Sociology of Communication

A.Y. 2020/2021
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
The course will take place completely in remote.
It will consist of one video-lesson loaded on Moodle and two synchronous lessons on Teams. The access link to the latter will be always accessible through the Moodle platform. The synchronous lessons aim to encourage the dialogue between students and teachers - within the limits of the large numbers of students attending the course -, through moments of collective clarification about the homework on the assigned material based on several activities available through Moodle - as instant survey tools, worldclouds, etc. -. In order to access to such platform, students are asked to log in with their account before the start of the course. For those attending the course, activities of learning assessment will be ongoing (see details in the dedicated section), on a weekly basis, through close-ended tests on Moodle, small group work around the study texts, and a small empirical research exercise by submit to the teacher in the windows provided before each exam session.
Attending students are asked to view the asynchronous lesson every week, read the material made available by the teachers on Moodle and work on it according to teachers' indications, in groups of 10 people always created through Moodle. The questions and reflections developed in the work at home - and collected by each group - will form the basis on which the next synchronous lesson will take place. The amount of weekly readings will be about 70/75 pages, divided between the textbook and the handouts provided by the teacher lesson by lesson.
Non-attending students will find the asynchronous and synchronous lessons recorded on Moodle, together with the rest of the material made available (handouts, power points, links to external resources, etc.)
Course syllabus
The course starts from an approach that considers communication a social relationship and at the same time highlights how every social relationship contains a communicative dimension.
The leitmotif of the educational path will be communicative practices, analyzed along the three dimensions of face-to-face interpersonal communication, media practices (relating to both traditional and new media), and practices of the cultural industry, with specific attention to sectors in whose dynamics linked to communication are more evident.
These dimensions will be related to the processes of construction of social reality and definition of the situation, and with the dynamics of daily life, from the construction of the self to the processes of identification, from family relationships to sentimental ones, always keeping in mind the transversal category. of power.
Students who attend this course are expected to acquire four fundamental skills:
1) The ability to read and understand texts of a sociological nature
2) The ability to master key concepts and themes of sociological reflection on communication
3) The ability to analyze media texts of various kinds and, more generally, communicative dynamics, using the concepts of the sociological discipline
4) The ability to use the theoretical concepts learned in the analysis of everyday life situations
Prerequisites for admission
Good knowledge in the humanities, curiosity and aptitude to observe and describe the world.
Teaching methods
The course will follow a flipped mode. The main educational reference platform will be Moodle. Inside it will be published from time to time activities and useful materials for each lesson, the recorded video lessons and the links to the Teams platform, which will be used for the use of the lessons in synchronous mode. The Ariel educational platform will only be used as a "Mirror" platform for storing basic information and notices
The general structure of the lessons will therefore be as follows:
- Tuesday: the Tuesday lesson will be divided into two parts. The first part will comment on the results of the last test performed. The second part will focus on the clarification of doubts and reflections that emerged from the reading of the texts (the handouts uploaded weekly on Moodle and the two manuals) and from the vision of the video lesson of the previous week, collected in the short outputs prepared by each group before the lesson.

- Wednesday: asynchronous video lesson in which the topics of the course are illustrated in a frontal manner, accompanied by texts, slides and any video material

- Thursday: the Thursday lesson will be divided into two parts. In the first part - starting from the third week of the course - students will be assessed on the contents discussed in the previous week through a short closed-ended test that will be carried out on Moodle. To clarify in advance any doubts and concerns in view of the test - which is 8 days after the assignment of the materials being assessed -, students can always count on the synchronous lesson on Tuesday (see above). In the remaining part of the lesson, the students, divided into groups, will try their hand at small laboratory exercises in order to put into practice the concepts illustrated in the video lesson of the previous day (for example, applying them to the analysis of journalistic, cinematographic texts, etc.) . These workshops will not be evaluated, but anticipate the final group work that each group will have to deliver after the end of the lessons - and which will be evaluated - and in this sense are preparatory.
Teaching Resources
1) Colombo F., Gili G., Comunicazione, Cultura, Società, La Scuola, 2012
2) Bentivegna S., Boccia Artieri G., Le teorie delle comunicazioni di massa e la sfida digitale, Editori Laterza, 2019
3) Dispense caricate durante il corso, lezione per lezione, all'interno della piattaforma Moodle
Assessment methods and Criteria
For those who choose to attend the course, the evaluation will be the result of a weighting of three parts, according to the percentage values expressed in brackets:
- Test (40%): students will perform a short closed-ended test every week for a total of 9 tests. The grade will consist of the average of the 6 tests that obtained the best results, where at least 4 need to be sufficient. If a student is overall insufficient in this phase, he/she will have to take the entire exam in accordance with the modalities prescribed for non-attending students.
- Group work on bibliographic material (10%): before the first lesson of the week, each group will have to post a short and schematic output on Moodle, summing up their main doubts and reflections about the material assigned - handouts and handbook chapters -. In particular, students will be asked to indicate: the main points faced by the authors; links with the contents presented during the asynchronous lessons; links with pertinent current events and with other essays read during the course. First of all, these short outputs will serve as a basis for discussing doubts and reflections during the synchronous lessons. Furthermore, at the end of the entire course, two of these works will be evaluated for each group: one will be chosen by the group itself, the other will be drawn by the teacher among the remaining works (with the exception of that of the first week, which will essentially works as a "gym" to indicate to students what they are required to do)

- Group work on a small research exercise (20%): this group work will be submitted by a date to be determined, approximately ten days after the end of the lessons. Students will be asked to empirically investigate an object of study relating to the topics covered in class.
- Individual paper (30%): precise information on the number of pages etc. will be provided at the time of assignment of the task, at the end of the course. it will be submitted at least 15 days before the exam session in which you intend to participate. The essay will focus on the sociologically oriented analysis of a personal situation of daily life, through the use of the concepts examined during the course, referring to the essays and materials previously analyzed
Non-attending students will be assessed on the same program as attending students: the text indicated in the bibliography and the reading material published on Moodle. The exam will consist of a two-part test. The first part will consist of a test of closed-ended questions aimed at evaluating the knowledge of all the bibliographic material in the program, the reading material and the contents of the loaded video lessons. This part of the exam is to be considered preparatory to the continuation of the test: a negative evaluation, therefore, will result in failure to pass the exam. The second part of the exam will consist of two open questions to be carried out over two hours. In the first, students will be provided with a text to comment. In the second, you will be asked to analyze a situation of everyday life using the concepts learned during the course. The final grade will consist of 40% of the result of the written question, 30% of the answer to the first open question and 30% of the answer to the second.
Lessons: 60 hours
Educational website(s)