75074 - Web Society and Globalization

Academic Year 2022/2023

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to distinguish and analyze the different notions of globalization, and how information technologies affect everyday life, markets, and the process of consumption. In particular, the student will be able to: - develop an understanding of “Globalization” through a sociological lens - understand the culture of the Internet and the relationship between globalization and web society - analyze the impact on individual behaviors and society at large within Social Networks & Online Communities through the mainstreaming of private information posted to the public sphere - frame the emergence of a new rhetoric of “democratization” and participation in the web society - understand the changing relationship between producers, consumers and “prosumers” in the web society - recognize consequences and effects of the Digital Divide nationally and worldwide.

Course contents

A printed detailed syllabus will be provided to students the first day of class. The course is strutture in four learningas follows:

1. Globalizations

1.1 Definition

1.2 History

1.3 Critiques

1.4 Social Consequences

2. Web society e social media

2.1 Context analysis

2.2 Media Evolution

2.3 Social Consequences

3. Production, consumption, prosumption

3.1 Paradigm and definition

3.2 The rise of the prosumer

3.3 Prosumer capitalism

4. Digital divide and inequalities

4.1 Definition

4.2 Characteristics

4.3 Consequences

Each module will have specific reading material and planned classroom activities



  • G. Ritzer (2018), The McDonaldization of Society: Into the Digital Age, SAGE Publications.
  • J. van Dijk (2018), The Platform Society: Public Values in a Connective World, Oxford University Press.
  • N. Agar (2019), How to BeHuman in the Digital Economy, The MIT Press.


  • G. Ritzer, P. Degli Esposti (2020), Creative Destruction and Cultural Lag in the Digital Age, Sociology Between the Gaps
  • Ritzer, G., & Degli Esposti, P. (2020). The increasing centrality of prosumption in the digital capitalist economy. Österreichische Zeitschrift Für Soziologie: Vierteljahresschrift Der Österreichischen Gesellschaft Für Soziologie, 45(3), 351. https://doi-org.ezproxy.unibo.it/10.1007/s11614-020-00422-z

During the lectures will be given mandatory specific teaching materials (book chapters, articles, papers, documents, video). All the references will be available on the University of Bologna online teaching material platform.


Program for non attending students and those who will fail mid term test:

Students have to add to the program one book or tree articles from the selection below:


  • Lupton, D. (2015), Digital Sociology, Routledge, London.
  • Finn, E. (2018), What Algorithms Want. Imagination in the Age of Computing, The MIT Press.
  • Garten, J. (2016), From Silk to Silicon: The Story of Globalization, Amberley Publishing Limited.
  • Swartz, L. (2020). New money : how payment became social media. Yale University Press. Tapscott, D., Tapscot, A. (2016), Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Penguin.


  • G. Ahrne, P. Aspers, N. Brunsson (2015) The Organization of Markets, Organization Studies, Vol. 36(1) 7-22, Sage.
  • R. J. Foster, The Work of the New Economy: Consumers, Brands and Value Creation, Cultural Anthropology, Vol. 2 issue 4, pp. 707-731, University of California Press.
  • B. Cova, D. Dalli (2009), Working Consumers: The Next Step in Marketing Theory?, Marketing Theory, Volume: 9 issue: 3, page(s): 315-339, Sage.
  • D. Lyon (2010), Liquid Surveillance. The Contribution of Zygmunt Bauman to Surveillance Studies, International Political Sociology 4.
  • D. Lyon (2002), Surveillance in Cyberspace: The Internet, Personal Data, & Social Control, Queen's Quarterly, 109 (3).

Teaching methods

A mix of lectures, seminars, collective discussion, student's presentations, documentaries and films.
Students are expected to be prepared on the assigned readings before each class.
Participation is expected and rewarded.

Assessment methods

  •   Students are expected to do each week’s readings in advance of class, and to attend each lecture and section meeting. Your attendance and participation, and your level of engagement with the readings, are crucial to the quality of your experience as well as your success in the course.
  • There are four major components of the course, all of which are required:
    1. Active participation to class debates and activities
    2. Individual or group presentation
    3. Mid Term Test
    4. Final Test

    If you DO NOT ATTEND the course and you would like to do the exam, please contact the professor in advance.

    Assessment methods

    The final exam aims to verify the achievement of the educational objectives. Students must attend at least 75% of classes.

    Evaluation criteria:

    1. Active participation to class debates and activities 25%
    2. Individual or group presentation 25%
    3. Mid Term Test 25%
    4. Final Test 25%

    To pass the course you must pass ALL assessments.

    To register the final grade is necessary that you enrol in the official dates in the website Almaesami (https://almaesami.unibo.it/almaesami/welcome.htm) .

    For those students who did not pass the exam, or wish to improve their score, it is MANDATORY to write a paper of 5000 words that includes-quotes ALL the papers of the program.

    You have to deliver it printed in my office at least 2 weeks before the data of the oral exam and then you will discuss your work (and the program) during the exam.

    It is NOT POSSIBLE to do the oral exam if the paper was not delivered on time and passe.

    Final score will be a weighted average of the two tests.

Teaching tools

In-person lectures and seminar activities will be supported by educational material in digital form: slides and scientific articles in particular. Students will be able to use computers or tablets for class activities.
An extensive bibliography will also be provided for those who wish to study the subject in depth.

All student papers will be verified through the Compilatio.net plagiarism verification system

Office hours

See the website of Piergiorgio Degli Esposti


Gender equality Sustainable cities Responsible consumption and production Peace, justice and strong institutions

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.