28386 - Sociology of Territory and Culture

Course Unit Page


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

Gender equality Affordable and clean energy Sustainable cities Responsible consumption and production

Academic Year 2022/2023

Learning outcomes

The student is expected to learn the basis of sociology. In particular, the student is expect to learn: - the transformation processes in cultural consumption - the systems of social communication and information.

Course contents

This course provides an introduction to the field of Sociology providing a brief history of the development of the discipline and its scope in relationship with other social sciences. After the introductory phase in which the fundamental notion will be provided the course seeks to develop an understanding of the emergence of modern and contemporary spaces of consumptions considered ideal types useful to understand the contemporary western culture.

Consumer culture is an essential trait in the social and cultural landscapes of the world of today. This course investigates how consumption spaces, such as shopping malls, themes parks and digital platforms shape and are shaped by global social and cultural development.

The main notions that will be discussed are related but not limited to:

  • Globalizations
  • Material culture
  • Consumption as a practice
  • Prosumption
  • Shopping malls, themes park and digital platforms
  • Social media and digital platforms
  • Coexistence of physical and digital spaces

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.


  • J. Mansvelt (2005), Geographies of Consumption, SAGE, London (Chapter 3).
  • G. Ritzer (2018), The McDonaldization of Society: Into the Digital Age, SAGE, 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.
  • J. van Dijk (2018), The Platform Society: Public Values in a Connective World, Oxford University Press. (Chapters 1-2-4)

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

Students are expected to do each week’s readings in advance of class, and to attend each lecture and section meeting. Your attendance and participation, and your level of engagement with the readings, are crucial to the quality of your experience as well as your success in the course. There are four major components of the course, all of which are required:

  1. Actively participate in at least 2 class debates
  2. Deliver one class presentation (individual or group)
  3. Turn in final paper (3000 words)
  4. Final Exam (defend final paper)

If you DO NOT ATTEND the course and you would like to do the exam, please contact the professor in advance.

The final exam aims to verify the achievement of the educational objectives. Students must attend at least 70% of classes.

Participation: Since this is a seminar, active participation in class is a crucial part of your learning. Through news articles, videos, web sites, or readings you will help the teacher to stimulate discussion during the class.

Presentation: 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.

Final paper: students have to write a paper of 3000 words on a topic agreed with the teacher.

Final exam: there is a final in class exam in which the students are required to answer to defend their final paper.

Evaluation criteria:

  • Active participation and discussions during lectures (25%)
  • Individual or group presentation (25%)
  • Final paper (25%)
  • Final exam (25%)

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

Teaching tools

In-person lectures and seminar activities will be supported by educational material in digital form: slides and scientific articles in particular. Students will be able to use computers or tablets for class activities.
An extensive bibliography will also be provided for those who wish to study the subject in depth.

All student papers will be verified through the Compilatio.net plagiarism verification system

Office hours

See the website of Piergiorgio Degli Esposti