59239 - Sociology of The Territory

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2017/2018

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, students: - have a framework of the main concepts and interpretative paradigms of territorial sociology; - are able to apply these concepts and paradigms for understanding the emerging issues of the discipline; - are able to distinguish the steps of sociological territorial research; - can distinguish between qualitative and quantitative research tools, knowing the advantages and disadvantages; - know the characteristics of the main sources of information, both quantitative and qualitative.

Course contents

As regards the first part of the course, we will show the research steps that characterize territorial sociological studies. After that, we will focus on information sources for social research (direct vs indirect, quantitative vs qualitative). A particular attention will be paid to some qualitative research tools: participant observation, direct observation, the biographical approach and life histories.

As regards the second part, we will introduce some territorial studies from the Chicago School, as well as some recent studies that continue that approach from an ecological and/or ethnographic perspective. We will also introdcue the study done by Mario Small in Villa Victoria, a Boston neighborhood. It is particularly significant both for its methodological structure and  the multiple references to Chicago School approach.


For the part one:

E.Battaglini, Sviluppo territoriale. Dal disegno della ricerca alla valutazione dei risultati, FrancoAngeli, Milano, 2014.

For the part two:

M.L. Small, Villa Victoria. Povertà e capitale sociale in un quartiere di Boston, FrancoAngeli, Milano, 2011.

Further teaching material will be available during the course.

Teaching methods

Lectures and seminars.

Assessment methods

The exam will consist of a written and an oral part; they are both based on the recommended books as well as the teaching materiale that will be available during the course.
As regards the written part, students attending classes will have two tests, one about sociolgy (end of October) and one in geogrpahy (at the end of the course). If they pass both, they will have their oral part in the ordinary exam sessions. Students who are not attending classes, or the ones who do not pass the written tests, can make/remake them in the ordinary exam sessions, before doing the oral part. Attending students can substitute the oral part with a presentation at calss (further info in the document "Calendario delle lezioni"; it will be uploaded in the "Materiale didattico" webpage at the beginnin of the course).

With regard to the evaluation criteria, a language appropriate to course contents and the skill to learn and link together the main course concepts will result in excellent grades. A proper language, a mnemonic content knowledge and a good skill to link the concepts will result in good grades. Inappropriate language, some training gaps but a minimum of knowledge on the course topics will result in passing grades. Lack of guidance on the course issues, inappropriate language and training gaps will result in negative grades

Teaching tools

Use of Powerpoint  slides, use of videos, presentation of websites.

Office hours

See the website of Gabriele Manella