Course Unit Page


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

Gender equality Reduced inequalities Peace, justice and strong institutions

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

· At the end of the “Social Issues of Cultural and Religious Diversity” Teaching Course you’ll be able:

  • to know the main sociological theories on the relationship between modern society and religion;
  • to have in-depth knowledge on the current debate about the character of contemporary society and the socio-cultural processes in place;
  • to know the main religious doctrines of the most important churches and religious groups in our country;
  • to recognize the social and cultural issues that frequently arise in relations between Italian society and religious groups;
  • to have skills in the management and coordination of processes and services in different socio-cultural contexts of their inter-religious relations;
  • to have socio-cultural skills to facilitate the design, management, evaluation and delivery of activities and services useful to the positive solution of the difficulty of understanding and acceptance between people from different ethno-religious groups;
  • to knows how to convey these skills during routine training and updating, as well as prevention of the socio-cultural conflicts;
  • to have a critical, independent guidance and analytical skills, in order to de/re-structure the texts and messages produced during ethnic-religious conflicts;
  • to understand references to different religious and cultural visions and make out the points of convergence in favor of a positive coexistence in Italian society;
  • to manage tools of critical analysis of the reports that the media offer the tensions and conflicts in background multi-ethnic and / or religious groups;
  • to present and to speak in public debates on the conflicts with ethnic-religious groups;
  • to facilitate the cross-cultural communication and / or inter-religious one;
  • to use the tools of analysis and apply the learning methods developed to extend and update their knowledge independently of cultural and religious diversity;
  • to identify the tools and training programs suitable for the development of knowledge about cultures and religions, from time rooted in Italian society or even of recent immigration.

Course contents

  • learning methods developed to extend and update their knowledge independently of cultural and religious diversity;
  • to identify the tools and training programs suitable for the development of knowledge about cultures and religions, from time rooted in Italian society or even of recent immigration.

1. Contents

In order to achieve these objectives, the “Social Issues of Cultural and Religious Diversity” Teaching Course will be developed into three parts: the Institutional Part, the Monographic Part, and the Seminarial One.

In its Institutional Part the Teaching Course will outline the main processes, which characterize the socio-cultural changes having place in contemporary society. After describing the main approaches developed in Sociology to conceptualize the transition from traditional to modern society, the Course will offer a theoretical perspective, in order to interpret the dynamics of the changes taking place: it is the socio-cultural “logic” of the "post"-modernity, which proposes a conceptualization of non-progressive, but distorting, changes, which are the emergent effect of the relationships among agency, and social and cultural structures.

In its Monographic Part the Teaching Course will devote specific attention to three phenomena, explained by the theory of secularization/de-secularization, the following ones:

1. Religious freedom;

2. Religious pluralism in Italy;.

3. Catholicism in a Global World: youth and religion; opportunities and problems, at the attention of the 2018 Extraordinary Synod of Bishops in Rome.

The analysis of these phenomena, upstream, will have the framework of socio-cultural transformations of this Country, and downstream, will be completed by examples of management of social tensions generated by cultural and religious diversities.

Finally, an active approach will be promoted among the students to the themes of the Course. The Seminarial Part would encourage the student's theming of his/her own interests and cognitive explanations of further socio-cultural processes emerging today. To this end have been prepared some depth seminars, studies and sociological research on emerging socio-religious and cultural processes.


Writed exam will be about the topics of about 2 books (minimum program) or more books (enlarged program), chosen by the student between the below listed books:

A) In order to study the GENERAL Part of the Course (the common book):

Berger P.L., Davie G., Fokas E. (2010), Religious America, Secular Europe? A theme and variations, Ashgate, London (tr.it. America religiosa, Europa laica?, il Mulino, Bologna).

B) In order to study the MONOGRAPHIC part of the Course (you had to choose at the minimum a book among the following titles:)

Fogliadini E. (ed.) (2014), Religioni, libertà, potere (Religions, freedom, power), Vita e Pensiero, Milano [*minimum program: the 5 chapters in English language, and other 6 chs. in Italian one*].

Pace E. (ed.) (2014 2nd ed.), Le religioni nell'Italia che cambia (Religions in a changing Italy). Mappe e bussole, Carocci, Roma.

Istituto “Giuseppe Toniolo” (ed.), La condizione giovanile in Italia (The youth condition in Italy). Rapporto giovani 2018, il Mulino, Bologna.

C) In order to study the SEMINARIAL Part of the Course (you can choose a book among the following titles:)

Martelli S. (2003), Il Giubileo “mediato” (The ‘mediated’ Jubilee). Audience dei programmi televisivi e religiosità in Italia, FrancoAngeli, Milano.

Martelli S. (2005), Nei luoghi dell’al di là (In the places of the afterlife). Comportamenti socio-religiosi verso i defunti in un contesto di Terza Italia, FrancoAngeli, Milano.

Ricucci R. (2017), Diversi dall’Islam (Different from Islam). Figli dell'immigrazione e altre fedi, il Mulino, Bologna.

Salisci M. (2014), Il profeta: Padre Pio e la sua opera (The prophet: Padre Pio and his work). Un'analisi sociologica, FrancoAngeli, Milano.

Taylor C. (2002), Varietes of Religion Today, Harvard University Press, Harvard (tr.it.: 2004, La modernità della religione, Meltemi, Roma.

Teaching methods

Face-to-face lessons slide assisted, and case studies introduced by the new technologies of communications.

Assessment methods

The test will be composed by 5 open questions (the minimum program), and by other 2 questions for each choisen book (the enlarged program). In the minimum program, 2 questions will be on the common text, and 3 questions on the book (1 on 3), choisen to develop the Monographic part.

Time: maximum 40' to answer at the 5 questions of the minimum program, + maximum 20' to answer at the other 2 questions for each chosen book of the enarged program. You’ll can answer in English language, in French or in Spanish (Castilian or Catalan) one.

2 important info.s about the exam:

a) In order to gain the examination: the date of the examination will be fixed in the established periods (December/February, May/July, and September). An Erasmus+ student student could have facilitations, depending by his departure date from Bologna. Students attending at the lessons will have more chances to have success at the examination;

b) In order to be registered to the roll-call: You have to insert your name in the electronic list for the exam within the 5th day before the fixed date. You’ll have access to the e-list in the AlmaEsami page in Alma Mater-University of Bologna website, at the url: https://almaesami.unibo.it/almaesami/welcome.htm).

Teaching tools

Slides by Power Point.

Surfing the Internet.

Research outcomes, published by the SportComLab- the Study and Researches Center about the Sporting Communication of the Dept. of Educational Sciences, “Alma Mater Studiorum”- University of Bologna – see at: https://centri.unibo.it/sportcomlab/it

"Posts" sent by SportComLab (https://www.facebook.com/SportComLab) via FaceBook and Twitter, announcing the theme of the next lesson and other useful news for didactics and exams.

Links to further information


Office hours

See the website of Stefano Martelli