93495 - Sociology of Journalism (LM)

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Docente: Marco Santoro
  • Credits: 6
  • SSD: SPS/07
  • Language: Italian
  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Information, Cultures and Media Organisation (cod. 5698)

Learning outcomes

The class offers methods and conceptual tools to understand journalism as an institution and an occupation. The aim is to give students the critical competence to reflexively think at the social and cultural conditions in which the production of news occurs. 

At the end the student is supposed to

- know the main sociological methods useful for studying journalism empirically  and even doing journalism as a kind of social investigation

- know the major professional models and the typical institutional dilemmas of journalism as an historically situated field of practice

- be able to analyze conditions and situations in which the journalistic occupation is exerted in contemporary societies;

- is able to extend the range of her skils through the creative use of concepts, models and methods illustrated in class.

Course contents

This year's course explores with the tools of sociology what we can call the culture of journalism: its history, forms and changes, particularly those induced by digital technologies. The concept of "culture" will help us untangle the (cultural) complexity of contemporary journalism and answer the following questions: what are the relationships between journalism and the cultural field? what are the ideals and models that journalists confront in their daily practice? how do journalists learn their "culture," and what use do they make of it? what characterizes "cultural journalism" and in what sense is it "cultural"? can one do journalism without an adequate knowledge of cultural analysis? The objective of the course is of course not to transmit journalistic culture but to provide the conceptual, theoretical and methodological tools for thinking about journalism as a cultural field. One heuristic tool we will focus on in particular will be that of the "field," and in particular the "journalistic field," originally proposed by French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu and in recent years risen to a strategic conceptual model in so-called Journalism Studies. Components, strengths and limitations of this model will be analytically illustrated, and an application of it to two topical case studies will be attempted: war journalism and Mafia journalism.


The same texts of the official Italian program.

However, I am available to discuss options and agree on a different (but equivalent for length and difficulty) bibliography in English.

Teaching methods

Lectures with PowerPoint and video; participatory approach; teaching material uploaded to Virtual learning environment.

Assessment methods

Oral exam, with the possibility, for attending students, to discuss a research paper (min 5,000 words) on a subject/topic previously agreed upon with the teacher

Teaching tools

slides and syllabus

Office hours

See the website of Marco Santoro