Social theory (2017/2018)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Luca Mori
Luca Mori
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Sem. IA dal Sep 25, 2017 al Nov 11, 2017.

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

The course aims at deepening some of the main theoretical developments of Durkhemian sociology.


After having presented the main features of Durkheimian sociology, the course will focus on two of the most original innovators of this theoretical tradition, i. e. Erving Goffman and Pierre Bourdieu. On one hand, drawing on Goffman, we will discuss the social processes of construction of individuality and those regarding the ritual order of social interaction. On the other hand, drawing on Bourdieu, we will take into consideration concepts such as those of habitus, fields, symbolic capital and symbolic violence.

To fully understand the contents of the course it is not requested any particular knowledge, except some general notions of history of modern and contemporary philosophy.

What is social order? The Durkheim's answer
Social sanctions and moral sanctions
The coercive nature of social facts and the role of emotions regarding social solidarity
Civil society, the State, and social solidarity
Religion, rituality and social solidarity

Being individual as a social fact;
the ritual construction of individuality: the face-work;
deference and demeanor as forms of self construction;
the ritual order and the social construction of reality;
the interaction order as a sui generis form of social order.

The objectivism/subjectivism dilemma;
the interiorization of the social: the concept of habitus;
the exteriorization of the social: the concept of field;
the forms of capital: culture, economics, society symbols;
social order, social injustice and symbolic violence.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Bourdieu P. Campo del potere e campo intellettuale Manifestolibri 2002 SOLO pp. 51-82
Goffman E. Il rituale dell'interazione Il Mulino 1988 SOLO pp. 95-164
Goffman E. La vita quotidiana come rappresentazione Il Mulino 1997 SOLO pp. 95-164
Durkheim É. Le forme elementari della vita religiosa Meltemi 2005 SOLO pp. 243-297
Durkheim É. Le regole del metodo sociologico. Sociologia e Filosofia Edizioni di Comunità 1996 [SOLO pp. 23-57 e pp. 165-206].
Durkheim É. Lezioni di sociologia Etas 1973 SOLO pp. 91-100
Goffman E. L'ordine dell'interazione Armando 1998
Bourdieu P. Meditazioni pascaliane Feltrinelli  1998 SOLO pp. 135-216
Bourdieu P., Wacquant L. J. D. Risposte. Per un’antropologia riflessiva Bollati Boringhieri 1992 SOLO pp. 66-135
Bourdieu P. The forms of capital. In: J. Richardson, (ed.) Handbook of Theory and Research for the Sociology of Education Greenwood. 1986

Assessment methods and criteria

The final exam will consist of a written test. The candidate will have to answer to 4 open questions in 2 hours of time. Three questions will deal with the topics presented and discussed during the course. The fourth question will try to elicit the critical analysis skills of the candidates. More clearly, the students will be asked to provide a personal reflection on some topics treated during the course (a comparison, a critical comment, an empirical exemplificaton, etc.)

- the degree of comprehension of the discipline;
- the degree of comprehension of the single concepts;
- the capacity of presenting theoretical problems;
- the mastery of the disciplinary lexicon;
- the capacity to connect different topics;
- The capacity to provide powerful empirical exemplification of the theoretical concepts discussed.