Sociology of Symbolic Systems (2018/2019)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Paola Di Nicola
Paola Di Nicola
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Sem. 1A, Sem. 1B

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

1. Knowledge and understanding
General objective. At the end of the course the student will be able to: know and understand the economic, social, political and cultural dynamics that marked the transition to reflective modernity, redefining, at the macro level, the institution of the society and, at the level micro, interpersonal relationships and between social groups.
Specific training objectives of the course: The course aims to focus on the profound changes that have affected contemporary society in reflective modernity. To highlight how economic, political and cultural changes affect society as a whole and on individual life biographies.

2. Ability to apply knowledge and understanding
General objective. At the end of the course the student will be able to: use the sociological knowledge to design projects or coordinate services in socio-cultural contexts with high levels of complexity, in light of the most relevant processes of de-institutionalization and privatization.
Specific training objectives of the course. The course has the objective of to highlight how the processes of politicization of the economy, the decline of the Fordist mode of production, sunset of the Fordist mode of production, weakening of the boundaries of nation-states, privatization of interpersonal and intimate relations and multiculturalism invest the most relevant social institutions (family and educational system) and give rise to - at the micro level - a profound redefinition of the relationship between individual and society and the processes of identity building


Course programme:
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:
- introduction to processes fo globalization
- the moral order of modernity: rationality, ethics of responsibility and work, civic engagement, the birth of the public and private sphere
- 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

B) Second part: the second part of the course will address the issue of reflexive modernity from specific perspectives of economism and privatism.
Topics covered:
-the new social imaginaries: the rediscovery of feelings, ethics of self-realization, privatism, civic disengagemen and economy as an objectified reality
- changes in intimate and family relationships: privatization and de-institutionalization of the family, new family forms and new forms of parenting
- the commodification of intimate life
- diversity and equality in multicultural societies

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
C. Taylor Il disagio della modernità Laterza 2011
Susan Moller Okin La donna e la giustizia Dedalo 1999
Antony Giddens Le conseguenze della modernità (Edizione 1) Il Mulino 1994
R. Castel L'insicurezza sociale Einaudi 2004
A. Russel Hochschild Per amore o per denaro Il MUlino 2006
Vincenzo Cesareo Società multietniche e multiculturalismi Vita e Pensiero 2004

Assessment methods and criteria

Teaching methods: lectures and group work at the end of the first part and the second part to verify students' ability to apply the acquired knowledge to analyze and understand the dynamics and social processes in progress.

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 analysis;
- 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.
Reading List: Attending students:
First Part
1. A. Giddens, Le conseguenze della modernità, Il Mulino, Bologna, 1994
2. C. Taylor, Il disagio della modernità, Laterza, Bari-Roma, 2011

Second Part
3. P. Di Nicola, Famiglia: sostantivo plurale, II edizione aggiornata, FrancoAngeli, 2017
4. V. Cesareo, Società multietniche e multiculturalismi, Vita e Pensiero, Milano, 2004
5. A. Russel Hochschild, Per amore o per denaro, Il Mulino, Bologna, 2006

Readin List for non-attending students
Non-attending students add one of the following texts to their program:
- R. Castel, L’insicurezza sociale, che significa essere protetti?, Einaudi, Torino, 2004
- S. Moller Okin, Le donne e la giustizia. La famiglia come problema politico, Dedalo, Bari, 1999
- S. Sasken, Espulsioni. Brutalità e complessità dell’economia globale, Il Mulino, Bologna, 2015
- M.C. Nussbaum, Giustizia sociale e dignità umana. Il mulino, Bologna, 2002