66402 - Sociology of Cultural and Communicative Processes (Advanced Course)

Course Unit Page


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

Quality education Peace, justice and strong institutions

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

The course centres on the concept of culture, on the changes that such a concept undergoes with the development of mass media and the so-called information society and on the functions that it takes on in the socio-political dynamics of the so-called global society. By the end of the course students will know the main theories of communication and their influence on culture in general and political culture in particular. They also will be able to find their way around the ritual forms and symbolic uses of politics in today's global society.

Course contents

The course is divided into a general section and a specialisation section.  The general section will centre on the concept of culture, the changes that this concept has undergone with the spread of mass media and the so-called information society.  The monographic section instead will focus on Juergen Habermas' theory of communicative action and Niklas Luhmann's theory of social systems as paradigmatic (and antithetical) representations of a society where communication seems to have increasingly become the structural element of society itself. Special attention will be paid to the political and institutional implications of these theories.


For the general section:

S. Belardinelli, Cultura, in S. Belardinelli, L. Allodi (a cura di), Sociologia della cultura, FrancoAngeli, Milano, 2005, pp. 11-25.

G. Simmel, Concetto e tragedia della cultura, in Id., Arte e civiltà, Isedi, Milano, 1976, pp. 83-109.

G. Gili, La credibilità. Quando e perché la comunicazione ha successo, Rubbettino,Soveria Mannelli 2005.

For the specialisation section:

Together with the professor, students will select a text by J. Habermas and N. Luhmann to read.

Assessment methods

The exam consists of an oral interview for both parts of the course. Particular attention will be paid to the student's ability to critically connect the different examination topics. Students are required to have an accurate knowledge of the texts by Habermas and Luhmann. Gaps in basic knowledge, inappropriate vocabulary and a lack of ability to orient oneself within the different examination topics will be evaluated negatively.

Office hours

See the website of Sergio Belardinelli