85118 - Italian Pop Cultures (1) (LM)

Academic Year 2022/2023

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Italian Studies, European Literary Cultures, Linguistics (cod. 9220)

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, students will have a general knowledge of mass culture in Italy, having studied the creation, production, circulation processes and use of the social meanings; they will be capable of analysing the phenomena and processes of contemporary life such as its means of communication (new and old media), consumption and production of cultural heritage (music, paintings, newspapers, books, etc.), connections between cultural processes and social inequalities and the organisational bases of media and artistic communication, the wide range of different forms of consumption, production, organisation, financing and evaluation of cultural heritage and objects. Students will be capable of recognising various phenomena linked to communication and of analysing these from an interdisciplinary perspective.

Course contents

The program of the course is articulated in two major sections.

The first section focuses on the theoretical state of the art. It reconstructs and defines core concepts from the academic fields of cultural sociology as well as media and cultural studies. The aim is building a conceptual tool-kit to analyze the socially constructed and historically rooted – yet contested and changeable – meanings of the notions of “Italian”, “Popular”, and, especially, “Culture(s)”.

The second section presents the results of various empirical research projects on Italian popular cultures carried out over the last two decades. In particular, it focuses on Italian cultural icons, visual culture, and popular music. The aim is applying the conceptual tool-kit outlined in the first section to a variety of cultural objects and case studies, in order to explore, among others, such issues as the crucial role of increasingly digital media in the process of production, circulation and consumption of popular culture; the role of popular culture and media rituals in the construction of (trans-)national identity; the relationship between popular culture and national politics in Italy.


The course readings refer to the two sections of the program and include one book plus a list of papers. This bibliography is valid for both attending and non-attending students.

The book is:

Grazian, David (2017), Mix It Up. Popular Culture, Mass Media, and Society. Second edition. New York, W.W.Norton & Co.

The list of papers addressing a variety of case studies on Italian popular culture wil be available online.

Teaching methods

Frontal lectures with powerpoint, using also images, videos, and songs.

Assessment methods

Students can either take an oral exam (on all the course readings) OR write a paper (25.000-35.000 characters, spaces and bibliography included). The content and the structure of the paper must be preliminarily discussed with and approved by the professor via email. Only for attending students (who have attended at least 70% of the lessons) there might be the opportunity to present a draft of the paper in class. The final paper must be sent to the professor by email, no later than 7 days before the exam date.

The achievement of an organic vision of the themes based on the readings, the use of specific language, the ability to show knowledge of contemporary Italian pop cultures, as well as the ability to link single cultural products to the wider social and cultural context will be evaluated with excellent grades. An ability to synthetize or analyse that is not very well articulated, and a correct but not always appropriate language lead to average evaluations. Gaps in knowledge or inappropriate language, such as a lack of knowledge of readings and contexts, allow the student to obtain grades on the threshold of sufficiency. Knowledge gaps, inappropriate language, lack of familiarity with the bibliography and inability to analyze are evaluated negatively.

To take the oral exam (or to have the paper graded) it is necessary to register via AlmaEsami.

Teaching tools

Screen and PowerPoint.

Office hours

See the website of Marco Solaroli


Good health and well-being Quality education Gender equality Responsible consumption and production

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