Sociology and analysis of social dynamics (2019/2020)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Luigi Tronca
Luigi Tronca
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Sem. 1A, Sem. 1B

Lesson timetable

Go to lesson schedule

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding 1. To know and to understand the main concepts of sociology, paying special attention to strategies and main subjects of sociological research and referring particularly to Italian society features. 2. To present a systematic introduction to techniques of structural analysis, known also well as techniques of social network analysis, first presenting their theoretical roots and secondly dealing with the relational concept of social phenomena. 3. To examine some subjects particularly relevant in education. These concepts will be presented through the analysis of some empirical researches that show to the students some operational strategies for the practical use of the social network analysis.

Applying knowledge and understanding 1. Define the most important concepts and issues for sociology, with methodological proficiency, command of terminology and with special reference to those regarding the fields of action of the educational services. 2. Use the acquired theoretical approaches to read social phenomena and be able to effectively define the most important characteristics of relational contexts, including social networks, and then use the acquired abilities to make autonomous use of data regarding social contexts and analyse the characteristics of social networks, in particular in the educational field. 3. Use the acquired abilities, in terms of strategies for analysis and obtaining information, to confidently study the social aspect of educational phenomena.


To achieve the learning outcomes, the course will take shape over the following three-part syllabus:

First part:

1. Introduction to sociology.
2. Culture.
3. Social structure.
4. Socialization.
5. Social interaction.
6. Organizations.
7. Deviance and social control.
8. Community and urban life.
9. Inequality, stratification and social classes.
10. Ethnic inequality.
11. Gender and inequality.
12. Age and inequality.
13. Family.
14. Education.
15. Religion.
16. Economy and society.
17. Political system.
18. Population dynamics.
19. Collective behaviour and social movements.
20. Social and cultural change.

Second part:

1. Definition and utility of social network analysis.
2. Theoretical roots of social network analysis.
3. Social relation and its operationalization.
4. Methods for the data collection and organization.
5. Graphic representation of data.
6. Graph Theory.
7. Matrix representation of data.
8. Centrality and centralization.
9. Methods and techniques for partition of graphs.
10. Methods for reduction of graphs.
11. Positions, roles and structural equivalence.
12. Limits and prospects of development for social network analysis.

Third part:

1. The relational paradigms of social research: relational sociology, and social network analysis.
2. The joint use of the research methodologies.
3. The relational analysis of amoral familism.
4. The relational analysis of school social capital.

The syllabus will be presented analytically in frontal lectures. All topics in the syllabus can be found in the following reference books:
1) For the first part of the syllabus: N.J. Smelser, Manuale di sociologia, Bologna, il Mulino, 2011 (all).
2) For the second part of the syllabus: A.M. Chiesi, L’analisi dei reticoli, Milano, FrancoAngeli, 1999 (except the Appendix).
3) For the third part of the syllabus: L. Tronca, Sociologia relazionale e social network analysis. Analisi delle strutture sociali, Milano, FrancoAngeli, 2013 (all).

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Antonio M. Chiesi L’analisi dei reticoli (Edizione 1) FrancoAngeli 1999 9788846418005 Esclusa l'Appendice. / Except the Appendix.
Neil J. Smelser Manuale di sociologia (Edizione 5) il Mulino 2011 9788815232502 Tutto il testo. / All.
Luigi Tronca Sociologia relazionale e social network analysis. Analisi delle strutture sociali (Edizione 1) FrancoAngeli 2013 9788820420574 Tutto il testo. / All.

Assessment methods and criteria

The examination aims to check the skills acquired by students. The content of the syllabus will be assessed. The examination consists of a written test with thirty-one multiple-choice questions potentially concerning any of the syllabus content. A mark will be given out of thirty. The examination is conducted in the same way for attending and non-attending students.

Due to the Coronavirus emergency, the assessment methods and criteria described above are modified for the summer exam session of 2020, in accordance with the indications of the University, as specified below:
The examination aims to check the skills acquired by students. The content of the syllabus will be assessed. The examination consists of an oral discussion, that will be conducted online, through the software Zoom, and in the same way for attending and non-attending students.