Sociology of Communication

A.Y. 2019/2020
Overall hours
Learning objectives
To offer a general theoretical standpoint to analyze critically and sociologically communication-related issues, both about interpersonal and mediated communication.
Expected learning outcomes
Mastering the basic concepts for interpreting communication phenomena, acquiring critical tools to apply the sociological imagination to everyday life and to media texts surrounding us. Link different sociological theories and use them in the analysis of communication.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
Course syllabus
The course starts from an approach that considers communication a social relationship and at the same time highlights how each social relationship contains a communicative dimension.
The guiding thread of the educational path will be communication practices, analyzed along the three dimensions of face-to-face interpersonal communication, media practices (relating to both traditional media and new media), and cultural industry practices, with specific attention to the sectors in to which the dynamics related to communication are more evident.
These dimensions will be related to the processes of construction of the social reality and the definition of the situation, and with the dynamics of daily life, from the construction of the self to the identification processes, from family to sentimental relationships, always keeping in mind the transversal category of power.
In the first part of the course, after drawing a picture of the main concepts useful for a general understanding of communication practices (symbols, codes, frames, etc.), we will focus on the role of the communicative relationship in the process of building social reality and definition of the situation. We will focus on both the practices of interpersonal communication and the elements that make them up, both on communication through traditional media and through new media.
The second part of the course will focus on the role of communication practices in daily life, in relationships (family, sentimental, friends), referring both to interpersonal communication and to "traditional" media (press, cinema, radio, television) , both to the new media, and to the common process of digitization which affects both the former and the latter. We will focus on the daily life of media practices (the relationship with identity, intimacy, body, space, etc.) and on their inseparable intertwining with other aspects of social life, underlining how more fruitful this approach is compared to what considers the media as something that "influences" social life.
In the third part of the course, some fields of the cultural industry (fashion, music, food and wine) will be explored to study specifically how communication practices are declined in these contexts.
Prerequisites for admission
No prerequisites are required, but it is recommended to have attended another sociological subject
Teaching methods
In addition to the face-to-face lessons, the course will consist of moments of seminar study on the model of the flipped classroom, practical exercises and comparison with cinema, television and printed texts, as well as the analysis of texts present online.
Teaching Resources
For attending students:

- Erving Goffman, Introduzione e Rappresentazioni (cap.1) in La vita quotidiana come rappresentazione, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1969, pp. 11-93
- Fabio Quassoli, Fraintendimenti interculturali, «Rassegna Italiana di Sociologia», 3, 2003, pp. 419- 445
- Luca Forgione, Sul concetto di frame in comunicazione politica, in «Comunicazione politica», 2, 2012, 249-266
- Marco Binotto, Marco Bruno, Spazi mediali dell'immigrazione, in «Lingue e linguaggi», 25, 2008, 17-44
- Pierre Bourdieu, Sulla televisione, Milano, Feltrinelli, 1997, pp. 11-83
- Luciano Paccagnella e Agnese Vellar, Conoscenza (cap. 3 par. 2 e 3) in Vivere online, Bologna, Il Mulino, pp. 141-180
- Erving Goffman, Giochi di faccia, pp. 7-50, cap. I in Il rituale dell'interazione, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1988
- Joshua Meyrowitz Nuovi modi di divenire, pp. 247- 261, cap. IV e VIII di Oltre il senso del luogo, Bologna, Baskerville, 1995
- John B. Thompson, Il sé e l'esperienza in un mondo mediato, in "Mezzi di Comunicazione e Modernità. Una teoria sociale dei media", Il Mulino, 1998, pp. 289-325
- Oscar Ricci, Ragazze moderne. I magazines femminili per adolescenti in Italia, in Quaderni di Sociologia, n. 51, 3, 2009
- Nicoletta Vittadini, Relazioni sociali, privacy e logiche di scambio, in «Comunicazioni sociali», 2012, n. 2, 213-230
- Paul Di Maggio, La classificazione dei generi artistici, in Organizzare la cultura, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2009, pp. 211-245.
- P. Bourdieu, Il punto di vista dell'autore, in "Le regole dell'arte", Milano, Il Saggiatore, 2005, pp. 288-259
- P.Hirsch, Mode e capricci: una teoria organizzativa dell'industria culturale, in M.Santoro e R. Sassatelli, "Studiare la cultura", Bologna, Il Mulino, pp. 145-167

For non attending students:
Guido Gili e Fausto Colombo, Comunicazione, cultura e società, Brescia, La Scuola, 2012
- Sara Bentivegna e Giovanni Boccia Artieri, Le teorie delle comunicazioni di massa e la sfida digitale, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 2019
- Giovanni Boccia Artieri et al., Fenomenologia dei social network, Milano, Guerini Scientifica, 2017
David Hesmondhalgh, Le industrie culturali, Milano, Egea, 2015
Assessment methods and Criteria
For attending students, the verification of the content learned is divided into group and individual exercises carried out during the course and a final individual test. Attendees will be offered practical exercises, applying the contents of the lessons. To carry out these research works, students will be divided into groups of around 8/12 people. The group work will be prepared and organized, in practical and content terms, during the lessons. In general terms, the group work will consist of small exercises in which you will be asked from time to time to apply the concepts addressed in class in your daily life experience. The evaluation of these documents will take into account the degree of understanding of the readings entrusted and the reworking of the concepts.
For attending students, the final mark is therefore made up of an overall assessment of various ongoing tests structured as follows:
two practical group works, to be presented in class during the course;
three intermediate tests, lasting about 20 minutes each, based on batteries of closed-ended questions and
a final paper, chosen from the themes of fashion, food or music, including an empirical part, to be discussed during the oral exam.
The mark will be the result of a weighting of the three works and not of an arithmetic average on the individual tests (20% group work, 40% individual intermediate tests, 40% oral), but also taking into account factors such as improvement or deterioration during the course of the various tests). Finally, active and constructive participation during the lessons dedicated to the discussion of the texts will constitute a bonus on the final mark.

N.B. The exam for attending students is sustainable only during the first two appeals of January / February

You can take the 3-credit and 6-credit exam: in the first case, only the first group work, the first intermediate test and a term paper entrusted by the teacher on the part of the program carried out. In the second case, the two group works will be supported, the first two intermediate tests and a short paper entrusted by the teacher on the part of the program carried out.

For non-attending students, the exam will consist of a two-part written test.
The first part, consisting of a series of closed-ended questions on all the texts and essays scheduled, is to be considered preparatory to the assessment of the rest of the test: therefore, a negative evaluation on this part will result in the exam not being passed. The time available for this test will be 45 minutes and the exam will take place in the computerized classrooms, with an immediate result at the end of the test.
The second part of the exam will consist of two open questions to be carried out in an hour and a half, always in the computerized classroom. A first question will require articulating a reflection by linking together the concepts and themes addressed in the texts and essays in the program, starting from a quote obtained from them. A second question will ask to apply the studied concepts to an input that can be linked to the experience of daily life, or to a newspaper article, a video, etc. The final mark will consist of 20% of the result of the written question with closed questions, 40% of the answer to the first open question and 40% of the answer for the second.

It is possible to take the 3-credit exam by bringing the text of the first module and a text of your choice of the second.
It is possible to take the 6-credit exam by bringing all the texts of the first two modules
Teaching Unit 1
Lessons: 20 hours
Teaching Unit 2
Lessons: 20 hours
Teaching Unit 3
Lessons: 20 hours