Social Research and Sociology of Professions

A.Y. 2021/2022
Overall hours
SPS/07 SPS/09
Learning objectives
The course aims to provide students with the theoretical and methodological knowledge which is necessary to analyze - in a sociological perspective - professional contexts and professions, defined as a social phenomenon, as well as the principle of regulation of the work characteristic of contemporary societies. The logics of action of professional groups will be illustrated, focusing on the dynamics of the labor market, the political and social arenas and the organizations, both in the public and private sectors, using the conceptual apparatus of the sociology of professions. There will be the opportunity to make use of the main methodological tools useful to analyze these social phenomena and to study professional contexts and professions and it will be possible to manage the three main phases of an empirical research: the study design, the work on field and the analysis of collected material.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course the student will develop the skills that allow him/her to collect information and data necessary to identify the role of professional action logics in social, economic and political phenomena, in order to independently develop his/her own interpretation of the behaviors observed. The student will be able to define the goals and to autonomously elaborate the research questions and the choice of the techniquesadopted to analyze the different social phenomena. The student will also develop adequate communication skills, with particular regard to the specific language relating to the theoretical and methodological aspects of the sociology of the professions; he/she will be able to properly discuss and argue his/her personal opinion and theses on situations connected to these studies and on topics that are proposed by the literature or that are empirically observable. The student will know how to analyze, interpret and autonomously deepen - with the proper approach of this discipline - the social, economic and political phenomena in which the regulation and the collective action exercised by the professional groups are relevant.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First trimester
In the phase of emergency lessons will be carried face-to-face and, at the same time, online in streaming, by using the Microsoft Teams platform, except in case of changes due to the health situation. Exams will consist of a written test. Exams will be carried out face-to-face, except for students who are not able to do them face-to-face because of health reasons. Only for these students, exams, which will consist of a written test, will be carried out on line.
Prerequisites for admission
No preliminary knowledge is required.
Assessment methods and Criteria
As to Sociology of professions, the exam consists of a written test. There is no oral examination.
The test comprises ten questions (7-8 open-ended questions and 2-3 multiple choice questions; available time: one hour). The test is aimed at assessing the knowledge of the theories and approaches illustrated in the course and the ability to use them in the analysis of case studies.
In more detail, the whole test is aimed at assessing:
- the knowledge and comprehension of theories and methods illustrated in the course and in the reference books, in order to make students able to grasp the importance of professions and of the methodological tools used to study them, with particular regard to the method of the interview;
- the ability to recognize and analyze the action logics of professional groups in social, economic and political phenomena, as well as the ability, by students, to independently provide his/her own interpretation of the professional behaviors, by using theories and concepts from the field of the sociology of professions;
- the development of skills, allowing students to manage the three main phases of an empirical research (the study design, the work on field and the analysis of collected material), as well as to implement the main methodological tools, which are considered useful to analyze social phenomena (especially, those regarding professions);
- the ability to define the goals and elaborate the research questions, choosing the research techniques, collecting and elaborating data and analyzing the results, in an autonomous way;
- the development of adequate communication skills, with particular regard to the specific language related to the sociology of the professions, showing the ability, by students, on one hand, to describe professional behaviors in social and political arenas, in the labour market and in public and private organizations, on the other hand, to discuss and argue personal opinion and theses on topics suggested by the scientific literature or empirically observable;
- the development of learning abilities, both in the analysis of the forms of collective action exercised by the professional groups and in the definition and implementation of the three main phases of an empirical research, which we have previously mentioned.
Moreover, attending students can carry out an optional work, to be performed individually or in groups, which will be evaluated and can contribute to the final mark of the exam (see below the sections on the teaching methods).

Achievement for the course of Social Researc will be assessed by a written essay (8 pages - font Times New Roman 12; line spacing 1.5) in accordance with the learning outcomes and will involve the achievement of the students in:
- Evidencing the ability and understanding needed to illustrate the epistemological and methodological approaches discussed in the lectures;
- Demonstrating the ability to critically engage with a research exercise, aimed at learning how to conduct qualitative research in organisational and social contexts.
The text must be composed of four parts: 1) illustration of the topic to be addressed and the research question to be answered; 2) description of the empirical context in which it was carried out; 3) argumentation of the research method used; 4) presentation of the main findings of the research exercise. Finally, it should include: the consulted bibliography; the used interview guide; the consent form.
The written essay should be delivered by email to the teacher on the day of the assessment. The first assessment takes place immediately after the end of the course.

Final mark of the whole exam will be the average of the marks obtained in the part of social research and in the part of sociology of professions.
Modulo Ricerca sociale
Course syllabus
The ontological, epistemological, and methodological differences between quantitative and qualitative research in social sciences. The paradigms of social research: positivism; neopositivism and interpretativism. Quantitative and qualitative research. The design of qualitative research: Research questions, choice of the cases and methods. The qualitative interview: Designing the interview guide, conducting and transcribing the interview. Analysis of the empirical material and writing. Two examples of qualitative research: An empirical study on the access to social welfare services carried out in three Northern Italian Municipalities, and a research aimed at understanding the experience of parents with children who experience a chronic disease.
Teaching methods
The course will include lectures, with the experimentation of some of the research methodologies illustrated in the course. Experts and authors of some of the suggested readings will give lectures during the course. Moreover, attending students can carry out an interview, as it is designed and implemented in a scientific research, and they will present the results in class. In case of positive evaluation of this work, students will gain from 1 to 3 points, which will be added to the score obtained in the part of the test of the final exam, related to social research.
Teaching Resources
Corbetta P. (2015). La ricerca sociale: metodologie e tecniche. I paradigmi di riferimento. Bologna: Il Mulino (cap. 1 - I paradigmi della ricerca sociale; cap. 2 Ricerca quantitativa e ricerca qualitativa).

Cardano, M. (2011). La ricerca qualitativa. Bologna: Il Mulino (cap. 1 - La ricerca qualitativa; cap. 2 - Il disegno della ricerca qualitativa; cap. 4 - L'intervista discorsiva; cap. 5 - Il focus group).

Rossi, P. (2017). Il welfare come merito? Logiche di responsabilizzazione e processi di individualizzazione nell'accesso ai servizi socio-assistenziali. Rassegna Italiana di Sociologia, 3, 579-614.

Fornasini, S., Miele, F., & Piras, E. M. (2018). Maschilità e malattia cronica. Il caso dei padri con figli diabetici. Rassegna Italiana di Sociologia, 1, 51-76.
Modulo Sociologia delle professioni
Course syllabus
The concept of profession: occupations and professions. Professions in the classics of sociology. Talcott Parsons and the functionalist theory of professions, The neoweberian approaches of professional power and monopoly. The contribution of Magali Sarfatti Larsson to the study of professions and of professionalization. Professionalization and de-professionalization.
The health professions. The doctors: the process of professionalization. Medical dominance and the debate on its decline. Doctors and health professions in the last thirty years: the impact of managerialization, consumerism and new tecnologies. Care relationships and the doctor-patient relationship. Changes in gender and generations. Doctors' professionalization in Italy: a historical-sociological approach. From the XIX century to the fascism. The mutual era. Doctors in the National Health Service. The impact of social, economic and tecnological changes.
Teaching methods
The course will include lectures, with presentation and discussion of case studies. Some experts of authors of important studies on the sociology of professions will give lectures in the course. Attending students can also work in groups, analyzing and presenting a scientific article in the field of the discipline. In case of positive evaluation of this work, students will gain from 1 to 3 points, which will be added to the score obtained in the part of the test of the final exam, concerning the sociology of professions.
Teaching Resources
1) Speranza L. (1999), I poteri delle professioni, Soveria Mannelli, Rubbettino, except for chapter 5;
2) Cardano M., Giarelli G. e Vicarelli G. (eds.) (2020), Sociologia della salute e della medicina, Bologna, Il Mulino: only chapter V ("Pratiche e relazioni di cura in ambito sanitario") and chapter X ("Le configurazioni mutevoli delle professioni sanitarie") are required.
3) Vicarelli G. (2010), Gli eredi di Esculapio. Medici e politiche sanitarie nell'Italia Unita, Roma, Carocci.
Modulo Ricerca sociale
SPS/07 - GENERAL SOCIOLOGY - University credits: 6
Lessons: 40 hours
Professor: Murgia Annalisa
Modulo Sociologia delle professioni
Lessons: 40 hours
Professor: Neri Stefano
Thursday 2.30-5.30pm
Please, get in touch via email to schedule a meeting
Saturday,, 10:00-13:00. online. via Microsoft Teams or Skype. Please, contact the techer by the day before the reception hours, in order to agree an appointment
Microsoft Teams or Skype. If the receptions hours take place face-to-face, Room 6, New building (the building where lesson rooms 10, 11, 12, 13 are located)