cod. 02517

Academic year 2023/24
3° year of course - First semester
Academic discipline
Sociologia dei processi culturali e comunicativi (SPS/08)
Discipline filosofiche, psicologiche, sociologiche e antropologiche
Type of training activity
30 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

The course presents an introduction to the analysis of school processes and educational worlds from a sociological approach. It first analyses the main concepts, theories and research strands of the Sociology of Education, focusing on conflict theories and the paradigm of social reproduction. The political and far from neutral nature of formal education in the construction of school and social trajectories is analysed and the role of schools in the processes of reproduction of social inequalities is explored. At the end of the course, students will be able to move between the conceptual horizons of the discipline, as well as critically apply the research studied to their own future work realities.


The course has no prerequisites in particular, but basic sociological knowledge is useful. Students, in any case, attend the course having already taken the General Sociology (SPS/07) examination.

Course unit content

The course is an introduction to the Sociology of Education, which first presents the main concepts, theories and research strands of the discipline. Through the use of classical texts and recent research, the school is analysed as a field of conflict between groups belonging to different social classes and bearers of different interests, values and objectives; at the same time, the effects of education in the processes of selection, assimilation and assignment of social status are highlighted. In this line, the course analyses the role of schools in the processes of reproduction of social inequalities, dealing with research relating to marginalised schools of the working classes, as well as multi-ethnic schools and the processes of school inclusion/exclusion of students of migrant origin.

Full programme

The course analyzes the main concepts, theories and strands of research in the Sociology of Education, focusing in particular on the role of power in formal education, its function, theories of conflict and social reproduction. In this sense, the course presents key concepts in the analysis of educational worlds such as cultural capital, social capital, habitus, field and symbolic violence. The course analyses also the relationship between school and its social context and explores the school-family relationship as well as school orientation practices. A range of recent research is presented, particularly qualitative and ethnographic, concerning the processes of subaltern schooling of the working class, as well as the processes of inclusion/exclusion of male and female students of migrant origin in multi-ethnic schools, as well as the processes of racialisation and segregation practices towards certain social groups. The construction of stigma towards a certain typology of students is analysed in the course through the lens of intersectionality, in which categories such as race, class and gender must necessarily be mobilised at the same time and analysed in a cross-cutting way.


Weber M. (1997) Tipi di potere e tipi di educazione. In: Morgagni E. e Russo A. (a cura di) L’educazione in sociologia. Testi scelti. Bologna, Clueb: 47-55.

Bourdieu P. (1997) Le disuguaglianze di fronte alla scuola e alla cultura. In: Morgagni E. e Russo A. (a cura di) L’educazione in sociologia. Testi scelti. Bologna, Clueb: 107- 123.

Romito M., Antonelli F. (2018) Per un’etnografia dei processi di istruzione. Culture, disuguaglianze, dispositivi. Etnografia e Ricerca Qualitativa, 2: 205-224. (Introduzione alla Special Issue 2/2018 Etnografie critiche dei mondi scolastici)

One essay of your choice from a list of essays indicated at the beginning of the course and uploaded on Elly

One book of your choice from the following three:
Romito M. (2016) Una scuola di classe. Orientamento e disuguaglianza nelle transizioni scolastiche. Milano: Guerini e Associati.
Romito M. (2021) First-Generation Students. Essere i primi in famiglia a frequentare l'università. Roma: Carocci.
Caroselli A. (2022) Palestre di precarietà. Una etnografia delle pratiche conflittuali nella formazione tecnica e professionale. Verona: Ombre Corte.

The programmes are the same for attending and non-attending students.

Teaching methods

The course favours an approach centred on participation and the co-production of knowledge, involving the use and integration of different teaching methods: lectures; dialectical and interactive lessons based on discussion moments; viewing of documentaries related to the topics in question and debate; seminar meetings with experts and members of associations.

Assessment methods and criteria

The examination is conducted by means of an oral interview, in which students will be able to demonstrate that they have acquired the main concepts and theories of the discipline, that they know how to analyse and argue the perspectives and results of the research of their choice, and that they have developed the ability to reason critically on the topics studied. The programme texts and materials presented during the course (slides, documentaries, etc.) will be examined. knowledge and understanding of the programme content; critical ability to analyse, rework the contents and argue the studied issues; ability to apply concepts and theories of the discipline to the research analysed and to one's own experience; ability to expound clearly and with appropriate language.

Other information

All course materials, including pdf essays (both compulsory and choice essays) and the list of choice essays, can be found on the Elly Platform.