78150 - Communication and Digital Media

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Moduli: Piergiorgio Degli Esposti (Modulo 1) Stefano Spillare (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

After completing the course, the student: - will have a basic knowledge of the sociology of communication in its evolution, - knows the main forms and communication functions, as well as the most important theories / schools / research in communications, - have critical knowledge of the phenomena related to communication and media, - knows how to apply the empirical tools of analysis of the communication processes in contemporary society

Course contents

 The course consists of two complementary modules:
Module A
The module intends to introduce the leading theoretical paradigms of media sociology, addressing their evolution from the more traditional analogue dimension - from which critical theories on the effect of mass media and the construction of the agenda of issues take shape and are articulated - to the more recent evolutions linked to the digital turn. Under the latter aspect, the capacity of digital media to redesign the dynamics of social relations, the opportunity for the creation of renewed participatory cultures and the possibility of the same to develop the empowerment of users, but also to re-propose renewed 'cages' of commodification and exploitation, will be taken into consideration above all.
In particular, under this last aspect, some of the main theories of the sociology of consumption will be taken up, critically investigating all media consumption and the perspectives related to so-called collaborative consumption and its potential role in the ethics of consumption.

Module B aims to address and describe the evolution of the media landscape through the key of the main sociological theories, both classical and contemporary.
To this end, the module will address topics related to media sociology and the relationship between media and socialisation. We will then move on to the analysis of the main communication tools and, with them, the transformations of the public, with particular reference to the digitalisation process and the so-called digital divide. This framework will give particular importance to digital platforms and prosumers, the relationship between social media and Big Data, and the hybridisation of the physical/digital context and the metaverse.

The two modules will take place sequentially. However, it is possible that some lessons from module B will be forward or some from module A will be postponed.


  • C. Riva, R. Stella, G. Ciofalo, P. Degli Esposti (2022), Sociologia dei Media, UTET, Novara.
  • P. Degli Esposti, C. Riva, F. Setiffi (2018), Sociologia dei consumi, UTET, Novara.
  • P. Degli Esposti (2015), Essere prosumer nella società digitale. Produzione e consumo tra atomi e bit, Franco Angeli, Milano.
  • S. Spillare (2019), Cultura della responsabilità e sviluppo locale, Franco Angeli, Milano. (Solo Capitolo 5)

In addition to the above syllabus, non-attending students and those who will fail the final exam should increase their preparation with:

  • N Couldry (2015), Sociologia dei nuovi media. Teoria sociale e pratiche mediali digitali, Pearson. (Soltanto i capitoli 1, 2 e 3)
  • H. Jenkins (2007), Cultura Convergente, Apogeo, Milano. (Soltanto i capitoli 1 e 2)
  • D. Lupton (2018), Sociologia digitale, Pearson. (Soltanto i capitoli 2 e 3)
  • G. Ritzer, P. Degli Esposti (2020), Creative Destruction and Cultural Lag in the Digital Age [https://digitalcommons.providence.edu/sbg/vol5/iss1/5/], Sociology Between the gaps


Teaching methods

Students are required to carefully read the assigned material before the lesson and - in the case of seminars - active participation through presentations of existing scholarship and case studies will also be expected.
Participation is expected and rewarded.

Assessment methods

Students will hand in two tests, one for each teaching module, one halfway through the course and one at the end, to verify the achievement of the teaching objectives; furthermore, a classroom presentation (individual or group depending on the size of the class).
The final assessment consists of three elements:
1. Participation in classroom activities and classroom presentations (40% of the final grade)
2. Mid-term test (30% of the final grade)
3. Final examination (30% of the final grade)

Minimum requirements for passing the course
1. Passing the mid-course examination
2. Positive evaluation in the Classroom Presentation
3. Passing the Final Examination

Non attending students:

 In order to compensate for the activities carried out by attending students, non-attending students or those who have failed the mid-term tests have to submit a written paper and take the oral examination.
(N.B. the written paper must be sent to the lecturer five days before the date on which the oral examination is scheduled - the paper may be a synopsis of the course syllabus or an in-depth study of a topic covered during the semester)

Evaluation criteria:

  1. 50% paper evaluation
  2. 50% oral exam

Paper has to be 4.000 words 24.000 characters. (around 12 pages), references excluded. Chicago style for citations. Paper must be turned in 5 days before the oral exam.

For every paper 10% rules applies on the number of characters (a length of work higher or lower than 10% is accepted)

To register the final grade is necessary that you enrol in the official dates in the website Almaesami

Teaching tools

The teaching materials will be available to the students.

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

Office hours

See the website of Piergiorgio Degli Esposti

See the website of Stefano Spillare


Gender equality Industry, innovation and infrastructure 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.