81779 - Web Society and Globalization (LM)

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2019/2020

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to distinguish and analyze the different notions of globalization, and how information technologies affecteveryday life, markets, and the process of consumption. In particular, the student will be able to: - develop an understanding of “Globalization” through a sociological lens - understand the culture of the Internet and the relationship between globalization and web society - analyze the impact on individual behaviors and society at large within Social Networks & Online Communities through the mainstreaming of private information posted to the public sphere - frame the emergence of a new rhetoric of “democratization” and participation in the web society - understand the changing relationship between producers, consumers and “prosumers” in the web society - recognize consequences and effects of the Digital Divide nationally and worldwide.

Course contents

A printed detailed syllabus will be provided to students the first day of class, the four learning modules that structure the course are:

1. Globalizations

1.1 Definition

1.2 History

1.3 Critiques

1.4 Social Consequences

2. Web society e social media

2.1 Context analysis

2.2 Media Evolution

2.3 Social Consequences

3. Production, consumption, prosumption

3.1 Paradigm and definition

3.2 The rise of the prosumer

3.3 Prosumer capitalism

4. Digital divide and inequalities

4.1 Definition

4.2 Characteristics

4.3 Consequences

Each module will have specific reading material and planned classroom activities


  • George Ritzer (2018), The McDonaldization of Society: Into the Digital Age, SAGE Publications.
  • J. van Dijk (2018), The Platform Society: Public Values in a Connective World, Oxford University Press.
  • D. Lupton (2015), Digital Sociology, Routledge, London.

Students can choose to substitute a text among the compulsory ones with one of those below

  • N. Agar (2019), How to BeHuman in the Digital Economy, The MIT Press.
  • Ed Finn (2018), What Algorithms Want. Imagination in the Age of Computing, The MIT Press.
  • Jeffrey Garten (2016), From Silk to Silicon: The Story of Globalization, Amberley Publishing Limited.
  • D. Tapscott A. Tapscot (2016)t, Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Penguin.

During the lectures will be given mandatory specific teaching materials (book chapters, articles, papers, documents, video). All the references will be available on the University of Bologna online teaching material platform.

Teaching methods

A mix of lectures, seminars, collective discussion, student's presentations, documentaries and films.
Students are expected to be prepared on the assigned readings before each class.
Participation is expected and rewarded.

Assessment methods

  • Active participation and discussions 30%
  • Presentation and midterm exam 40%
  • Final paper 30%

Participation: Since this is a seminar, active participation in class is a crucial part of your learning. Through short essays, news articles, videos, web sites, or readings you will help the teacher to stimulate discussion during the class.

Presentation and midterm test: This is a research-based presentation – intended as a synthesis of both the literary and political materials we have discussed during the course - that you (or your study group) will read or present to the class in whatever format you wish. Further, there is a midterm in class exam in which the students are required to answer to some questions (both open and closed).

Final Paper: This will be on a focused topic of your choice, drawing on research and careful analysis of select readings for the class. Further guidance will be given in class

To pass the course you must pass ALL assessments.

To register the final grade is necessary that you enrol in the official dates in the website Almaesami

For those students who did not pass the exam, or wish to improve their score, it is MANDATORY to write a paper of 5000 words that includes-quotes (Chicago Manual of Style) about ALL the papers and textbooks of the program.

You have to deliver it printed in my office at least 2 weeks before the data of the oral exam and then you will discuss and defend your work (and the program, see readings section) during the exam.

It is NOT POSSIBLE to attend the oral exam if the paper was not delivered on time and passed. Final score will be a weighted average of the two tests.

Teaching tools

The teaching materials will be available to the students.

All student papers will be verified through the Compilatio.net plagiarism verification system

Office hours

See the website of Piergiorgio Degli Esposti