75074 - Web Society and Globalization

Course Unit Page


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

Gender equality Sustainable cities Responsible consumption and production Peace, justice and strong institutions

Academic Year 2020/2021

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 affect everyday 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

The course is organized with a part of lectures taught online on MS TEAMS (20 hours) and another taught in presence (20 hours). The number of students allowed in class is determined on the basis of class capacity and by the health and safety provisions that deal with the pandemic emergency. In case more students want to attend classes in presence than permitted by the rules, a system of shifts will be organized so to allow students to participate. Regardless of the health-related conditions and the specific organization of the course, students will be able to follow the lessons of the entire course remotely on MS TEAMS.

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



  • G. 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.


  • G. Ritzer, P. Degli Esposti (2020), Creative Destruction and Cultural Lag in the Digital Age, Sociology Between the Gaps
  • G. Ritzer, P. Degli Esposti (2020), The increasing centrality of prosumption in the digital capitalist economy, Austrian Journal of Sociology, Online First, pp. 1 - 19

Program for non attending students and those who will fail mid term test

Students have to add to the program one book and two articles from the selection 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.


  • G. Ahrne, P. Aspers, N. Brunsson (2015) The Organization of Markets, Organization Studies, Vol. 36(1) 7-22, Sage.
  • R. J. Foster, The Work of the New Economy: Consumers, Brands and Value Creation, Cultural Anthropology, Vol. 2 issue 4, pp. 707-731, University of California Press.
  • B. Cova, D. Dalli (2009), Working Consumers: The Next Step in Marketing Theory?, Marketing Theory, Volume: 9 issue: 3, page(s): 315-339, Sage.
  • D. Lyon (2010), Liquid Surveillance. The Contribution of Zygmunt Bauman to Surveillance Studies, International Political Sociology 4.
  • D. Lyon (2002), Surveillance in Cyberspace: The Internet, Personal Data, & Social Control, Queen's Quarterly, 109 (3).

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 25%
  • Presentation and assignments 25%
  • Midterm exam 25%
  • Final paper 25%

Participation: Since this is a seminar, active participation in class is a crucial part of your learning.

Students are required to carefully read the assigned material before the class and active participation through presentations of existing scholarship and case studies will also be expected.

A printed detailed syllabus will be provided to students the first day of 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

Students must attend at least 70% of classes.

Grading Scales

From 30L to 29, With honors and commendations = A+

From 28 to 27, Very Good = A

From 26 to 24, Good = B

From 23 to 19, Satisfactory = C

18, Sufficient = D

<18, Fail = F

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 non attending students, and for those who fail the midterm or the final, 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