Sociological Theory in the Digital Age

Period of duration of course
Course info
Number of course hours
Number of hours of lecturers of reference
Number of hours of supplementary teaching
CFU 20

Type of exam



Hans-Jörg Trenz


Optional for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th year students of the PhD Programme in "Political Science and Sociology"

Optional for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th year students of the PhD Programme in "Transnational Governance"

Optional for the 4th and 5th year students of the MA Programme in "Political and Social Sciences"

Educational aims

How can sociological theory contribute to our understanding of the digital transformation of society? The dynamics, mechanisms and implications of digitalization on society are discussed controversially within sociology. Some see digitalization as an opportunity for social progress, cultural creativity, innovation and new forms of sustainable development. Others emphasize the disruptive impact of digitalization on cultural expressions, social communications, groups and social relationships. The course trains students not only to raise critical questions about the constructive or disruptive impact of digital transformations, but also to explore new forms of critical sociological investigations to face the digital challenge. For that purpose a sociological inquiry of digital society is undertaken that deals with the societal impact of digital media technologies on society in a broad sense, including aspects of knowledge production and distribution, private-public relationships, social empowerment and inequalities. The course further raises the question how digitalization is experienced by the members of society and how individuals make creative use of digital media technologies giving rise to new forms of cultural expression and collective mobilization. The course thus treats theory development as a tool for empirical research and encourages participants to raise critical theory questions as an inseparable element of their own ongoing research practice.