honneth, Capitalismo e riconoscimento, University Press, Firenze
A.B. Seligman, La scommessa della modernità. L’autorità, il Sé e la trascendenza, Meltemi, Roma, 2002
M. Sandel, Giustizia. Il nostro bene comune, Feltrinelli, Milano, 2010

Assessment methods and criteria

Oral exam.