98898 - History of Work and Professions (1) (LM)

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in History and Oriental Studies (cod. 8845)

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module the student will know the main methodologies for the study of the industrial age as regards the world of labour and professions. He/she will be able to analyse the main changes during the industrial age to the present day, both from the point of view of the economic processes, and from that relating to labour (employment and self-employment) relations, and lastly with regard to transformations underway in the labour market under the influence of globalization. He/she will be able to deal with comparative analyses of diverse spatio/temporal contexts, referring in particular to the Euro-Atlantic area. He/she can evaluate the role of the historian in fostering a critical and scientific approach to themes of interest for the collectivity

Course contents

This year's course will be dedicated on the secular transformations in the field of labour (including wage labour and self-employement). The focus is the development of both the industrial and the post-industrial societies, the birth of class distinctions and the industrial relations and conflicts that followed, the social, cultural and political developments that are founded on productive activity and labour relations and provide the main engine of social change in the modern age.The thematic areas that will be considered are: the socio-economic condition of workers in the various industrial sectors; the history of technologies, work organization and professionalism; the birth and evolution of those groups, like trade unions and employers associations, that aim to advance the economic interest of its members; the meeting and clash between worker and employer cultures; the difficult road towards a regulation of industrial relations; the contemporary changes regarding contents, forms and places of work.


Students who attend at least 75% of the lessons are considered to be attending.

Attending students

Students who attend the lectures are required to submit a paper focusing one of the topics developed in the courses by professor Cantagalli. Bibliographical references will be provided, on a case-by-case basis, by the lecturer during the lectures.


Non-attending students

Students who don't attend the lectureswill have to study the following books (1 and 2):

1) Required textbook:

- S. Musso, Storia del lavoro in Italia dall'unità a oggi, Venezia, Marsilio, 2011.

2) Other two books to be studied will be chosen from the list below

- A. Cantagalli, I commercialisti italiani e la crisi economica. Tradizione, resilienza e nuove realtà, Bologna, Bononia Univesity Press, 2019.

- A. Pescarolo, Il lavoro delle donne nell'Italia contemporanea, Roma, Viella, 2019.

- E. Betti, Precari e precarie. Una storia dell'Italia Repubblicana, Roma, Carocci, 2019.

- S. Bologna e D. Banfi, Vita da freelance. I lavoratori della conoscenza e il loro futuro, Milano, Feltrinelli, 2011.

- F. Butera et.al. (a cura di), Knowledge Working. Lavoro, lavoratori, società della conoscenza, Milano, Mondadori Università, 2008.

- E. Rullani, La fabbrica dell'immateriale. Produrre valore con la conoscenza, Roma, Carocci, 2004 (qualsiasi edizione).

- A. Sangiovanni, Tute blu. La parabola operaia nell'Italia repubblicana, Roma, Donzelli, 2006.

Teaching methods

The course will be delivered by lectures aided by slides and photocopies.

Assessment methods

Students who attend at least 75% of the lessons are considered to be attending.

Attending students

Students who attend the lectures are required to submit a paper (minimum 50,000 - maximum 60,000 characters) focusing one of the topics developed in the courses by professor Cantagalli.


The evaluation of the paper will consider the student's capacity to make use of sources and bibliography related to the selected topic. For attending students the assessment will take into account also oral presentation (critical skills, clarity, and command of the specific language), dedication and active participation in class and during other students' presentations.

Students who demonstrate to have a global outlook and a good design of the selected topic and to use an appropriate language, will receive an excellent evaluation. Student who write a paper only based on the existing bibliography without making use of sources, will receive an adequate evaluation. Training gaps and / or inappropriate writing, even in a context of minimal knowledge of the subject, will lead to a sufficient evaluation. Training gaps, inappropriate writing, lack of orientation within the bibliographic materials will be evaluated negatively.


Non-attending students

Students who don't attend the lectures will be evaluated on the basis of an oral exam. They will be asked questions aimed to assess their knowledge of the reading materials. The questions will also aim to evaluate the students' command of the specific language, their critical skills, and capacity of re-organizing the acquired information.


In-depth knowledge of the reading materials, with good analytical and critical skills and command of the specific language will qualify for a good/excellent mark.

Acceptable and more mechanical knowledge of the reading materials, and/or not always appropriate use of the language will lead to a sufficient/fair mark.

Fragmentary knowledge of the reading materials, weak critical skills, and/or insufficient command of the specific language and will lead to a failure or to a pass mark.


This 6 CFU course can be chosen as a part of the 12 CFU Integrated Course "CONTEMPORARY SOCIAL STRUCTURES (C.I.) (LM)". If the student has the Integrated Course (12 CFU) in his/her study plan, the final grade will result from the arithmetic average of the marks obtained in the two parts ("HISTORY OF INDUSTRY AND BUSINESS (1) (LM)" and "HISTORY OF WORK AND PROFESSIONS (1) (LM)").

Teaching tools

Slides, photocopies, handouts and additional readings.

Office hours

See the website of Alessandra Cantagalli