66402 - Sociology of Cultural and Communicative Processes (Advanced Course)

Course Unit Page


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

Good health and well-being Quality education Sustainable cities Peace, justice and strong institutions

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The course centres on the concept of culture, on the changes that such a concept undergoes with the development of mass media and the so-called information society and on the functions that it takes on in the socio-political dynamics of the so-called global society. By the end of the course students will know the main theories of communication and their influence on culture in general and political culture in particular. They also will be able to find their way around the ritual forms and symbolic uses of politics in today's global society.

Course contents

The course is organised into lectures and seminars, according to the logic of the inverted classroom. Lectures (16 hours) aim to introduce students to the core tenets of the discipline. Seminars (12 hours) aim to provide occasions for in-depth discussions of class materials and exercises. Students attend 8 lectures on theoretical interpretations. In the seminar section, students are divided into two groups, each of which must attend 6 seminars. The activation of online classes will depend on the evolution of the pandemic situation.

Lectures (16 hours) will be divided in two parts: the first part will focus on the relation between culture and technological society, with specific attention to the theme of innovation; the second part will focus on the "critical theory" elaborated by the Frankfurt School.

The seminar section (12 hours) will be about the  role of trust in communication, specifically focusing on Pandemic Covid 19 and the essay by Niklas Luhmann The reality of the mass media. In this section students will be expected to make at least one formal intervention in class (or online during the seminar time, depending on the conditions). The argument of the intervention will be agreed with the professor, who will provide students with references.



For the general section:

S. Belardinelli, Cultura, in S. Belardinelli, L. Allodi (a cura di), Sociologia della cultura, FrancoAngeli, Milano, 2005, pp. 11-25.

G. Simmel, Concetto e tragedia della cultura, in Id., Arte e civiltà, Isedi, Milano, 1976, pp. 83-109.

M. Horkheimer, T. Adorno, Dialettica dell'Illuminismo, Einaudi, Torino 1974. 

For the seminar section:

N. Luhmann, La realtà dei mass media, Franco Angeli, Milano 2000;

S. Belardinelli, G. Gili, Fidarsi. Cinque forme di fiducia alla prova del Covid-19, in "Mediascapes Journal", 15/2020, pp. 80-98.

More references for the seminar section will be provided during class.

Teaching methods

Lectures and seminars

Assessment methods

The course will be assessed by two written exams and an oral exam for non attending students: the first written exam (four open questions) will focus on the topics covered during the first 16 hours of the course; the second written exam will focus on the seminars of the course.

Participation in class will be part of the final assessment. Non-attending students and students who will not participate in seminars' discussions will be required to answer four (rather than two) open questions in the second written exam. Non attending students are required to take an oral exam on one of the texts of the program, in accordance with the teacher.

Attending students who cannot attend an intermediate exam will be allowed to take it in the first of the three sessions held in January and February. In case the student will not attend the first session either, he/she will need to take the entire written exam, likewise non attending students, consisting of 8 open-ended questions, plus an oral exam.




Office hours

See the website of Sergio Belardinelli

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