Academic Year 2023/2024 - Teacher: Roberto VIGNERA

Expected Learning Outcomes

The expected learning objectives are configured in relation to a training plan aimed at presenting the institutional themes of sociology in the different specifications they have assumed in their historical evolution, in the different configurations they have acquired compared to those of other social sciences, with particular regarding their theoretical and methodological profiling. Therefore, they are outlined as cognitive goals of a theoretical-conceptual nature and of an empirical orientation through which to develop suitable sensitivities to identify the problems that characterize contemporary societies, with a particular emphasis placed on some topics specifically analyzed according to the professional orientation of the Degree Course in Social Work.

Course Structure

The course will be structured through lectures, during which the topics included in the program will be presented and analyzed.

Required Prerequisites

Specific prerequisites are not required, except those normally associated with the possession of a good preparation in scientific and literary subjects present in the secondary schools education programs.

Attendance of Lessons

Class attendance is not compulsory, according to what is foreseen by the didactic regulation. However, it is highly recommended for the insights it can guarantee.

Detailed Course Content

The contents of Institutions of Sociology course have been programmed taking into account both the common sociological areas for students enrolled in L40 and L39 classes, with the aim, therefore, of making students of both courses able to operate with the fundamental categories of sociological analysis in a multiplicity of working contexts in the public and private sectors, as well as of the characterizing and professionalizing teachings that are particularly useful for maturing skills especially in the medical-welfare area. Taking also into account the preparation needed to pursue studies in a Master's Degree Program in Political and Social Affairs, the topics issues included in the teaching program will be: the elements of culture and their relevance for social action; the notion of social structure; the sociological concept of individual and collective social actor, the various stages of the process of socialization, the notion of social interaction. Norms and institutions; the deviant behavior. Religions, secularization and religious fundamentalisms. Families and intimacy relationships. Social stratification (topic developed as supplementary teaching). Organized groups, healthcare facilities, and the use of therapeutic resources. The incidence of cultural determinants in relation to Health-Illness-Related Behavior. Illness and social system. The professionalization of medical practice. The organization of palliative care (topic developed as supplementary teaching).

Textbook Information

Text 1: Bagnasco A. Barbagli M. Cavalli A., Corso di Sociologia, Il Mulino, Bologna, 2012; Introduction, capp: III, V, VI, VIII, XI.

Text 2: Giddens A. Sutton P., Fondamenti di Sociologia, Il Mulino, Bologna, 2014, capp.: V, IX.

Text 3: Vignera R., Protagonisti e interpreti della Sociologia sanitaria, Milano, FrancoAngeli, 2005; chapp. first part: I, III, IV; second part: I.

Text 4: Perino A. Flocco M. (eds), Le cure palliative, Salute e Società, 3, 2017.

Course Planning

 SubjectsText References
1The major themes of sociological investigation: order, conflict, action and social structure.Text 1: Introduction
2Micro and macro sociology: the unintended effects of social action. Theory and empirical research. Conceptual systems and medium range theories. Types of empirical research.Text 1: Introduction
3The elementary forms of interaction. Action, relationship and social interaction. Interaction and interdependence systems.Text 1: chap. III
4Status and roles. Social groups and their properties; The Olson Paradox; The concept of free rider. Text 1: chap. III
5The concepts of power and authority. The conflict and its different interpretative traditions.  Text 1: chap. III
6 Collective behavior. Networks and social capital. The analysis of daily life. Dramaturgical representations.Text 1: chap. III
7The elements of culture and cultural evolution. Concepts, relationships, values ​​and norms. Text 1: chap. V
8Norms and institutions. Types of norms. Ideology and its functions. Text 1: chap. V
9Socialization and identity. Between nature and culture. Primary and secondary socialization. Text 1: chap. VI
10Primary socialization. Attachment, reciprocity, determination of models of action. Formal learning and internalization.Text 1: chap. VI
11Secondary socialization: the specificity of roles and tasks. Secondary socialization, social classes and ethnic groups. Text 1: chap. VI
12 Critical adaptation to social norms. Deviant behavior: between nature and culture. Definition and properties. Text 1: chap. VIII
13Different interpretative traditions of deviant behavior: the biological one, of structural tension, of social control; the subcultural one, of labeling, of rational choice. The critique of the Lombrosian tradition. Deviance and anomie: Durkheim and Merton.Text 1: chap. VIII
14Social control and subcultural theories; The differential association; Deviance and lower classes.Text 1: chap. VIII
15The labeling theory  and the rational choice theory; Deviance and deterrence.Text 1: chap. VIII
16Religion and society. Religion and social structure. Marx and Durkheim.   Text 2: chap. IX
17Religion and society. Max Weber: Protestant ethics and the spirit of capitalism. Religious institutions: churches, sects, cults.Text 2: chap. IX
18Modern religions. Secularization and fundamentalism. The new tribes and the personalization of religious action. Text 2: chap. IX
19Family, kinship and marriage. Family practices. Family ties.Text 2: chap. V
20Families in the global context. The diversity of family structures. New unions, rebuilt families and kinship relationships. The transformations of intimacy and love.Text 2: chap. V
21The sociology of the family: the main theoretical approaches. The institutional approach. The functionalist perspective. Conflictual approaches. The social exchange theory.Text 2: chap. V
22The social stratification. At the origins of inequalities. Classes, status, parties (supplementary teaching).Text 1: chap. XI
23Functionalist and conflictualist tradition. Stratification in post-industrial societies (integrative teaching). Text 1: chap. XI
24Medicine and society. In the heart of the social system. The socio-cultural components of Health-Illness related behavior. Technical culture and secular culture.Text 3: Preface; first part, chap. I
25The HBM- The HRA. The four models of helping and coping. Medical model and moral model.Text 3: first part, chap. I
26The first ethnographic approaches to illness and health and their overcoming. Socio-health issues among social problems.Text 3: first part, chap. III
27The Parsonsian theory. Somatic disease and mental illness. Roles and tasks. The pathogenic strains between the personality system and the social system.  The role of the patient and its institutionalization. Text 3: first part, chap. III
28The role of physician and its institutionalization. The therapeutic process as a form of social control in the dynamics of the doctor-patient system. The therapeutic relationship for pattern variables and functional imperatives.Text 3: first part, chap. III
29The criticisms of the Parsonsian perspective. Adaptation Vs Integration.Twaddle.Text 3: first part, chap. IV
30Chronic degenerative disease and role obligations. Mechanic. Disengagement by proxy. The topic of mental illness. Psychiatry and antipsychiatry.Text 3: first part, chap. IV
31The sociology of medicine in the debate on the redefinition of welfare. The tragic choices in the health sector. The corporateization of health care and the overcoming of the pure medical model.Text 3: first part, chap. IV
32The professionalization of medical practice. Stages and contents. Text 3: second part, chap. I
33Modernity and clinical primitivism. Predictive medicine, evidence based medicine and their leading actors. Text 3: second part, chap. I
34The organization of palliative cares (supplementary teaching).Text 4

Learning Assessment

Learning Assessment Procedures

The examination will consist of a written test, with open questions, on the whole course . To answer the questions the student will have max 120 min available. That is, with N = total number of questions asked, a necessary but not sufficient condition to pass the examination will be to answer N-1 questions. Naturally, the maximum score of the evaluation (30/30) will be acquired only respecting the necessary, but not sufficient, requirement to answer to the totality of the questions. The results of the test (student's registration number and grade) will be entered into the Studium platform (Documents section) as soon as possible, and in any case guaranteeing the margin of time of one week from the beginning of the following session. Within 3 (three) days of publication, the student must communicate to the teaching holder, through a certified entry channel (PEC, UNICT Portal, etc.) his / her decision to withdraw from the test. After this deadline, the examination will be recorded in the electronic report.

Examples of frequently asked questions and / or exercises

Sociology and the other social sciences: the hierarchical solution, the residual and the formal one;

 The origins of the discipline: the scientific revolution and the industrial revolution;

 The foundation of the social order and the problem of change: organicistic and functionalistic models;

Social Change and Class Struggle: Marxian Theorizing;

 Weber: conflict and social order;

Action and social structure: individualism and methodological holism;

The unintended effects of social action: from action to structure, from the micro to the macro level;

The links between theory and empirical research;

The great conceptual schemes and medium range theories;

Explanatory research and descriptive research;

The concept of social action: the Weberian typology;

The relevance of the definition of the situation by social actors: Thomas' theorem;

From action to social relationship: a different elementary unit of sociological analysis;

From relationship to social interaction;

Social groups and their properties relating to size, boundaries and their structure;

Status and roles. Differentiation and social density;

Specific roles and widespread roles;

Primary groups and secondary groups; formal and informal groups;

The concept of power and authority: the Weberian definition and its theoretical implications;

Social conflict and its formal properties: Simmel and Coser;

Groups and collective behavior: differential traits;

Panic, crowd and audience: three different examples of collective behavior;

Social networks, their characters and their configurations;

The sociology of everyday life: the rules of coexistence events;

The Goffmanian perspective and its metaphors: fore, backstage, informers and cronies;

Social organization: formal and informal relationships;

The concept of social capital and its relations with the various forms of social organization;

Values: the characteristics of a fundamental conceptual category for sociological analysis;

Universal values ​​and particular values;

Values ​​and value systems: integration and ethical dilemmas;

From values ​​to norms: two analytical levels concerning the orientation of agie;

Adaptation to the rules: expectations and sanctions;

Types of norms: rules, juridical norms, social norms, good manners, ethical codes;

Constitutive rules and regulations;

From norms to institutions: models of behavior and social control;

Learning of social norms: formal learning and internalization; moral norms;

The process of institutionalization and the factors that determine its various forms and its various degrees;

The cultural universals;

Functions and institutions: the AGIL model;

Socialization and social reproduction: the transmission of cultural heritage;

The elements of culture: forms of knowledge, sources of meaning, values, forms of expression;

Cultural evolution: invention, accumulation, dissemination and adaptation;

Basic social skills and specific social skills;

Socialization, inheritance and innatism;

Socialization and learning;

Socialization and identity;

Socialization and basic personality;

Socialization and life stages;

Socialization and social classes;

Primary socialization, attachment and reciprocity;

Secondary socialization: the concept of role set;

Socialization and mass media;

The main theories on personality development;

Socialization continues;

The psychological mechanisms of socialization;

Deviant behavior: defining characters;

The biological theory, the structural tension theory, the social control theory, labeling and rational choice theories;

The theory of Lombroso and Sheldon;

Deviance and anomie: cultural structure and social structure;

Deviance and adaptation to cultural goals: the Mertonian model;

Deviance and social constraints: the theory of social control;

Deviant behavior as a form of adaptation to the expectations of the social environment: subcultural theories;

Deviance and stigma: the role of social control institutions;

Theories of deterrence;

Religion and society: macro and micro sociological interpretative perspectives;

The blurred boundaries between belief and knowledge;

Magic and religion: the different approach to the sacred and the profane;

At the origins of the religious experience: the limit, the chance, suffering, the moral order;

The Marxian interpretation: religious values ​​as a cultural product;

The Marxian interpretation: religion and self-alienation;

Religion and social structure: the Durkheimian perspective;

Tribes, brotherhoods and clans: the worship of the social structure;

Religion and social change: the Weberian theory;

Weber: worldly and ultramundane orientation of the different religions;

Weber: the role of Protestantism in the configuration of the social and economic life of the modern West;

Modern religions and the subjectivistic redefinition of the relationship with the world;

Modern religions and the redefinition of hierarchies and mediation;

Churches, sects, confessions and cults: the various religious institutions and their characteristics;

Religious movements: the role of the charismatic leader;

Religious movements: the break with orthodoxy and individual and collective conversion;

Secularization and the weakening of the religious spirit;

New forms of religiosity: the neotribes;

Bellah: religion without social solidarity;

The reaction to modernity and its relativistic drift: fundamentalism;

The characteristics of religious fundamentalism;

Islamic and Christian fundamentalism: peculiarities and differential traits;

Family and families: one, none, one hundred thousand;

The fundamental concepts of sociological analysis;

Family and family practices; Family ties;

The historical reconstruction of the establishment and decline of the traditional family model;

The diversity of family structures; Monogamy and affective individualism;

Family and cultural diversity; Single parent families and homosexual families;

Marital instability; Reconstituted families and cohabitation;

Violence in intimate relationships; The transformations of intimacy in modern societies;

Romantic love and passionate impulses; The double standard of sexual relations;

Family as a pure relationship; The man without indissoluble bonds;

Social stratification: structural inequalities according to the distributive and relational aspect;

The concept of stratum and its operational definition; Heterodirect and self-directed definitional perspectives;

Social stratification, economic surplus and concentration of political power;

Social stratification: functionalist theory;

Social stratification: the theory of conflict;

Social stratification: relations of production and property relations;

Social stratification: social conflict and class consciousness;

The Weberian perspective: classes, status and parties;

Social classes and market situation (of work, of credit, of goods);

Classes and social prestige, lifestyle and limitation of social relations;

Social stratification: Warner's attributive-reputational method;

Political parties and political power;

The great changes in social stratification in post-industrial societies: from the decline of the agricultural classes to the proletarianization of the petty bourgeoisie;

Several examples of socio-cultural modeling of therapeutic choices;

Epidemiology and health sociology: the distinctive features;

Religious ethics and health-illness related behavior;

Ethnic groups and health-illness related behavior;

Social stratification and health-illness related behavior;

Technical culture, profane culture and health-illness related behavior: Freidson's theory;

Selective processes in the culturalization of health-illness related behavior: the contribution of Irving Zola;

Models of health-illness related behavior: HBM; The critical points of HBM and the definition of the Health Risk Appraisal;

The socio-relational components related to health-illness related behavior and their relevance in formal and informal treatment contexts;

The four models of Helping and Coping;

The complex adaptation of objective and subjective criteria to define health behavior; Social problems and health-illness related behavior: The precedents in US practical sociology;

Parsons: health-illness related behavior within the general system of action; In the heart of the social system;

Personality, organism and social system: the fundamental coordinates for the analysis of health-illness related behavior;

Role and task: the fundamental coordinates for the definition of mental illness and somatic illness;

The critical integration of the motivations of social actors with the regulatory cultural criteria relating to role obligations: the roots of mental illness;

The regressive, pre-adult characters of the pathological condition;

Pathology and deviance: common and differential traits;

The patient's role and his institutionalized expectations;

The role of doctor and the purposes of the therapeutic process: the abandonment of regressive addiction;

The doctor-patient social system articulated by functional imperatives;

Adaptation Vs Integration: Twaddle's Critique of Parsons;

The critical reference to chronic degenerative pathology: Mechanic's critique;

Illich: clinical and cultural iatrogenesis;

The deinstitutionalization of deviance and mental illness: Thomas Szasz's proposal;

The redefinition of welfare policies and their impact on medical and health issues: the tragic choices;

The reconfiguration of the Helping and Coping models: towards the overcoming of the pure medical model;

Predictive medicine and its dilemmas;

The professionalization of medical practice: the distinctive features and its temporal coordinates;

The process of rationalization of medical practice and its margins of discrepancy;

The eternal fascination of the medicine of particularistic transactions, privileges and exceptions;

The medicine of modernity and medical dominance;

The redefinition of the theoretical and operational canons of medical practice: evidence-based medicine;

The search for new forms of exchange between doctors and patients.