73297 - Sociology Of Conflict

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2018/2019

Course contents

The aim of the class is to provide students with a view of the theories and the main concepts needed to understand and analyze interpersonal, social, and political conflicts.

The first part of the class will have a theoretical focus and devoted to reconstructing the roots and tracing the main theoretical threads in the sociology of conflict. Marx, Weber and Simmel will be the starting points for the analysis of opposition among social groups, organizations or communities for the control of economic, political or cultural resources. From here onwards, many paradigms emerge. From the School of Frankfurt to Wright Mills and Bourdieu, from Simmel to Coser, and again the analysis provided by Dahrendorf, Collins, Tilly's Mobilization Resources Theory, Barrington Moore's Revolution Theory, Touraine's, Pizzorno's Melucci's theory of Social Movements, and Rational Choice Theory with his hegemonic ambition.

Violence is a privileged arena for the analysis of the origins and development of social conflict. This will be the topic of the second part of the class, where the long term perspective developed by Elias, Chesnais, Gurr, and more recently Pinker and Eisner will be the main tool used to analyze unexpected historical change in interpersonal and group violence. Active participation by attending students is expected for this part of the class.

A syllabus for attending students will be provided in the first lesson. 




Attending students:

  • Coser, L. A., I classici del pensiero sociologico. Bologna: Il Mulino. (capitoli su Marx, Weber e Simmel)
  • Jacoby, T. 2007. Understanding Conflict and Violence. London and New York: Routledge. (disponibile su Amazon in versione kindle; sono presenti alcune copie nelle biblioteche di ateneo)
  • Pilati, K., Movimenti sociali e azioni di protesta, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2018
  • Inglehart, R., Cultural Evolution, Cambridge UP, 2018
  • Other papers will be indicated during the first lessons of the class
  • Notes taken in class are integral part of the course and of the final exam.


Not attending students:

  • same as attending students, but adding:
  • Collins, Theoretical Sociology, Harcourt, 1988


More informations about the Bibliography for attending students will be provided at first lesson.

Assessment methods

Attending and non attending students have to take a written exam with open questions on mandatory readings.

The written exam could be submitted both in italian or in english.

Teaching tools

Some Power Points when needed.

Office hours

See the website of Asher Daniel Colombo