Sociology of Symbolic Systems (2017/2018)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Paola Di Nicola
Paola Di Nicola
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Sem. IA, Sem. IB

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

The course aims to focus on the profound changes that have invested contemporary society in the reflexive modernity. They are economic, political and cultural factors that have an impact not only on society as a whole, but especially on the biographies of individual life. Politicization of the economy, the decline of the Fordist mode of production, weakening the boundaries of nation-states and multiculturalism are detectable at the macro level processes, but which give rise, at the micro level, a profound redefinition of the individual-society relationship and the processes of construction of identity. Individualization, de-institutionalization and pluralization of cultural systems give rise to new social configurations, in which plants become the networks of relationships and the dynamics of the personal network construction.
The deepening of the new social dynamics aims to give students and students of the Master's degree in Pedagogical Sciences the tools to reduce their planning and / or organization and coordination of educational services in a socio-cultural and social context characterized by high levels of complexity.


A)First part: in the first part of the course, the topic of political, cultural and economic environments will be deepened from the text of A. Giddens, which highlights how the current dynamics of modernity, in particular the breakdown of the systems processes social impact on the concept of trust, risk, safety and danger. Take shape new social configurations (reflexive modernity and ciange modern osicial imaginaries.).
Topics covered:
- modernity / post-modernity: radicalization of processes
- the limits of a reading of modernity only as capitalist development
- how trust and risk environments change from the transition from traditional society to modern society
- the dark side of modernity: bureaucracy and totalitarianism
- the moral order of modernity
- the economy as an objectified reality
- the rise of the public and private sphere.

B) Second part: the second part of the course will address the issue of reflexive modernity from some specific perspectives: How family and intimate relationships change, how the changes of the work is being reflected in social and systemic integration mechanisms; the problem of recognition in an increasingly multicultural and individualized society; such as dynamic freedom-security, belonging and individualisation influence the mechanisms of construction of identities 'reflexive'.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
S. Sasken Espulsioni Il Mulino 2015
Paola Di Nicola Famiglia: sostantivo plurale. Nuovi orizzonti e vecchi problemi (Edizione 2) Franco Angeli 2017 9788891759672
M. Nussbaum Giustizia sociale e dignità umana il Mulino 2002
Charles Taylor Gli immaginari sociali moderni Meltemi 2005
R. Castel Incertezze crescenti Editrice socialmente 2015
M. Nussbaum L'approccio delle capacità 2004
Antony Giddens Le conseguenze della modernità (Edizione 1) Il Mulino 1994
S. Moller Okin Le donne e la giustizia (Edizione 1999) Dedalo 1999
R. Castel L'insicurezza sociale Einaudi 2004
Vincenzo Cesareo Società multietniche e multiculturalismi Vita e Pensiero 2004

Assessment methods and criteria

Assessment methods: Oral examination.
In the oral assessment the following knowledge and skills will be certified:
- knowledge of the most important dynamics of reflexive modernity;
- ability to focus on the different perspectives of analysis (the micro level of interpersonal relationships, the meso level of group relationships, the macro level of social imaginaries), to address the ongoing social changes (to demonstrate to understood th edifferent prospecst of analysi ;
- the ability to develop autonomy of judgment in relation to the topics proposed and developed within the course, taking into account the different theories and perspectives.