17270 - Sociology of Cultural and Communication Processes

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Pierluigi Musarò

  • Learning modules Pierluigi Musarò (Modulo 1)
    Stefano Spillare (Modulo 2)

  • Credits 10

  • SSD SPS/08

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures (Modulo 1)
    Traditional lectures (Modulo 2)

  • Language Italian

  • Campus of Forli

  • Degree Programme First cycle degree programme (L) in Sociology (cod. 8495)


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

Zero hunger Reduced inequalities Responsible consumption and production

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The course will introduce students to examine the sociological dimension of culture, with particular reference to the issue related to identity in the contemporary society.

Course contents

The course is taught in presence and online. 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.

The aim of the course is to describe and to analyse the different theories about sociology of culture, with particular reference to the relationship between media and power, the link between tourism and migration, within the wider process of globalisation. At the end of the course, the student will know the main paradigms to understand the transformation of contemporary society, the role played by the global media industry, and the tools to analyze the cultural industries and the different aspect of consumer's culture. Moreover, the student will be able to apply those concepts to empirical cases and to interpret and analyse critically the media in the space where power strategies are played out.

The course will propose a general framework on the main theories on sociology of culture and communication, exploring the ethical aspects of the contemporary society, with particular focus on media and migration. More specifically, it addresses how the 'right to mobility' is represented by the media and the consequences of this representation on economics, politics and ethics.

Adopting the theoretical and analytic framework of sociological research, the first part of the course explores the symbolic aspects related to food consumption and its socio-cultural dimension. After an overview of some general perspectives related to food and food culture in the contemporary world (introducing concepts such as "gastro-anomia", "food risks", "food communities and subcultures", etc.), the module will focus on the analysis of the development and the recent success of organic products, thus introducing an analysis of the change of its peculiar consumer culture. This investigation allows highlighting how the concepts and paradigms introduced by the sociology of culture might be useful to examine and describe the aspects related to different sectors such as agriculture, consumption and the dynamics of the food and non-food economy.

The second part of the course will focus on social innovation, defined as a socio-cultural learning process that involves diverse forms of knowledge and types of actors. This kind of innovation originates from the aim of answering to emerging or unresolved social problems (for example: social inequalities, gender inequalities, housing or climate issues, social integration, etc.) and turns into a collective action promoted by local actors, supporting processes of empowerment and the creation of new social relations.

Such initiatives develop, in most cases, within an economic, social and political context of change, using endogenous and exogenous resources and, sometimes, they appear as forms of appropriation of physical and symbolic spaces, giving life to collaborative practices. Among the practices of social innovation, we can find, for example, bottom-up urban regeneration projects that support the short supply chain and social inclusion, as well as artistic projects that promote new forms of citizenship for asylum seekers, or networks of responsible tourism working on sustainable local development.

Secondly, taking into account the tension between global and local dimensions, the final part of the course will focus on the impact of covid-19 on mobility justice and borders.

Moving from the gap between reality and perceptions, this part of the course focuses on how the contemporary freedom of movement corresponds to policies and practices that mark both a physical, symbolic and ethical boundary.

Finally, it will analyze how the media contribute at framing contemporary borders, defining the status of those who cross them, while influencing our sense of responsibility towards the suffering others.



Griswold W., Sociologia della cultura, il Mulino, Bologna, 2005

Spillare S. (2020). Sviluppo del comparto biologico ed evoluzione della sua cultura di consumo: un approccio socioculturale al consumer engagement. In: Kodilja R., Qualizza G. (a cura di). Il ritorno dei luoghi. Place of orgin e consumer engagement: nuove mappe per creare valore. ETS, Pisa.

Moralli M., Innovazione sociale. Pratiche e processi per ripensare le comunità. Franco Angeli, Milano, 2019

Musarò P., Confine liquido, in Giordana E. (a cura di), Sconfinate. Terre di Confine e Storie di Frontiera, Rosenberg & Sellier, Torino, 2018, pp. 147 - 157

Musarò P., Pandemia, infodemia, fobocrazia. Quel nemico invisibile che ha spento e riacceso le luci sugli invisibili. Disponibile su: https://openmigration.org/idee/pandemia-infodemia-fobocrazia-quel-nemico-invisibile-che-ha-spento-e-riacceso-le-luci-sugli-invisibili/


Only if you feel not prepared in Sociological theory, I suggest you to read:

Jedlowski Paolo, Il mondo in questione, Carocci, Roma, 2009, Cap. 1-7, 10-14.

Giddens A., Sutton P.W., Fondamenti di sociologia, il Mulino, Bologna, 2014, cap. 1-8, 10 e 13.


Teaching methods

A mix of lectures, seminars, collective discussion, student's presentations, documentaries and films on the issues of consumptiond and advertising, international cooperation, migration and social communication.

Assessment methods

Grades are based on a final discussion of the programme.

For the students who attend the course, the assessment will consider the participation, debate and group presentation during class discussion and the midterm exams. 


- to have understood the programme

- to be able to develop sociological inferences in an original way

- to be able to apply empirically the main concepts of sociology of culture


Teaching tools

Papers, films and documentaries, web sites, Pc.

Office hours

See the website of Pierluigi Musarò

See the website of Stefano Spillare