cod. 1010246

Academic year 2023/24
2° year of course - Second semester
Academic discipline
Sociologia dei processi culturali e comunicativi (SPS/08)
Discipline storiche, geografiche, filosofiche, sociologiche e psicologiche
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 educational processes and training worlds from a sociological approach. The political nature of educational processes and the ambivalent relationship between merit and social equity are emphasised, as well as the role and the ways in which educational institutions deal with social inequalities, gender inequalities and those related to the migratory origin of students. The course pays particular attention to the analysis of subaltern youth subcultures, multicultural schools and social frontiers within educational contexts. At the end of the course, students are expected to be able to move critically within these theoretical and empirical perspectives and to be able to make useful reflections in applying this knowledge to their own social reality and professional perspectives.


There are no particular prerequisites for this course, however, it is facilitated if courses in the area of sociology have been taken previously.

Course unit content

The course presents the main research strands and theoretical approaches of the sociology of educational and training processes, focusing on the topic of inequalities and social reproduction in educational worlds, both through classical studies and recent research. In particular, emphasis is placed on the study of the schooling of working-class youth subcultures, as well as the trajectories of students of migrant origin and the construction of the colour line in educational worlds from an ethnographic and qualitative perspective. In the last part of the course, the theoretical perspective of "border studies" is proposed for the study of educational worlds, analysing the social borders that characterise these contexts and the way they are structured.

Full programme

The first part of the course offers an analysis of the main research strands and theoretical approaches of the sociology of educational and training processes, referring to a textbook reconstruction, as well as to texts by classic authors such as Collins and Willis. The far from neutral role of formal education in the construction of students' scholastic and social trajectories is emphasised; along these lines, the school is presented as a field of conflict between groups belonging to different social classes and bearers of different interests, values and goals, as well as the effects of education in the processes of selection, assimilation and ratification of social status are analysed. In a second part of the course, a series of recent researches related to the study of working-class youth subcultures in schools, the inclusion of students of migrant origin, and the processes of stigmatisation and racialisation in educational contexts are presented. The course analyses the educational transition, in particular towards university, delving into the concept of "first-generation students" (the first in one's family to attend university), a category that is still little used in the Italian and European context, which crosses various dimensions of the social and university reality (social class, migratory origin, educational pathway, educational resources of the family context) and which lends itself well to examining its intertwining. Starting from the analysis of the social borders that take shape in educational worlds, a final focus of the course presents the conceptual perspective of "border studies" for the study of educational worlds, in a line of research that proposes the border as a "method" and reflects on borders and processes of "differential inclusion" at school, as well as on the representations and imaginaries that have been generated around undocumented migration in contemporary Europe.

Through the possibility of free choice of two essays from an extensive list and one book from several possible proposals, students can orientate a preference on the course focus most inclined to their own interests to be explored for the examination.


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)

Collins R. (1997) Istruzione e stratificazione: teoria funzionalista e teoria del conflitto. In: Morgagni E. e Russo A. (a cura di) L’educazione in sociologia. Testi scelti. Bologna: Clueb, pp. 197-226.

Willis P. (1997) Il significato di classe della controcultura scolastica. In: Morgagni E. e Russo A. (a cura di) L’educazione in sociologia. Testi scelti. Clueb: Bologna, pp. 293-319.

Two essays of your choice from the list of essays in Elly (NB: In the document on the platform the indications for making your choice)

One book of your choice from the following two:
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.

Or a book of your choice from the following two:
Giliberti L. (2020) Abitare la frontiera. Lotte neorurali e solidarietà ai migranti sul confine franco-italiano. Ombre Corte: Verona.
Anderlini J., Filippi D. e Giliberti L. (a cura di) (2022) Borderland Italia. Regime di frontiera e autonomia delle migrazioni. DeriveApprodi: Roma.

(NB. Only one book in total to choose from the two lists)

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, foreseeing the use and integration of different teaching methods: frontal lectures; dialectical and interactive lectures based on moments of discussion; viewing of documentaries related to the themes in question and debate; seminar meetings with experts and members of associations.

Assessment methods and criteria

The examination will be 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.