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Sociological Theory in the Digital Age

Periodo di svolgimento

Marzo 2021
Ore del corso: 20
Ore dei docenti responsabili: 20

Modalità d'esame

  • Relazione o seminario


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"


Schedule of Classes and Readings


1. The agenda of digital sociology

March 1 (14:00-17:00)

  •        Marres, N. (2017) Digital Sociology: The Reinvention of Social Research,  Cambridge: Wiley (pp. 6-37)
  •        Ignatow, G. (2020) Sociological Theory in the Digital Age,  London: Routledge (pp. 1-29)


Recommended readings:

  •        Lupton, D. (2014) Digital Sociology, Taylor & Francis

2. Knowledge and truth in the digital age: From data to information, non-information and disinformation

March 2 (14:00-17:00)

  •        Waisbord, S. (2018) 'Truth is What Happens to News', Journalism Studies, 19(13): 1866-1878.
  •        Broersma, M. (2013) 'A refractured paradigm: journalism, hoaxes and the challenge of trust', in C. Peters and M. Broersma (eds) Rethinking Journalism. Trust and Participation in a Transformed News Landscape, London: Routledge, pp. 28-44
  •        Michailidou, A, and Trenz, Hans-Joerg (2021): Journalism and trust: the weaponization of fake news in trust-building. Manuscript


3. Private and public relationships in the Digital Age

March 4 (14:00-17:00)

  •        Splichal, S. (2018) 'Publicness–Privateness: The Liquefaction of “The Great Dichotomy”', Javnost - The Public, 25(1-2): 1-10.
  •        Papacharissi, Z. (2010) A Private Sphere: Democracy in a Digital Age, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (pp. 25-50)


4. Digital politics: Forms of collective empowerment and disempowerment

March 9 (14:00-17:00)

  •        Bennett, W.L. and Segerberg, A. (2012) 'THE LOGIC OF CONNECTIVE ACTION', Information, Communication & Society, 15(5): 739-768.
  •        Dahlgren, P. (2013) The Political Web: Media, Participation and Alternative Democracy, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan (pp.8-64)


5. Digital culture

March 10 (14:00-17:00)

  •        Reckwitz, A. (2020) Society of Singularities, Cambridge: Polity (177-212)
  •        Fuchs, Christian (2015). Social Media as participatory Culture, In Fuchs, C, Social Media: A Critical Introduction. London: Routledge.


6. Inequality and social class in the digital age

March 11 (14:00-17:00)

  •        Reckwitz, A. (2020) Society of Singularities, Cambridge: Polity (213-287)
  •        Susan Halford & Mike Savage (2010) RECONCEPTUALIZING DIGITAL SOCIAL INEQUALITY, Information, Communication & Society, 13:7, 937-955


7. Outlook: a critical sociology of the digital

March 12 (14-16)

  •        Lupton, D. (2014) Digital Sociology, Taylor & Francis, chapter 5.
  •        Venturini, T., Jensen, P. and Latour, B. (2015) 'Fill in the Gap: A New Alliance for Social and Natural Sciences', Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, 18(2): 18 - 29.

Additional readings:

Rosa, H. (2003) 'Social Acceleration: Ethical and Political Consequences of a Desynchronized High–Speed Society', Constellations, 10(1): 3-33


Obiettivi formativi

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. 

Course Format

The course will be composed of 6 sessions of 180 minutes each and one concluding session of 120 minutes. Each class will be divided into three parts: 1) a lecture by the instructor that introduces into the topic; 2) student presentations of the assigned texts; and 3) a class discussion and further exercises or close reading of the assigned texts.