Foto sezione
Logo Bocconi

Course 2019-2020 a.y.


Department of Social and Political Sciences

Course taught in English

Go to class group/s: 13

BESS-CLES (7 credits - II sem. - OB  |  SPS/07)

Classes: 13 (II sem.)

Class-group lessons delivered  on campus

Suggested background knowledge

There are no prerequisites. This is an introductory course.

Mission & Content Summary

The purpose of this course is to expose students to the prevailing theories, methods, and research issues of contemporary sociology. The course links key research issues and debates in sociology with research methods and analytic strategies so that students can understand how a sociological perspective contributes to our ability to understand and explain both the macro- and micro-aspects of societies and social organization.


Key Concepts:

  • Status, Authority, Community.
  • Socialization, Family and Kinship.
  • Groups and Networks.

Inequality and Mobility:

  • Poverty and Inequality.
  • Health in Comparative Perspective.
  • Social Stratification and Social Mobility.
  • Global Stratification and Population Studies.

The Sociology of Economic Life:

  • The Sociology of Markets and Firms.
  • Sociological Approaches to Capitalism.

The State and Globalization:

  • The State and its Critics.
  • Welfare States in Comparative Perspective.
  • Globalization and Challenges to the State.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)
At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Think sociologically about world phenomena.
  • Differentiate sociological thinking from other discourses.
  • Use conceptual tools from sociology to explain social dynamics.
At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Apply sociological reasoning and sociological tools so that they can formulate broader or fuller explanations for social phenomena, compared to those offered by other social science discourses.
  • Interpret data in ways that problematize overly simply solutions and generate strong explanatory frameworks.

Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face lectures
  • Individual assignments

Students may elect to write a short paper as an individual assignment (see Assessment Methods).

Assessment methods
  Continuous assessment Partial exams General exam
  • Written individual exam (traditional/online)
  •   x  
  • Individual assignment (report, exercise, presentation, project work etc.)
  •   x  
    • Two partial exams (50% each). Each partial exam consists of short-answer and open-ended questions aimed to assess students’ ability to apply the analytical tools illustrated during the course, to develop sociological explanations of different phenomena, and to interpret major social changes in a rigorous and complete way. In addition, it includes multiple choice questions that test students' factual knowledge of major theories or social issues. More specifically, each partial exam includes three types of questions:
      • Multiple choice questions.
      • 1 short-answer question (out of 2 options).
      • 1 essay-style question (out of 2 options).
    • The first partial exam covers the material of the first half of the course, and the second covers the material of the second half.
    • Optional: Short paper. Students may elect to write a short paper that showcases the application of sociological methods to the understanding of social phenomena. This paper should be 1,000-1,250 words (plus references) on one of the questions provided in the syllabus and on blackboard. An excellent paper adds 2 points to the final mark, a good paper adds 1 point, and poor papers not alters the final mark. This paper should go beyond mandatory readings, and provide evidence of some familiarity with the additional readings suggested in the syllabus and/or bring in relevant material beyond the syllabus. All material should be properly cited using academic conventions, and failure to do so is penalized.
    • Topics and deadlines are stated on Bboard; no deadline extensions is granted. Student name and number should be clearly stated on the front page of the assignment. All papers to be submitted via Bboard.
    • Final written exam (100%). The final exam includes two types of questions:
      • 4 short-answer questions (out of 5 options).
      • 2 essay-style questions (out of 3 options).
    • The questions covers all topics of the course. Please see set readings (essential readings with a star) and material covered in the lectures.

    Teaching materials

    Students are provided with a selection of readings on the course Bboard site.

    Last change 03/06/2019 10:49