08540 - Sociology of Development

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

After completing the course the student: - will have basic knowledge about the sociological approaches to development issues, development intervention and social planning - he will be able to formulate action plans at a local level and assess issues relating to policies development and governance.

Course contents

The course aims at building the basic knowledges about two specific issues:

  • sociological approaches to the problems of the development
  • issues of social projecting and intervention

1st part : Which modernity?

Modernization and development: the problem of the transformation of the society in some of the most relevant sociological approaches and in the debate related to them. What does it mean modernity? And the dichotomy development/underdevelopment? Which is the genealogy of these concepts? What concepts and categories are more adequate for understanding of the social transformation? Who, and how, should participate to the transformative processes? What dimensions should be addressed for really improving the quality of life? How social justice's issues influence the processes of globalization?

2nd part: Projecting the development

Projecting, in the poor and in the rich countries: why do project and produce interventions? how arise the development projects? What kind of problems they raise? Which relationships exist between policy design and daily implementation of that projects? And among the different dimensions involved (territorial, social, economical, organizational, cultural, political, etc.)? Which actors are playing? What are the conditions of sustainability of that projecting?

3rd part: Specific topics

Seminars based on the presentations - by the students - of materials on specific issues of the contemporary debate on the development: different models of capitalism, migration processes, structural adjustments, poverty, urban development, role of cultural dimension, privatizations, movements for the 'globalization from below', the capability approach, etc.


Course contents are directly and indirectly related to  Sustainable Development Goals. In particoular, the following SDGs will touched:

1.No poverty

8. Decent work and economic growth

11. Sustainable cities and communities.



1st part

Students attending the lectures:

  • from G. Rist, Lo sviluppo: storia di una credenza occidentale, Bollati Boringhieri, Torini, 1997, the Chapter "L'invenzione dello sviluppo";
  • Martinelli A., La modernizzazione, Laterza, Roma-Bari, 2010 [older editions are lacking some parts].

(It is warmly suggested the reading of: Voce "Modernità" (di D. Frisby) dalla Enciclopedia delle Scienze Sociali Treccani (disponibile presso la Bibl. del Dipartimento di Sociologia);

Students not attending the lectures :

  • Voice "Modernità" (di D. Frisby) dalla Enciclopedia delle Scienze Sociali Treccani (disponibile presso la Bibl. del Dipartimento di Sociologia);
  • from G. Rist, Lo sviluppo: storia di una credenza occidentale, Bollati Boringhieri, Torino, 1997, the Chapter "L'invenzione dello sviluppo";
  • from W. Sachs, Dizionario dello sviluppo, Ega, Torino, 2004, voices: Partecipazione M. Rahnema; Risorse, V. Shiva; Sviluppo G. Esteva
  • Martinelli A., La modernizzazione, Laterza, Roma-Bari, 2010 [Attention: older editions are lacking some parts].
2nd part: projecting the development

Students attending and not attending the lectures, one text among the following ones:

  • issues of international cooperation: L. Carrino (2016), Perle, pirati e sognatori. Dall'aiuto allo sviluppo a una nuova cooperazione internazionale, Franco Angeli, Milano;
  • issue of local development: Barca F. (2010), Un’agenda per la riforma della politica di coesione e Uval (2014), Strategia nazionale per le aree interne; both available online as pdf in the teaching stuff
  • issues of social legitimation to human intervention: Boltanski L. (2000), Lo spettacolo del dolore. Morale umanitaria, media e politica, Raffaello Cortina, Milano

and moreover, students not attending the lectures:

  • Ugo Rossi, Filippo Celata, Ripensare le politiche di sviluppo locale in Italia: un approccio territoriale-relazionale in "ARCHIVIO DI STUDI URBANI E REGIONALI" 112/2015, pp. 11-33

3rd part:

Students attending the lectures:

  • Students present and discuss materials, agreed with the professor.

Students not attending the lectures, one text among the following ones:

  • M. D'Eramo (2017), Il selfie del mondo, Feltrinelli, Milano
  • P. McMichael (2016), Regimi alimentari e questioni agrarie, Rosenberg&Sellier, Torino.

Teaching methods

Conventional lectures and presentations of agreed issues by the students

Assessment methods

1. Students attending the lectures:

  1. presentation and discussion of agreed articles and delivering of a long, structured abstract
  2. written examination

2. Students not attending the lectures:

- written examination.

3. For everyone

The publication of the results will be announced on the Unibo website of the Professor, on the News’ page. These results will be published on the teaching materials of the course. After ten days by the publication of the results, if there is no communication from the students, the vote will be considered accepted and will therefore be recorded.

The written exam, for attending and non-attending students, consists of five open questions and must be held within 90 minutes. In order for the test to be assessed, it is necessary to provide an answer to all five questions.

The score is assigned based on the following criteria:
- 65% for the consistency and accuracy of the answers to the three questions on the topics of the first part of the course
- 20% for the other two questions
- 15% relative to the grammatical and syntactic quality of all the answers.

The evaluation of written exams, especially when very numerous, may take a long time: those with deadlines (Final thesis, Erasmus or other) are asked to take this into account and consequently evaluate the best sessionfor for taking the exam.

Teaching tools

Slides and other stuff for deepening issues available at the teaching stuff online site. The documents made available on IOL will be deleted a few months after the end of the course (and in any case, by June).

Office hours

See the website of Vando Borghi