cod. 1011659

Academic year 2023/24
1° year of course - Second semester
Academic discipline
Sociologia dei processi culturali e comunicativi (SPS/08)
A scelta dello studente
Type of training activity
Student's choice
30 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

At the end of the course, students are expected:
1. To be aware of the centrality of gender, in its intertwining with other dimensions of identity and social stratification (age, social class, origin, citizenship, sexual orientation, colour and so on), in the field of communication and media. To have awareness of communication as a non-neutral field, and of the role of language and the media in maintaining or transforming power relations between genders.
2. To have a basic knowledge of the main debates, theoretical positions and conceptual tools developed in gender and feminist studies on communication and media. To know how to use this knowledge to orient themselves in the (specialist and non-specialist) public debate on issues such as, for example, non-discriminatory use of language and inclusive language, gender stereotypes in public and everyday communication, media representation of gender and gender-based violence, the potential and risks of digital media from a gender perspective, media influence and reception, the role of media in reinforcing or overcoming gender and intersectional inequalities.
3. To have enhanced their critical analytical skills applied to media content and to the communication processes in which they are involved as professionals and as individuals. To be able to recognise and articulate the ways in which gender and other social divisions shape the production and reception of media content.
4. To have improved their knowledge of sources of data on the relationship between gender and media, in the Italian and European context.
5. To be able to autonomously and reflectively evaluate the initiatives by institutions and civil society aimed at the promotion of non-stereotyped and inclusive communication content in journalism, publishing and multimedia, with particular reference to the Italian and European contexts.


No specific prior knowledge is required.
Those who need an introduction to the gender perspective in social sciences, can refer to: Raewyn Connell, “Gender: in World Perspective” (Wiley, any edition), or to: Mary Holmes “What is gender? Sociological approaches” (Sage, any edition). These texts do not constitute material for the exam.
For attending students, a basic understanding of Italian is required.

Course unit content

The course aims to guide students in the in-depth exploration of the studies on gender, communication and media. It is conceived as a space for discussion and exchange, aimed at applying a gender, feminist and intersectional perspective in this field of study, in order to improve the students’ understanding and critical analysis of the contemporary communication and media processes.
To this end, the course is structured in three parts.
The first part consists of an introduction to gender, feminist and intersectional perspective in communication and media studies. We will map the main issues and theoretical positions that mark this field; observe the evolution of the scientific debate and research on the role of media and communication in the socio-cultural construction of gender and gender inequalities; reflect on the dynamics of media representation, production and fruition, with reference to different contexts (traditional and digital media, public and interpersonal communication, online/offline).
The second part is articulated through thematic in-depth discussions, focused on the critical analysis of media content, of media representations of gender and gender-based violence, on the relationship between language and social change, on digital cultures and practices, and on public and institutional communication from a gender perspective (see section "extended program")
The third part is aimed at the analysis of good practices in the field of communication and, specifically, in journalism, publishing and multimedia production. We will discuss case studies and initiatives aimed at the production of responsible and inclusive communication, we will examine non-stereotyped forms of representation and innovative languages, as part of a more general effort to build a culture of equality, valorise differences, and overcome gender and intersectional inequalities.

Full programme

- Introduction to gender, feminist and intersectional studies in the field of communication and media
- Gender inequalities in communication and media: available data and documentation sources
- Tools for the critical analysis of media content from a gender and intersectional perspective
- Representations of masculinity and femininity in the media. Gender stereotypes.
- Public discourse and media narratives of gender-based violence
- Gender and digital media and cultures
- Language, social innovation, resistance and contentions
- Gender and public/institutional communication
- Initiatives and good practices for gender-sensitive communication in journalism, publishing and multimedia production


For both attending and non-attending students:
1) Capecchi, Saveria (2018) La comunicazione di genere. Prospettive teoriche e buone pratiche. Carocci.
2) Harvey, Alison (2023) Studi femministi dei media. Il campo e le pratiche. Meltemi (original edition Harvey, A. (2019). Feminist media studies. John Wiley & Sons)
Compulsory parts will be indicated at the beginning of the course.
Other reference texts and additional readings will be indicated at the beginning of the course.

Teaching methods

The course will integrate the following teaching methods: frontal lectures, discussion of visual and audiovisual materials, interactive discussions, group work, analysis of case studies, seminars with external lecturers and experts. The course will be delivered in presence. Slides and other teaching materials will be uploaded as a learning support for attending and nonattending students.

Assessment methods and criteria

Preparation for the exam for both attending and nonattending students consists of a general preliminary work, i.e. the study of the reference texts (see Section "Reference texts") supported by the slides and materials uploaded onto the Elly platform, and a subsequent in-depth thematic written texts (Essay)

For the Essay, students must choose one topic among the ones covered in the program of the course, carry out a personal study on the matter and produce an original text of 15,000-20,000 characters (spaces included, excluded bibliography). The paper must be sent to the lecturer by e-mail, one week before the exam; it will be discussed orally on the exam. The paper can be done individually or, by agreement with the lecturer, in small groups (2-3 people max.). In the latter case, the individual contribution to the writing must be clearly indicated and the length of the text must be relatively proportional to the number of people involved.
The essay, which forms the basis of the examination, will be evaluated on the basis of the following criteria:
-coherence with the topics of the course;
-ability to explore, problematise and critically discuss the subject matter and/or the case study
-width and appropriateness of bibliographic and documentary references;
- clarity of exposition and quality of writing.
More details on topics, content and format of the paper will be provided at the beginning of the course.
During the course there will be moments of discussion for attending students, aimed at supporting the task (e.g.: choice of topic, idea, structure).

The oral exam will consist, for both frequent and non frequent students, of an interactive discussion around the contents of the essay, plus a question on the contents of the course and reference texts.

Students who have not carried out the required research and in-depth personal study or who do not demonstrate an adequate understanding of the issues analysed or of the underlying themes of the course will be considered insufficient. The grade will be: sufficient or fair for those students who have diligently carried out the research and in-depth personal study and who demonstrate the ability to handle the concepts and terms of the discipline with propriety; fair or good for those who show greater capacity for critical analysis and elaboration in the discussion; very good or excellent for those who have explored the subject in greater depth and autonomously, for example by directly consulting various scientific texts and documentary sources, carrying out bibliographical research or independent empirical research.
Grades will be expressed in thirtieths. The grade will be announced at the end of the test itself.

Other information

The slides and other teaching materials will be uploaded on the course webpage on the Elly 2023 platform.