00905 - Sociology

Academic Year 2022/2023

  • Docente: Paolo Zurla
  • Credits: 10
  • SSD: SPS/07
  • Language: Italian
  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: First cycle degree programme (L) in Social Work (cod. 8040)

Learning outcomes

The course aims to promote both the learning of the concepts and basic theoretical approaches of sociology, starting from the study of classical authors and reaching the most recent acquisitions, both the understanding of the most important characteristics, dynamics and functions of the main social institutions and contemporaries socio-economic processes. The student will achieve the appropriate ability to think and discuss from a perspective of social analysis, in order to address problems in his field of study. Additionally, the student will be able to communicate sociological issues, problems and perspectives to specialists and non-specialists, achieving learning autonomy in view of following study courses.

Course contents

The course consists of three modules.

First Module:

This part thematizes the emergence of the sociological thought, called to give a new perspective for the study analytical and interpretive and critical analysis of the specific dynamics of modern society and its institutions.

In this module the focus will be on the contribution of K. Marx, as one of the first classical thinkers within the social sciences.

The course will then focus on the presentation, analysis and discussion of some basic concepts of the sociological perspective (culture, socialization, family, social structure and inequalities, gender identity) and of the fundamental social institutions of contemporary society through the discussion of some topics. In particular, we will examine:
• the complex relationship which, through important social processes, is established between individuals and socio-cultural context;
• the relationship between Self and the socialization process, and its transformations in postmodern society;
• the characteristics and functions of one of the major social institutions, the family, and its transformations;
• the persistence and, at the same time, the transformation of multiple inequalities in economically advanced societies;
• the process of construction of gender identity, enhancing the link between gender and social inequalities (in labor market, family and media).

Second Module:

In this module the attention will be on the analysis of the thought of two other thinkers of the classical sociological tradition, Durkheim and Weber, and their contribution to the study of changes caused by the emergence of modernity. In this part the focus will be on the presentation, analysis and discussion of key issues such as:

• the dynamic and complex relationship between conservation and socio-cultural change, conformity and deviance;

• the characteristics of economic systems and work organization, with attention to the transformations occurred in the transition to post-Fordist society;

• the relationship between individuals and living environment, and the changes that took place in the city;

• the relationship between individual and politics, exploring the nature of the changes in the State and within the concept of citizenship;

• social change in view of both the socio-demographic dynamics, both collective behavior and social movements, and cultural transformation.

Third Module:

This part of the course will be devoted to investigating the effect of the changes caused by the globalization processes on different domains of social and individual experience, proposing a monographic study chosen by the student.



The course is based on the study of the following texts, that will constitute examination subject.

For the institutional part:

1A. Giddens, P-W. Sutton, J.C. Alexander, K. Thompson, Fondamenti di sociologia, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2022 (sesta edizione).
2. P. Zurla, Società moderna e discorso sociologico , Angeli, Milano, 2003, (Chapters 1, 3, 5 and 6).

The welfare as fundemental social institution of advanced contemporary societies:

1. G.B. Sgritta, voce “Assistenza sociale”, in Enciclopedia delle Scienze Sociali, Treccani, Roma, 1991, pp. 370-382. https://www.treccani.it/enciclopedia/assistenza-sociale_%28Enciclopedia-delle-scienze-sociali%29/

2. A. Ardigò, , apparso in M. La Rosa, E. Minardi, A. Montanari (a cura di), , Milano, Franco Angeli, 1977, pp. 41-83. [https://drive.google.com/file/d/1HvHhSlYihqwho1mR_Lf4CHDiRbxj6Vfw/view?usp=sharing]

Moreover, students have to choose between one of the following thematic paths:

Youth and youth policies:

Alessandro Cavalli, Carmen Leccardi (2013), Le quattro stagioni della ricerca sociologica sui giovani, in “Quaderni di Sociologia”, vol. 57, n.62, pp. 157-169

Arianna Bazzanella, Giovanni Campagnoli (2014), Giovani e politiche giovanili in Italia, “Autonomie Locali e Servizi Sociali”, n. 3, pp. 379-402,

Migrants and migrations:

Roberta Perna (2015), L'immigrazione in Italia. Dinamiche e trasformazioni in tempo di crisi, in "Politiche Sociali”, n. 1, pp. 89-116.

Maurizio Ambrosini (2017), Aiutiamoli a casa loro? Uno slogan superficiale e fallace, in "Autonomie Locali e Servizi Sociali", n.3, pp. 531-549.

Women and gender studies:

Laura Balbo (2007), Studi di genere, politiche di pari opportunità. Prospettive, percorsi, parole chiave, in “Autonomie Locali e Servizi Sociali”, n.1, pp. 183-188.

Maddalena Colombo (2012), Sogni di genere. Disuguaglianze e risorse nel futuro immaginato degli adolescenti in “Studi di Sociologia”, n. 1, pp. 77-90.


All the thematic articles are available online or in Open Access format.It is necessary to activate the proxy procedure available within the University Library System (https://sba.unibo.it/it/almare/servizi-e-strumenti-almare/ezproxy/connection-da-remoto ), using your Unibo Id.

Teaching methods

The course will intensify the attention to the definitory and conceptual apparatus of sociology, in order to promote the acquisition of both the disciplinary perspective and of the codes adopted in its content organization.

The exposure of theories and concepts will be conducted through the reading of original texts of the authors of reference.

During the lectures it will be frequent the recourse to statistical-descriptive materials, available on Internet, with the aim of both introducing the students to the use of empirical-documentary data and evidence, and to practice the relationship between theory and social reality .
NB: It is recommend to consult the sociological dictionaries and / or social science encyclopedias (available in the Central Library "R. Ruffilli" in Forlì) to refine the basic concepts of sociological language used in texts and lessons. The students may refer the resources on the Unibo libraries' website (http://biblioteche.unibo.it/portale), in particular to the Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology Online

Assessment methods

The exam is oral and the assessment evaluation will be expressed in thirtieths.

The evaluation of a sufficient level of learning will rest upon the attainment of lexicon, concepts and main definitions of the sociology.

Teaching tools

Projector, PC, powerpoint slides, articles and documents suggested during the lessons.

Office hours

See the website of Paolo Zurla