Social and clinical psycology
Module Social Psychology of the groups and Institutions

Academic Year 2023/2024 - Teacher: Orazio LICCIARDELLO

Expected Learning Outcomes

Acquisition of the fundamental concepts for an interpretation of the role appropriate to the objectives that can characterize a profession of great social importance and extremely complex.

Course Structure

Lessons conducted in a participatory and highly interactive way. Laboratories

Required Prerequisites

Basic knowledge of logic and reasoning skills.

Attendance of Lessons

Attendance strongly recommended

Detailed Course Content

The “group”: multiple semantic values

1. The "object" group: definitions

2. The conceptual roots: primary group and social group

3. Scientific interest in the group in the 1900s

4. The "macro" and "micro" groups: misunderstandings and functions

Social groups and Self: theoretical approaches

1. Reference groups and the Self: symbolic interactionism

2. The Self and Identity: the group in the background?

3. Membership groups and social identity: the socio-constructivist approach

The small psychological group: characteristics and application functions

1. The small psychological group

2. The group in action: typology of leadership, relational methods, effects

3. A basic question: the dynamics of authority and the quality of leadership

Intergroup relations and prejudice

1. Intergroup conflict and the contact hypothesis as a strategy for reducing prejudice

2. The generalization problem: the contact hypothesis revisited

The group and training for change

1. Possible change: dynamics and problems

2. The ability to listen and the problem of Identity

3. Training for change and group setting

Introduction to the psychology of institutions

1. The relevance of institutions in daily life

2.What does scientific Institution mean?”Object”, processes of categorization e

3. Theoretical orientations: framework situation

Sociological orientation

1.Èmile Durkheim: Institutions as the foundation of society

2.Erving Goffman: Institutions as Total Institutions?

3.Michel Crozier and Erhrad Friedberg: strategic analysis of change processes

Institutional orientation

1.Georges Lapassade: institutional analysis

2.Renè Lourau: instituent Vs instituted

The psycho-socio-analytical orientation

1.Wilfred R. Bion: Institutions as a "protective shell"

2.Elliott Jaques: socio-analysis

3.Renzo Carli: Institutions as phantom collusive processes and stability of organizations

The psycho-sociological orientation

1. Peter Berger and Thomas Lukman: Institution as reciprocal typification

Institutional processes and problematic change

1. Establishment and exclusion: the need for innovation in theory and practice

2. "Deinstitutionalization" as a process: problematic findings

3. "Deinstitutionalization": from a formal act to a psycho-social process

The School between institution and institution

1. The school between institutes and psychosocial processes

2. Collusive dynamics and processes of social exclusion

3. Institutes in school practice and users

4. Change as a new institution

5. The organizational instituent and the need to involve the protagonists

Identity and change: processes

1. Identity and living environment: from institution to institution

2. Identity and complexity: social "discontinuity" and future in the self-creative plural

3. Identity and life planning: Possible Selves and identity continuum

Identity as institution: contexts

1 Identity and relations with the context: genetic (instituting) vs functionalist (established) approach

2. Identity and role interpretation in "turbulent times"

3. Innovation and change: headship vs leadership

Identity and change: the need for psychosocial training

1. Identity, institutions and need for psychosocial training

2. Groups and processes of change

Psycho-social processes and effects of institutional experience

1. Aggressive behavior and institutional context

2. Institutionalization processes and Possible Selves in "at risk" adolescents

3. Quality of the school experience and representation of the institutions

4.Climate quality and effects on personnel well-being in training/rehabilitation institutions and in communities for the mentally disabled.

5. Processes of change and supervision activities of a GOT in the prison institution.


1. The controversial issues of a “hot” topic

1.1. The visible and the invisible

1.2.The problem of definition and range of effects

2. The problem of the victim: accountability and reactions

2.1. The characteristics of the victim as a "cause"/contributing cause of the rape: Blaming the victim

2.2.Blaming the victim, Belief in a Just World and Rape Trauma Syndrome

3. The interpretative keys of the phenomenon and the problematic of the relationship between the masculine and the feminine

3.1. The personality of the rapist: psychopathology and "normality"

3.2.Sociological and anthropocultural analysis

3.2.1.The monogamous family and "social control"

3.2.2.The atavistic assumption of male supremacy and women as "minus habens”

3.2.3.The male/female asymmetry in classical culture: rape as “fertilisation paradigm”

3.2.4.Ambivalence towards women as "instruments of sin" in classical Christian doctrine

3.3.Psychodynamic and psychosocial analysis: socialization and identity of role

3.3.1.Control of latent homosexual drives and "false differentiation" from the object of love

3.3.2.Socialization processes and the structuring of role identities: social norms and “hypermasculinity”



1. The problem of sexual violence in today's society: ambivalences

and contradictions of specific social attitudes

2. Tools for understanding a complex issue: attitudes and social representations.

2.1.The complex link between the system of attitudes and behaviours

2.2.The "social representations" as a "bridge" between the social and the psychological play

2.3.Representations as "organizers" of attitudes: the model iceberg and the "surface-background" relationship for the analysis of the phenomenon

“sexual assault”

3. The dynamics of "Identity" and "Self" and the differentiation of the picture representational

4. Rape Myths and “Ambivalent Sexism”: role of authoritarianism and empathy


I-Research with students of Psychology and Scientific Areas

1-Goals of the research


3-Tools and methodology

4-Data relating to: IRMA, A/C, Empathy and Semantic Differentials

4.1.The big picture

4.2.IRMA data

4.3. Summary data

5. The Scales on sexual violence

5.1.Sexual violence: which behaviors and to what extent? (Violsex Scale)

5.2.The causes of sexual violence: attitudes and socio-cultural contexts (CauseViol scale)

5.3.Reactions of the victim: reactivity vs fatalism (Scala ReattVitt)

5.4.The victim: stereotypes and normality (Scala TipoVitt)

5.5.The rapist: pathology and "normality"

5.6. The mass media: awareness gradient

6-Concluding summaries


1. Premise

2. Comparison between research data conducted with high school students in 1994 and in 2003

3. Comparison between data relating to female students of the Degree in Psychology Years Acc.2007 and 2014

4. Comparison between data relating to female students in the last year of high school: year school year 1994 and students in the last year of the Master's Degree: year

acc. 2014

5. Overall reflections


1. The comparison between the “surface” and “background” areas

1.1.The "surface" analysis

1.2.The "background" analysis

2. Between the detected "today" and the possible future.

Learning Assessment

Learning Assessment Procedures

Insights into classroom interactions, participatory teaching exercises, final interview. Objectives: understand the level of preparation of each of the students and make them aware of what has been acquired and the application effects of the skills acquired.

Examples of frequently asked questions and / or exercises

-In what sense is the linear logic proposed by Kurt Lewin relevant in carrying out professional activities?

-Why, according to Tajfel's researches, does the ingroup-outgroup bias occur?

- Has Markus theorized the Possible Selves, what do they consist of and why can they be of considerable use in training and/or recovery/social rehabilitation activities?

-Gordon Allport proposed the famous Contact Hypothesis, with what objectives and what were the further developments?

-Are there common aspects between listening skills and empathy? And if so, in what sense?

-Why can psycho-social training only be proposed but not imposed?

-What are the conceptual differences between Institutions as given and Instituted?

-What are the fundamental aspects that functionally characterize the de-institutionalization processes?

-What are the relationships between organization and institution?

-In what sense do the processes of social change involve the dimensions of Identity?

-What relationships exist between attitudes and social representations?

-How can we explain the ambivalences that are also found in the female world towards abused women?

-Considering the research results, how can we intervene to prevent violence against women?

-What could be done to prevent the risks of blaming the victim?