Sociology of Cultural Processes

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The main objective of this course is to introduce students to the study of cultural phenomena in a sociological key. Although this is a relatively recently established area of sociology, nowadays we are witnessing an explosion of cultural studies in the social sciences: topics in sociology of culture may range from knowledge to art, from collective memory to taste, from gender to media cultures. This course deals with the study of schools of thought (Marxian, functionalist, Weberian) and authors (for example: Durkheim, Weber, Bourdieu) of primary importance for the development of the discipline, in order to provide the conceptual and methodological tools necessary to critically analyze cultural objects, production systems, and publics. Particular attention, through the analysis of empirical studies, will then be reserved for the study of consumer culture and of gender construction.
Expected learning outcomes
By the end of the course, students should have developed a solid understanding of the main definitions of the concept of culture in sociology and mastery of the interpretative tools of shared social meanings. The final exam aims to verify the expected learning outcomes in the understanding and critical presentation of concepts, theoretical perspectives, areas of discussion and case studies addressed during the course.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First trimester
Lessons will be delivered on MS Teams
Course syllabus
The program consists of two modules for a total of 6 credits. The first module has an introductory character and deals with the key themes in sociology of culture; the second module examines two fields: consumer culture and the cultural construction of gender binary.
The first part of the course is dedicated to the study of the relationship between social structure and culture.
The study of this relationship of mutual influence is important because the production and sharing of symbols, beliefs, values ​​and practices are fundamental needs for human existence. Sociology of culture inquires the dynamics of meaning construction and their role in orienting rational action within a given social world. The study of theoretical models for understanding the production, distribution and reception of culture will be addressed, as well as the analysis of specific phenomena such as subcultures, cultural innovation, the cultural construction of social problems and collective subjects.
The second part of the course aims to apply the models and tools acquired in the first module to two fields of study. The first is that of consumer culture, which will be understood in particular as an instrument of social distinction and construction of borders and identities. The second field of investigation, on the other hand, focuses on the issue of gender differences, starting with the case of gender-based violence and its media representations.
Prerequisites for admission
Basic knowledge in the field of general sociology
Teaching methods
On line classes on MS Teams. The class will include discussions and students' presentations.
Teaching Resources
Griswold, W. (2005). Sociologia della cultura. Bologna: Il Mulino.

Sassatelli, R., Santoro, M., & Semi, G. (2015). Fronteggiare la crisi: come cambia lo stile di vita del ceto medio. Bologna: Il Mulino.

Giomi, E., & Magaraggia, S. (2017). Relazioni Brutali. Genere e violenza nella cultura mediale. Bologna: Il Mulino.
Non attending students may also study:
Sassatelli, R. (2004). Consumo, cultura e società. Bologna: Il Mulino. Capitoli: 3,4,5 e 8
Ghigi, R., & Sassatelli, R. (2018). Corpo, genere e società. Bologna: Il Mulino. Capitoli: 1 e 2
Connell, R. W. (2006). Questioni di genere. Bologna: Il Mulino. Capitoli: 1,3,4 e 5.
Assessment methods and Criteria
Oral assesment
Lessons: 40 hours
Professor: Arfini Elia A.g.
Educational website(s)