82146 - Globalization And Capitalism

Course Unit Page


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

No poverty Gender equality Decent work and economic growth Reduced inequalities

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The course, after having proposed some theoretical-general interpretative grids on capitalism, intends to focus on the economic and social transformations that have characterized it since the crisis of its fordist and industrial development model. More specifically, the objective of the course is to provide students with some interpretative coordinates of social phenomena that qualify capitalism starting from the processes that globalization has entailed on the productive organization, on the valorisation processes and on the social experiences of work and new technologies of production. The theme of the diffusion of new social profiles of vulnerability and the phenomenon of occupational and social precariousness, are also areas of analysis and privileged reflection of the course. At the end of the course the student is able to understand and master the most important sociological concepts on capitalism and on the phenomena of globalization. In addition, the student recognizes and governs the key topics presented in the classroom and the topics advanced through the texts examined and possibly investigated with experts invited in the classroom. It has knowledge about the relationship between work and growing processes of social precariousness, between transformations of the labor market and crisis and welfare systems, between cognitive work, the service economy and new world production contexts.

Course contents

The course is organized on two main thematic topics. The first of these is dedicated to reconstructing on a theoretical and methodological level and starting from Karl Marx opera, of the concept of capitalism, a concept that too often is taken for granted and which we instead consider opportune to study in its conceptual and historical-social genealogy. We will try to answer some fundamental questions about that: what should we mean for capitalism? What are the structural characteristics of this economic and social organization model? What are the fundamental processes that through contemporary capitalism? How has the latter changed with respect to its previous industrial and post-industrial phases? What are its most stringent current critical issues?

This first axis of reflection meets the themes of the second part of the course, dedicated to the conceptual reconstruction of the most recent phenomena of spatialization of capitalism (globalization) and the overall reconfiguration of the production processes connected to it. The fundamental objective of the second part of the course will be, in other words, to reflect on the complexity of the lines of development from which the global space of contemporary capitalism is breaking up and recomposing itself today. In particular, three themes that profoundly characterize the profile of the operations of contemporary capitalism will be the subject of the specific arguments of this year's course: Logistics, Finance and Extraction. Finally, these phenomena will be observed through a critical theoretical perspective of a postcolonial type capable of thematising the capitalist present not as a fact to be acquired but as a problem to be faced and attempted to solve.

The same topics will be analyzed in the classroom through the vision of films and documentaries that will provide important insights to deepen the social relevance of such phenomena.


First part of the course:

Chicchi F., Karl Marx. La soggettività come prassi, Feltrinelli, Milano, 2019.

Second part of the course:

Mezzadra S., Neilson B., Operazioni del capitale. Capitalismo contemporaneo tra sfruttamento ed estrazione, manifestolibri, Roma, 2020.

The program of study for attending students could have some changes that will be communicated during the course by the teacher. To become attending students it will be necessary to enroll in the course in the way that will be proposed in the classroom by the teacher.

Teaching methods

The different sections of the course will be centered around lectures led by the theacher. Moreover, a seminar activity with experts and relevant scholar and several screenings will be planned.

At the methodological level, it is important to underline the pivotal role that will be played by paradigms and interpretative frameworks. Those tools are necessary to comprehend both problems and their analytical contents. Otherwise put, the students will be provided with transversal competencies for the understanding of sociology of labour. The goal, to conclude, is to build up with them a methodological tool-box.

Assessment methods

To evaluate the degree of students knowledge, for this teaching, the exam will be in written form.

Only for attending students one written partial test is been scheduled. The final exam will also be in writing.

Teaching tools

Students will be able to find information and important teaching materials to support the course at the web spaces set up by the University for this purpose.

Office hours

See the website of Federico Chicchi