81773 - Sociology of Inequalities

Academic Year 2022/2023

Course contents

The course focuses on the concepts of “difference” and “inequality” from a sociological perspective and explores them with reference to gender, age, social class, ethnicity, education, the labour market and health. The course will also analyze if, and to what extent, social inequalities have changed in Western societies over time.

At the end of the course, students will be able to: - manage properly the terminological and conceptual framework of sociology of inequality; - interpret and discuss actual social facts applying the theoretical concepts acquired during the lessons; - comment and criticize articles on inequality published in academic journals and newspapers.


Attending students:

Teaching material available on "Virtuale".

Zanfrini L. (ed.), Sociologia delle differenze e delle disuguaglianze, Bologna, Zanichelli, 2011. I capitoli oggetto di esame sono: I.1, I.2, I.3, II.1, II.2, II.3, III.1, III.4, III.6

Kazepov Y. & Carbone D., Che cos'è il welfare state, Roma, Carocci, 2018.

Non-attending students:

Zanfrini L. (ed.), Sociologia delle differenze e delle disuguaglianze, Bologna, Zanichelli, 2011. I capitoli oggetto di esame sono: I.1, I.2, I.3, II.1, II.2, II.3, III.1, III.4, III.6

Kazepov Y. & Carbone D., Che cos'è il welfare state, Roma, Carocci, 2018.

Two of the following books:

Barone C., Le trappole della meritocrazia, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2012.

Bozzetti A. Oltre la selezione scolastica. I giovani di origine straniera all'università, Bologna, BUP, 2021.

Castel R., L'insicurezza sociale. Cosa significa essere protetti?, Torino, Einaudi, 2011.

Pacchi C. e Ranci C. (a cura di), White flight a Milano. La segregazione sociale ed etnica nelle scuole dell'obbligo, Milano, Franco Angeli, 2017.

Romito M., Una scuola di classe. Orientamento e disuguaglianza nelle transizioni scolastiche, Milano, Guerini Scientifica, 2016.

Todesco L., Quello che gli uomini non fanno, Roma, Carocci, 2013.

Teaching methods

The course is organized in lectures and seminars. Lectures (8 lessons, 16 hours) aim to introduce students to the core tenets of the discipline. Lessons will be given twice a week. For the seminar section of the course (6 seminars, 12 hours), students will be divided in two groups and will participate in one seminar per week. Therefore, students will be engaged in classroom activities for a total of 28 hours. Students are required to carefully read the assigned material before the session and - in the case of seminars - active participation through presentations of existing scholarship and case studies will also be expected.

Assessment methods

Attending students must participate in class and all 6 seminars.

By October 5, 2022, attending students must register on the webpage https://forms.office.com/r/pz9zfcwKPK

Starting from the fifth lecture (October 6, 2022), attendance will be taken.

Attending students:

The exam consists in two parts.

The FIRST PART of the exam (which contributes for 3/5 to the final grade determination) concerns: 1. presentation and discussion of academic articles or book chapters (in English and/or Italian) in class; 2. drifting of a research report on any topic related to the sociology of inequalities.

  1. Presentation and discussion of academic articles or book chapters: in the 6 seminars (once a week), one or two academic articles will be discussed. One or more students (depending on the number of participants) will have to prepare a power point presentation to expose the contents of the articles. The other participants will take on the role of discussants and, at the end of each presentation, a critical debate on the issues presented will be encouraged. Students, who will play the role of discussants, must send - at least 3 days before the seminar - a typed A4 sheet containing comments to the articles to d.mantovani@unibo.it [mailto:d.mantovani@unibo.it].

    The articles are available on Virtual.

  2. Research paper drafting: students will draft a report on a topic connected to the sociology of inequality. The topic must be defined with the professor. The report must not exceed 50,000 characters (including spaces and bibliography). Tables and figures will be excluded from the characters’ computation. Details on the structure of the report will be discussed in class and a facsimile is available on Virtuale.

The report is due at d.mantovani@unibo.it by December 27, 2022.

The SECOND PART of the exam (which contributes the remaining 2/5 to the final grade determination) is based on a written test that attending students must take at the end of the course and, in any case, by the September 2023. Therefore, if students do not take the second part of the test by September 2023, their attending-student status will expire and will automatically lose the grade achieved in the first part of the exam.

The written test consists of three open-ended questions related to the topics included in the textbooks, and students have to answer two out of three questions. Time to complete the exam: 40 minutes.

Non-attending students:

The exam is written and consists of five open-ended questions: three questions are based on the core textbooks and two questions are related to the two monographs (one question per monograph). Time to complete the exam: 90 minutes.


For all students

Cheating and copying test's questions are forbidden. Any behaviour perceived as suspicious by the professor will lead to the annulment of the exam. Students responsible for misbehaviour will take the exam in an oral form.

The only valid mark is the one achieved in the most recent attempt to pass the exam.

Candidates who pass the exam can refuse the final mark (thus requesting to re-take the exam) only once, in accordance with the university’s teaching regulations.

After having rejected a passing mark, any other subsequent passing mark will be recorded definitively in candidates’ transcripts.

Students are personally responsible for their registration in the exam session on AlmaEsami. Registration closes 5 days before the exam. It is not possible to sign up for the exam after registration has terminated. Students who change their minds must withdraw their registration no later than the 5 days before the exam. Withdrawal from the exam permits the student to participate in the following exam session. Nonetheless, in case of withdrawal during the last 5 days before the exam, students must send (using their official account @studio.unibo.it) an e-mail to d.mantovani@unibo.it

Teaching tools

Papers available on Virtuale.

Office hours

See the website of Debora Mantovani


Quality education Gender equality Decent work and economic growth Reduced inequalities

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