Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Sociology and Social Work (cod. 8786)

Learning outcomes

The course aims to provide students with theoretical elements for understanding the interaction between media, imaginary and climate change, and empirical tools for reading and planning communication and awareness-raising actions on sustainable lifestyles and consumption. At the end of the course the student: knows the fundamentals and the main problems of social communication on climate change; knows how to use with propriety the fundamental concepts of the field of reference; knows and is able to apply methodological approaches and tools useful for the planning and realisation of communication actions aimed at sensitising different actors and social institutions to the theme of sustainability.

Course contents

Climate change communication is a challenge for academics, public institutions and private companies, media and activists.

Taking up this challenge, the course aims, firstly, to explore how media and social media contribute to the social construction and perception of climate change, through the interpretative and explanatory schemes of the sociology of cultural and communicative processes.
Secondly, students will be guided in the reading and critical analysis of different communication channels and narratives of climate change, understood as case studies, including podcasts, documentaries, Instagram pages, social communication campaigns, institutional reports, etc.
Finally, students will be actively involved in identifying the principles of effective communication in this field and in researching and validating good communication practices aimed at raising society's awareness of climate crisis.


The teacher will provide students with a handout containing all the texts that will constitute exam material, which will include:

- Cappi V. (2023), Immaginare l'altrove nell'epoca dell'Antropocene. Media, confini e cambiamenti climatici, FrancoAngeli, Milano. Disponibile online: https://series.francoangeli.it/index.php/oa/catalog/view/933/784/5371
[only chapt. 1 (pp. 13-31) and 5 (pp. 101-126)]

- Osservatorio di Pavia e Greenpeace (2023), L'informazione sulla crisi climatica in Italia 2022. Disponibile online: https://www.greenpeace.org/static/planet4-italy-stateless/2023/04/3eac43b3-report-2022-linformazione-sulla-crisi-climatica-in-italia-odp-gp-def.pdf
[only pp. 1-7 e 62-63]

- Van Aken M. (2020), Campati per aria, Elèuthera, Milano.
[only chapt. 3 "I cambiamenti climatici sono cambiamenti culturali" (pp. 95-135)].

- Wang et al. (2018), Public engagement with climate imagery in a changing digital landscape, in «WIREs Climate Change»,9(2), https://wires.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/wcc.509

- Moser S. (2010), Communicating Climate Change: History, Challenges, Process, and Future Directions, in «WIREs Climate Change», 1: 31-53, https://wires.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/wcc.11
[Students who choose to present individual or group work do not have to bring this chapter to the oral presentation]

During the course, the teacher will suggest other readings (scientific articles, reports, etc.) relating to specific case studies, which may be included in place of some of the above titles, subject to agreement with the teacher.

Non-attending students, in addition to the handout, are asked to study the following papers:

Nerlich B., Koteyko N., Brown B. (2010), Theory and language of climate change communication, in «WIREs Climate Change», 1: 97-110.

Teaching methods

Teaching is carried out by means of lectures and seminar activities, also with a workshop character.
The teacher will make use of multimedia tools and materials (films, podcasts, etc.) in order to provide greater stimuli for learning.

The course favours an approach based on active teaching: students will be asked to participate in classroom discussions, analysis of case studies, cooperative group work.

The seminar activities may include talks by experts and professionals in the field.

Assessment methods

The learning assessment consists of an oral exam on the reading materials indicated in the course's bibliography, aimed at testing the student's ability to understand, analyse and critically rework the subject of study.

For ATTENDING STUDENTS, the learning assessment consists of an oral exam on the topics addressed within the course and studied in depth through the bibliography indicated.

At the attending-student's choice, he/she will have the opportunity to replace part of the oral examination (with relief from some titles in the bibliography) by presenting individual or group work. In this case, the overall assessment will be given by:

- 40% presentation of individual or group work (max 2-3 people per group) on one of the topics covered in the course, to be agreed with the lecturer.

- 60% oral examination on the topics addressed within the course and studied in depth through the bibliography indicated.

NON-ATTENDING STUDENTS have to discuss with the teacher during an oral exam the reading material (for non-attending students) indicated in the bibliography.

Teaching tools

Lectures will be accompanied by the use of slides, audiovisual materials and other digital tools.

The slides projected in class will be made available to attending students on the Virtual Platform - LearningEnvironment.

Office hours

See the website of Valentina Cappi


Quality education Sustainable cities Responsible consumption and production Climate Action

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