95734 - Body, Gender and Society (1) (Lm)

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology (cod. 0964)

Learning outcomes

The course offers an introduction to the sociology of the body and gender. At the end of the course, the student acquires the fundamental skills on the main theoretical frameworks and methodologies that allow us to consider the body and gender as key dimensions of social action. The student also acquires the conceptual tools that help to critically analyze multiple contemporary phenomena in the light of the social process of gendered embodiment.

Course contents

The course analyzes the development of sociological reflection on the body, considering gender as a fundamental angle for understanding the process of incorporation as a social process. A series of authors will focus on showing how the body is configured as an object of sociological analysis that is not only legitimate, but also necessary. We will see that for human beings, body and society are built together: corporeality is an essential fact, but it is not a natural and unchangeable attribute, as much as society is not an artificial and artificial fact. Considering therefore the process of embodiment we will see that it is scalar, circular, active, incessant, and contested. Scalar because our bodies are forged by social relationships on multiple levels or scales: in appearance and posture, in abilities and limitations, in emotions and in physicality itself. Circular, because, as human beings, we are induced to assume in our body the differences promoted by interaction, culture and institutions and then act on these same differences starting from our embodied feelings. Active, because we are fully subject to this incorporation - and therefore not only subject to the power of classifications and social organization, but also capable of making us subjects of our work on our body by reproducing, modifying, challenging social norms. Incessant, because not only do we continually build our body for ourselves and for others, but also because it cannot be really silent: it will talk about us even when it seems to us that we are saying nothing. Contested, because our ways of living the body are fundamental, albeit often tacit, ways of living our identities, which, in turn, are placed in hierarchical systems. The gender category will then be introduced, and it will be considered above all from the point of view of embodiment, considering its intersections both vertically (age, birth, death) and horizontally (ethnicity, disability, illness).



Attending students have to study

the following book:

Ghigi, R. e Sassatelli, R. (2018) Corpo, genere e società, Il Mulino.

and two more books out of the following:

Bourdieu, P. (2014) Il dominio maschile, Feltrinelli.

Butler, J. (2017) Questione di genere. Il femminismo e la sovversione dell’identità, Laterza.

Foucault, M. (2020) La volontà di sapere. Storia della sessualità 1, Feltrinelli.

Goffman, E. (2018) Stigma. Note sulla gestione dell'identità degradata, Ombre Corte.

Guillaumin, C. (2020) Sesso, razza e pratica del potere, Ombre corte, Verona.


Attending students must take the exam by the summer 2024 session.


Non-Attending students have to study the following:

Bourdieu, P. (2014) Il dominio maschile, Feltrinelli.

Foucault, M. (2020) La volontà di sapere. Storia della sessualità 1, Feltrinelli.

Ghigi, R. e Sassatelli, R. (2018) Corpo, genere e società, Il Mulino.

Goffman, E. (2018) Stigma. Note sulla gestione dell'identità degradata, Ombre Corte


The program is valid only for Academic Year 2023/24.

Teaching methods

The course will be organized through lectures with the help of Powerpoint. During each lesson topics for discussion will be proposed to students and active participation will be encouraged. The course also entails the organization of discussion seminars in which students will present selected material from the programme. Active participation in the seminars in a necessary condition for being considered attending students.

Assessment methods

Oral exam on the readings as indicated, for both attending and non attending students.

The exam is aimed at ascertaining the achievement of some fundamental educational objectives: knowledge of the exam texts and ability to contextualize; understanding of fundamental concepts and ability to articulate a critical interpretation; expository clarity and terminological precision; ability to establish links between the themes touched by the program. The exam will verify whether such knowledge and skills are possessed in a more or less complete, exhaustive, correct and reflective way or in a more or less incomplete, approximate, imprecise and mechanical way. The evaluation will vary from excellent (30 and L) to very good (30) to good (29-27) to fair (26-24) more than adequate (23-21) to sufficient (21-18) or insufficient.

Teaching tools

Powerpoint slides

Office hours

See the website of Roberta Sassatelli