04876 - Urban Sociology

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Moduli: Marco Castrignanò (Modulo 1) Maurizio Bergamaschi (Modulo 2)
  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures (Modulo 1) Traditional lectures (Modulo 2)
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: First cycle degree programme (L) in Political, Social and International Sciences (cod. 8853)

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, the student will: - have a framework of the conceptual joints of urban sociology in its historical evolution, - be able to analyze the schools of thought and the basic concepts that have been proposed and developed in theory - be able to apply the main paradigms for the understanding of emerging issues from the discipline, - know and be able to apply the main methods and techniques of empirical research for their study of urban and territorial phenomena.

Course contents

The course is divided into three modules:

First module:

In particular, attention will be paid to the historical development of the discipline in the United States and Europe, to the problems of methodology and research, to urbanism "as a way of life" and its evolutionary phases. In this path we will refer mainly to E. Durkheim, M. Halbwachs, G. Simmel, L. Wirth, J. Jacobs, in order to deepen the relationship between man and environment in urban areas.

Second module:

In the second module of the course, the theme of the birth and development of urban sociology in the United States will be studied, with particular reference to the Chicago Ecological School tradition. An empirical study of territory focused on the theme of urban poverty and social capital will be presented. The research takes up and uses a Chicago approach to the study of urban phenomena by integrating it with the contribution of narrative theory and using a mixed method research approach.

Third module:

Lectures will be supplemented by seminars on specific topics with the participation of young researchers and with the active involvement of students. In this third module ongoing or concluded research will be presented.

Teaching methods:

Lectures and seminar meetings


G. Simmel, La metropoli e la vita dello spirito, Armando, Roma, 1996

L. Wirth, L’urbanesimo come modo di vita, Armando, Roma, 1998

G. Nuvolati (a cura di), Lezioni di sociologia urbana, Il Mulino, Bologna, 2011 (solo pp. 9 – 30 e pp. 125 - 148)

U. Hannerz, Esploare la città, Il Mulino, Bologna, 2001 (solo pp. 93 - 172)

M. L. Small, Villa Victoria. Povertà e capitale sociale in un quartiere di Boston, FrancoAngeli, Milano, 2011.

M. Bergamaschi, A. Lomonaco (a cura di), Esplorare il territorio. Linee di ricerca socio-spaziale, FrancoAngeli, Milano, 2022 (open access).


Teaching methods

frontal lessons

Assessment methods

A final oral exam that consists in a conversation about the texts previously indicated. The oral test want to assess the learning of methodology of social research and technique contents discussed during the course. Appropriate language with the specific nature of the discipline, and the ability to deepen and put into connection with each other the main issues addressed in the course will result in assessments of excellence. Correct language, mnemonic knowledge of contents and partial ability to link the themes covered will produce discrete valuations. Inappropriate language, the presence of some training gaps but achieving a minimal body of knowledge on the topics covered will result in assessments sufficient. Lack of guidance within the themes addressed in the exam readings, inappropriate language, and training gaps will result in negative evaluations.

Teaching tools

Slides presentation

Office hours

See the website of Marco Castrignanò

See the website of Maurizio Bergamaschi


No poverty Sustainable cities

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