Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2019/2020

Learning outcomes

The course seeks to present and explore the definitions, meanings, and traits of youth, paying attention to the social, economic and cultural frames within which youth evolves. Moreover, the course intends to introduce the main characteristics and approaches in youth policies.

At the end of the course the student is able to distinguish the main dimensions and dynamics that define youth in relation to different social, economic and cultural transformations. The student will also be able to connect these dimensions and dynamics to the different welfare regimes and approaches to youth policies.

Course contents

This course introduces some of the central themes and concepts in the sociology of youth and it is internally divided in three main parts.

The first part of the course focuses on the main concepts and definitions of youth and aims.

The second part of the course will consider how youth has evolved in history and how sociology has studied youth. In this perspective, lectures will explore the social construction of youth, the main discourses surrounding youth, subcultural approaches, the transitions to adulthood tradition. In this path of analysis, we will consider also a series of contemporary transformations of the youth condition considering, for example, young people’s relationships with work and with civic and political engagement.

Finally, we will pay attention at youth policies promoted by of national and supranational governments from around the globe to deal with the “youth issue”.


The course is based on the following basic bibliography, that all students have to study: · Spanò, A., Studiare i giovani nel mondo che cambia. Concetti, temi e prospettive negli «Youth Studies», Franco Angeli, Milano, 2018, pp. 150. · Genova, C. Culture e subculture giovanili, in Berti F., Fornari, S. (a cura di), Socio-movies. Capire la società con il cinema, Pacini editore, Pisa, 2013, pp. 117-128

· Chevalier T., “Varieties of youth welfare citizenship: towards a two-dimension typology”, Journal of European Social Policy, Vol. 26 (1), 2016, pp. 3-19

· Maurizio, R. (2015). Lo sviluppo delle politiche giovanili a livello italiano. I nuovi scenari di lavoro. In Bazzanella, A., Buzzi, C. (a cura di). Fare politiche con i giovani. Franco Angeli, Milano, 2015, pp. 172-179

International students (who do not speak Italian) are welcome to get in touch with the professor to agree a specific programme of study.

Teaching methods

The course has a seminar structure and aims to encourage participation, active involvement of students during lessons, and critical reflection. Examples from recent empirical studies and news will be used to illustrate the considered issues, as well as to encourage students to practice the application of sociological theories and perspective to the analysis of social reality. Where possible, the course will take a cross-cultural perspective, with examples both from Italy and from a variety of international contexts.

Assessment methods

Students attending classes will have the opportunity to be assessed through the preparation of a term paper on a topic agreed with the professor. Specifically, students attending classes will be invited to: a) agree a theme with the teacher and draw up a first draft of the essay (maximum 5 pages); b) present their essay to the class; b) submit a final revised essay of maximum 10 pages to the professor at the end of the course. Non-attending students will be assessed through an oral exam concerning the texts indicated in the “basic bibliography” section.

Teaching tools

PC, projector, powerpoint slides, articles and documents suggested during the lessons.

Office hours

See the website of Alessandro Martelli