cod. 1010905

Academic year 2023/24
2° year of course - First semester
- Marco DERIU
Academic discipline
Sociologia dei processi culturali e comunicativi (SPS/08)
"discipline tecniche dell'informazione e della comunicazione"
Type of training activity
30 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Integrated course unit module: ENVIRONMENTAL COMMUNICATION

Learning objectives

At the end of the course, students are expected to be able:
- to understand the importance of animating a public space for environmental discussion; to recognise the multiple actors involved in public debate and the different forms of communication used (texts, images, gestures and actions); to recall the main changes in the evolution of political and environmental communication.
- to apply the content learnt and carry out an accomplished analysis of different materials (texts, speeches, photographs, videos, etc.) with regard to statements and content, narrative styles, emotional dimensions and reference values.
- to autonomously, reflexively and rigorously interpret, evaluate and criticise different forms of public communication in the environmental field.
- to communicate and compare one's own ideas and opinions in a public debate, recognising the complexity and legitimacy of different points of view, without giving up one's own.
- to participate more consciously and with more critical tools in public life, preparing themselves to assume their responsibilities in the face of the most important political and environmental issues that arise particularly in the relationship between different peoples, generations and species.


The course requires no special prerequisites.

Course unit content

The course aims to explore the issue of environmental communication with a socio-cultural slant. It will start with a general introduction to environmental communication, defining its characteristics, its different spheres, the types of actors involved, the different possible languages and forms of expression, with particular attention to risk communication.
Some of the most important linguistic categories used in this field will be analysed and discussed: 'environment', 'nature', 'landscape', 'ecology', 'territory', from a cultural point of view and in relation to the possible cognitive repercussions. Some iconic images (earthrise, the hole in the ozone layer, the march of progress, the Keeling curve, hockey stick graph, the images of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, etc.) that have marked the evolution of the environmental debate will also be analysed.
The different possible approaches to the environmental issue (conservationism, scientific environmentalism, ecomodernism, ecology of the poor, etc.) will also be briefly recalled in order to highlight the underlying philosophical and epistemological premises of the different types of communication.
Some of the paradigmatic concepts of the contemporary debate will be critically discussed (sustainability, sustainable development, green growth, circular economy, post-growth, degrowth, buen vivir, transition, anthropocene, capitalocene, chthulucene, etc.).
We will then proceed by addressing how some of the major ecological issues - biodiversity loss, resource depletion, pollution, environmental conflicts, climate change and climate refugees - enter the public debate, through information, the media, the cultural industry and the interventions of political, economic and social actors.
The topic of positive and negative emotions related to the environment and the ecological and climate crisis and the problem of environmental and climate denialism will be explored.
In conclusion, the importance of a socio-environmental public space for discussion will be emphasised, referring to the role of scientists and post-normal science, the issues of the right to information, democratic participation and ecological democracy.

Full programme

- Environmental communication and its dimensions
- Risk Communication
- Analysis of linguistic categories
- The most iconic images of environmentalism
- The main approaches to environmental issues
- The paradigmatic concepts of contemporary environmental debate
- The main ecological issues and their presence in the public consciousness
- Emerging emotions in the face of the environment and climate crisis
- Forms of environmental and climate denialism
- The importance of a socio-environmental public space for discussion.
- Post-normal science and the scientific debate
- Democratic participation


Students are askerd to choose two among the following books:

a) Stella Levantesi, I bugiardi del clima. Power, politics, psychology of those who deny the crisis of the century, Laterza, Roma-Bari, 2021.

b) Marco Sbardella, La sostenibilità scomunicata. What we are doing wrong and why, Maggioli Editore, Sant'Arcangelo di Romagna, 2019.

c) Marco Deriu, Regeneration. Per una democrazia capace di futuro, Castelvecchi, Rome, 2022.

The teacher will also anticipate some chapters of the volume currently being published Il clima dell'informazione. Uno spazio pubblico di discussione socio-ambientale tra giornalismo ed ecologia della comunicazione, Castelvecchi, 2023.

Teaching methods

The course will use and integrate different teaching methods: frontal lessons; dialectical and interactive lessons with prompts and moments of discussion; analysis of texts; viewing, commentary and discussion of films and documentaries. The course will also include seminar meetings with scholars and experts in the field of environmental journalism and information. The course will be delivered in presence. The video and written material of the course will be published on the elly platform.

Assessment methods and criteria

Preparation for the examination - for both frequent and non-attending students - consists of general preparatory work that consists of reviewing the topics covered in the course (slides and videos uploaded to Elly), studying a background text and preparing an environmental report that will be discussed during the examination.

The examination will therefore consist of a discussion of the chosen survey text and a discussion of the survey work submitted by the student.

The student or student who does not demonstrate an adequate understanding of the issues analyzed or the underlying themes of the course will be rated as not sufficient. Will be graded: sufficient or fair the student or student who demonstrates a proprietary handling of the terms, concepts, and data related to the texts analyzed; fair or good who in the study will show a greater capacity for in-depth study and critical reworking; very good or excellent who will have expanded the study in an original and thorough manner. Grades will be expressed in thirtieths.

Other information

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