The course analyzes the issue of social diversity and inequalities in a global perspective. It will illustrate how the main social divisions (gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, class) are generated, legitimized, contrasted, reproduced through specific institutions (the educational system, the labour market and organizations, the family, the political system, the welfare state, the media and new technologies) that increasingly extend their influence beyond and across the borders of the nation state. The course combines a theoretical approach to analysis of these processes with the anlysis of empirical studies and academic debates that, from various angles and perspectives, illustrate the multiple research agendas that this sociological perspective can open.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course the students will have acquired a thorough knowledge of the processes that contribute to structuring the main social divisions in contemporary societies, with particular reference to the effect of economic, political and cultural aspects of globalization processes. They will be capable to autonomously and creatively apply the knowledge learned becoming familiar with the main scientific journals on which articles contributing to specific academic debates of interest for the course (or for future autonomous research paths) are being published. They will become capable to better orientate themselves in the international scientific production by familiarizing themselves with research tools such as Google Scholar. They will have the chance to test their oral communication skills and team work through specific practice exercises. They will have the chance to test their ability to write a piece of literature review.
Lesson period: First trimester
(In case of multiple editions, please check the period, as it may vary)
The course is structured in 3 modules. In module 1 we will clarify the sociological meaning of diversity and social inequality, how these divisions and fractures are generated and reproduced, legitimated or contrasted through specific processes of mobility, closure, social evaluation and political management. We will review the forms of social diversity that most frequently generate inequality (gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation) and we will show how specific social institutions (the education system, the labor market and organizations, the family, the political system, the welfare state, the media and new technologies) contribute to reproducing, modifying or governing them. In the second module we will address, from a theoretical point of view, the implications of globalization processes on inequality and social mobility, with particular reference to the global growth of inequalities, to the forms of transnational social mobility, to how specific institutions contribute to shape social identities across borders. In the last module we will critically analyze some groups of readings that, taking inspiration from contemporary scientific debates, lend themselves to illustrating, through empirical research published in academic journals, the multiple research agendas that this perspective can open.
Prerequisites for admission
Prerequisites: Society and Social Change is preparatory to Globalization, Diversity and Inequalities. Many readings and course materials are in English, so good familiarity with the language is required.
The course entails lectures supported by slides as well as moments of discussion requiring the active participation of students. Participants will be required to creatively apply the notions and perspectives learned on textbooks to social phenomena described in news items, essays, quantitative data made available by the teacher. In particular, the course aims to familiarize students with the international academic production (e.g. journal articles) and scientific debate. Attendance to the course is not mandatory but is strongly recommended.
For non attending students Module 1. Zanfrini, L., (2011), Sociologia delle differenze e delle disuguaglianze, Zanichelli. Module 2. Mandatory readings for non attending students (made available by the teacher on Ariel). Module 3. Mandatory readings for non attending students (made available by the teacher on Ariel).
Assessment methods and Criteria
Non-attending students will be evaluated through a written exam made of 7 open-ended questions (70 minutes). Attending students are allowed to take a written test with 4 open-ended questions on modules 1 and 2 (40 minutes) plus a group oral presentation and an individual paper on module 3. The final mark is the weighted average of the three partial results (modules 1 and 2: 50%; module 3: 50%) and will be published on the website Ariel. The following aspects will be assessed: the level of knowledge of the contents illustrated in the course, the competence in the use of specialist vocabulary, the quality and clarity of the written exposure. The autonomy of judgment is also assessed in relation to how students will be able to critically analyze readings and data discussed during the course, in light of the concepts and theories reported in the textbooks. Attending students will be allowed to experience a small autonomous research path, according to methods and criteria comparable to those required by the (future) degree thesis (identification of a subject investigable in sociological perspective, finding sources on Scholar, writing a text with suitable citational criteria, etc.).