SOCIOLOGY OF CULTURAL AND COMMUNICATION PROCESSES
Learning outcomes of the course unit
At the end of the course students are expected to be able:
- to understand how the perception of the world and of reality is always mediated by cognitive processes of cultural and social codification and communication; to remember how the main linguistic and conceptual categories with which we usually describe the complex contemporary reality inevitably reproduce culturally, socially and historically determined maps and frames; to recognize and identify possible frames proposed in everyday social communication.
- to apply concepts and tools learned in the analysis of frames and “concept maps” socially used.
- to be in a position to interpret, evaluate and criticize the frames emerging in social communication and public discussion with autonomy, reflexivity and rigor.
- to know how to communicate and compare ideas and opinions in a public debate, recognizing the complexity and legitimacy of different points of view, without renouncing one's own.
- be able to intervene and participate with more awareness and with more critical and reflective tools in the world of communication and contemporary media.
The course does not require special prerequisites.
Course contents summary
The language of the contemporary world. Categories, frames and social representations
The course aims to analyze the language we use to pronounce and represent the contemporary world. The first part will offer a theoretical introduction on the issue of culture, of social representations and the importance of linguistic and cognitive frame in understanding and codification of reality. In what follows, each lesson will be dedicated to a couple of crucial terms in the construction of contemporary imaginary: gender/sex, security/insecurity, development/degrowth, globalization/localization, work/precariousness, democracy/post-democracy, war/terrorism.
- Introduction to the course: the way we pronounce the world
- Culture / Civilization
- Nature / Humanity
- Gender / Sex
- Genere / Violence
- Sacred / Profane
- Normality / Deviance
- Security / Insecurity
- Interest / Gift
- Growth / Degrowth
- Globalization / Localization
- Work / Precariousness
- Democracy / Post-democracy
- Identity / Otherness
- Universalism / pluriversalism
- War / Terrorism
Course reference manual:
Marco Deriu, Il linguaggio del mondo contemporaneo. I concetti chiave attraverso cui interpretiamo e comunichiamo la realtà in cui viviamo, Edicta, Parma, 2018 (the volume will be provided free of charge to students in PDF format at the end of the course).
For those who need a general introduction to sociology it is recommended:
Laura Gherardi (a cura di), Scoprire la sociologia: teorie e temi essenziali, Pearson, Milano, 2021.
A thematic bibliography will be supplied. Students will choose two texts to conduct a personal investigation for the final examination.
At the moment it is expected that the course will be held remotely in synchronous mode. But if the health situation allows it, the teacher could adopt the mixed mode (live in the classroom and streaming connection).
The course uses and integrates different teaching methods: frontal lessons; dialectical and interactive lessons based on solicitations and moments of discussion; viewing, commenting and discussing films and documentaries.
The course will include seminars with scholars and experts in the field of cultural and communication sociology.
Assessment methods and criteria
The exam preparation for both attending and non-attending students consists of a general preparatory work (study of the course handouts) and a written thematic study (In-depth thesis).
For the thematic deepening:
Students must choose one of the course topics (see the course's thematic bibliography) and TWO texts related to it to conduct personal study. The In-depth thesis of 10 pages (18,000-20,000 characters including spaces) will be sent by email at least three days before the appeal to firstname.lastname@example.org and will be discussed orally on the date of the appeal. Exclusively for attending students it is also possible to arrange research and in-depth study for small groups (2-3 people max.) Provided that the individual contribution in writing by each participant is clearly indicated in the essay (the length of the essays must be relatively proportional to the number of people involved).
The in-depth thesis, which forms the basis of the examination, will be judged on the basis of the following criteria:
- consistency with the course topics;
- originality in the proposed survey;
- ability to deepen, problematization and critical discussion of the chosen subject;
- breadth and appropriateness of bibliographic and documentary references compared to the in-depth literature used and to the materials of the course;
- exhibition capacity and quality of writing.
The exam consists of an interactive discussion around the contents of the essay.
The student who did not carry out the research and personal study required from the two selected books or who does not demonstrate an adequate understanding of the analyzed problem or the basic themes of the course will be considered insufficient. It will be assessed: sufficient or discreet, the student who has diligently carried out the research and the personal deepening and that proves to be able to handle with ownership the concepts and terms of the discipline; discreet or good, who in the discussion and discussion will show a greater capacity for elaboration and critical analysis; very good or excellent, who will have explored the matter in a more in depth and autonomous way, for example by consulting critical editions or by making comparisons on single editions of texts or different edition criteria. The votes will be expressed in thirtieths. The vote is communicated at the end of the test itself.
The thematic bibliography for the study and the materials of the course can be downloaded from the Elly platform entering the website of the course on "Sociology of cultural and communicative processes: http://elly2020.dusic.unipr.it