Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Loris Vergolini

  • Learning modules Loris Vergolini (Modulo Lez.)
    Loris Vergolini (Modulo Sem 1)
    Loris Vergolini (Modulo Sem 2)
    (Modulo D.Ass)

  • Credits 10

  • SSD SPS/07

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures (Modulo Lez.)
    Traditional lectures (Modulo Sem 1)
    Traditional lectures (Modulo Sem 2)
    Traditional lectures (Modulo D.Ass)

  • Language Italian

  • Campus of Bologna

  • Degree Programme First cycle degree programme (L) in Political, Social and International Sciences (cod. 8853)


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

Reduced inequalities

Academic Year 2021/2022

Course contents

The course aims to provide students with the theoretical and conceptual tools for understanding and interpreting the transformations that have characterized human societies and apply the knowledge learned to specific historical and contemporary phenomena.

The course adopts a teaching method inspired by the logic of the "flipped classroom". The course is divided into two parts.

The first part consists of 16 frontal lessons (32 hours) and the aim is the acquisition of basic conceptual tools. In the first lessons of the course, the main theoretical approaches of the classical authors are reviewed and then the changes experienced by human societies are analyzed in detail.

The second part is organized in seminar mode (7 lessons for 14 classroom hours) and aims to offer students the opportunity to apply the knowledge acquired in the first part. The seminars will focus on the analysis of the social change that occurred in the configuration of the social structure and social inequalities as a result of the transformation of the economic and production system that have affected Western societies.


Attending students:

Madatory textbooks:

Chirot, D. (2010). Sociologia del mutamento. Come cambiano le società. Bologna: Il Mulino.

Livi Bacci, M. (2016). Storia minima della popolazione del mondo. Bologna: Il Mulino (quinta edizione).

For the seminars, the articles will be communicated within the first week of the course and will be uploaded on virtual.

Additional readings (suggested, but not mandatory)

Lenski, G. E. (2013). Power and privilege: A theory of social stratification. UNC Press Books.

Inglehart, R. (2018). Cultural evolution: People's motivations are changing, and reshaping the world. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Sarti, S. (2021). Il caso e la Società : Il ruolo del caso nei fenomeni umani e sociali. Torino: UTET.


By March 8, 2022, attending students must register at https://forms.office.com/r/tattfACDhx.

From the fifth lecture (March 9, 2022), the roll call will be taken.


Non attending students:

Main textbook (mandatory):

Chirot, D. (2010). Sociologia del mutamento. Come cambiano le società. Bologna: Il Mulino.

A text of your choice among:

Inglehart, R. (2018). Cultural evolution: People's motivations are changing, and reshaping the world. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Livi Bacci, M. (2016). Storia minima della popolazione del mondo. Bologna: Il Mulino (fifth edition).

Additional readings (mandatory):

Bernardi, F. (2009). Globalizzazione, individualizzazione e morte delle classi sociali: uno studio empirico su 18 paesi Europei. Polis, 23(2), 195-220.

Breen, R., Luijkx, R., Müller, W., & Pollak, R. (2009). Nonpersistent inequality in educational attainment: Evidence from eight European countries. American Journal of Sociology, 114(5), 1475-1521.

Barone, C., Luijkx, R., & Schizzerotto, A. (2008). Elogio dei grandi numeri. Il lento declino delle disuguaglianze scolastiche in Italia. Polis, 24(1), 21-44.

Beck, U. (2007). Beyond class and nation: reframing social inequalities in a globalizing world 1. The British Journal of Sociology, 58(4), 679-705.

Wright, E. O. (a cura di). (2005). Approaches to class analysis. Cambridge University Press. (Capitoli obbligatori: Introduzione, 2, 6, conclusioni)

Esping-Andersen, G., & Posta, P. D. (1991). Strutture di classe post-industriali: un confronto tra Germania, Svezia e Stati Uniti. Stato e mercato, 219-247.

The lecturer reserves the right to modify the readings prior to the start of the course.

Teaching methods

The first part of the course is based on traditional frontal lectures with the possible help of slides in power point or .pdf format. Personally, I am not a big fan of slides, but I understand the usefulness they can have and, therefore, I will do my best to make them available before the lectures.

During the seminar part, there will be individual or group presentations by attending students followed by a discussion moderated by the lecturer. For these lessons, students have to read the required reference manual and studied the readings that will be provided at the beginning of the course before the class.

The schedule of presentations will be organised during the first two weeks of class.

Assessment methods

For attending students, the final grade will be given by:

  • Presentation and participation: 30% of grade.
  • Writing a research note of approximately 2,000 words exploring changes in a social phenomenon of student's interest (to be agreed with the lecturer): 70% of the grade.
  • Upon request, the student may request an additional oral exam on the topics covered in the course (+/- 2 additional points).

Regarding the research note, the text will be checked through the anti-plagiarism software Compilatio. In general, copy and paste are not allowed and you incur in the crime of plagiarism (useful indication also for the thesis). If you believe that it is relevant to report verbatim some sentences of other authors, these must be strictly reported between quotation marks with the indication of the number of the page (example: As Goofy argues, "the invention of writing..." (Goofy 2018, 15).

The maximum threshold for tolerating copying is 20%.

To be considered attending students, you must attend at least 80% classes in both parts: at least 12 lectures from the first part of the course and 6 from the second part of the course.

For non-attending students, the exam will be based on an oral exams on the reading listed in the bibliography (one question for section). Some of the articles are based on complex statistical analyses. The exam will not focus on the statistical part of the texts, but on the substantial findings. The teacher is always available to provide any methodological clarifications during office hours.

Please note that exam modes may be subject to change according to the health emergency.

Candidates who pass the exam can refuse the final grade (thus requesting to re-take the exam) only once, in accordance with the university’s teaching regulations (art. 16, comma 5).

After having rejected a passing mark, any other subsequent passing mark will be recorded definitively in candidates’ transcripts.


Teaching tools

Teaching material uploaded on virtual

Office hours

See the website of Loris Vergolini

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