GENERAL SOCIOLOGY
cod. 12997

Academic year 2021/22
3° year of course - Second semester
Professor
Laura GHERARDI
Academic discipline
Sociologia generale (SPS/07)
Field
Attività formative affini o integrative
Type of training activity
Related/supplementary
60 hours
of face-to-face activities
12 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit
in ITALIAN

Learning objectives

The course aims to provide students with the knowledge and the basic concepts of sociology and social sciences developing a part devoted to the history of sociological thought, and a theoretical part, linked to the study of society.

Prerequisites

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Course unit content

The course is an introduction to classical and contemporary sociological
thought. It proposes a track – which articulates theories and themes in sociology –
with particular attention to interdisciplinary connections and to divergent sociological
perspectives (based on assumptions, articulation of
theories, methods of research and analysis on the ethical/political level).
By the in-depth study of key topics in contemporary sociological debate,
the course intends to stimulate the comprehension of contemporary society and sociological imagination as well as its application.

Full programme

The first section of the course (6 ECTS) is dedicated to classical authors,
to the theoretical perspectives and to the topics that have signaled the
birth and development of sociology in the 19th century. The genesis of
the disciplines is analyzed, its distinctive dimensions together with
structural functionalist theories, conflict theories and of the agent. For
every theoretical perspective that is proposed, the assumptions, the main
arguments, the main categories, the themes and the major contemporary
developments are laid forth. Among such themes, particular attention will
be paid to the process of socialization, to institutions – from the family
through the school system to organizations – and to inequalities. Specific
in-depth studies will be offered about major figures of the discipline who
have marked history, among whom Durkheim, Marx, Weber, Simmel,
Mead, Parsons and the intellectuals of the school of Frankfurt.
The second section of the course (6 ECT) is dedicated to the in-depth
study of contemporary authors and of the topics upon which present day
international sociological debate centers. Theories about post-industrial
and post-modern society, globalization, rational choice, gift are analyzed.
For each theoretical perspective that is proposed, assumptions,
arguments and main categories are highlighted. The different
perspectives are compared on similar topics such as: power, culture,
globalization, social and cultural change, justice. Such topics, in turn, are
analyzed according to the key analytical categories of the discipline with
attention to interdisciplinary dialogue. From the sociology of
contemporary –circumstantially exemplified by interdisciplinary critique–,
a special focus will be made on the topic of justice, which is particularly
relevant for the sociological debate at the ethical/political level. Specific
in-depth studies will be offered on some of the authors mentioned in the
first section of the course, among whom Bourdieu, Goffman, Habermas,
Bauman, Beck, Giddens, Boltanski.

Bibliography

For the final examination (12 ECT), attending and non-attending students
are required to prepare:
GHERARDI L. (a cura di) Scoprire la sociologia: teorie e temi essenziali, Pearson, Milano 2020
Optional: GHERARDI L., La dotazione. L’azione sociale oltre la giustizia, Mimesis, Milano 2018

For the final examination (6 ECT), attending and non-attending students
are required to prepare:
GHERARDI L. (a cura di) Scoprire la sociologia: teorie e temi essenziali, Pearson, Milano 2020 (chapters 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7)

Teaching methods

Oral lectures, during which the general contents of the course and the
critical analysis of excerpts of the works of major classical and
contemporary authors will be discussed. The excerpts of the works that
have been discussed in class will be made available online on Elly (digital
platform). Interactions among students and with the teacher is warmly
stimulated through the proposal of discussion times, at the end of every
lesson, about the contents that have been studied. At the end of the
course, a list of the major authors, themes and categories studied in class
will be published online on Elly.

Assessment methods and criteria

The written exam is a 45 minutes test which consists in 3 open queries
about topics inherent to the course. Upon completion of the test, the
student is required to hand over their exam along with an optional short written
critical commentary (6-8 pages, only for the 12 ECT) that they will have
written about an issue chosen at their own discretion, taken from the
book La dotazione. L’azione sociale oltre la giustizia, listed in the
bibliography.
Grading:
Fail: less than approximate or wrong knowledge about the topic
18-21: elementary knowledge of the topic, and/or improper knowledge,
partial capacity for presentation and argumentation.
22-25: Fair knowledge of the topic, fairly solid presentation and
argumentation capacity
26-29: Good knowledge or very good knowledge of the topic, good or
very good presentation and argumentation capacity.
30: precise knowledge of the topic, optimal presentation and
argumentation capacity
30 cum laude: precise knowledge of the topic, optimal presentation and
argumentation capacity, pertinent personal re-elaboration of the
knowledge
Note
The critical commentary text (12 ECT) is to be written in compliance with
the rules of academic writing. The structure is composed of an
introductory section to the aspect to be treated, a
development/argumentation section and a conclusion. Elaboration notes
should be inserted as footnotes; all references should be duly signaled
(even references from online sources), direct quotations are place in
inverted commas; the bibliographical and websites references are written
at the end of the text. Originality of the contribution is highly
appreciated, that is, contribution which feature personal reflexivity from
the student in commenting an aspect chosen at their own discretion from
the book La dotazione. L’azione sociale oltre la giustizia, listed in the
bibliography

Other information

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