The course aims to introduce basic concepts of sociology of communication, in particular in relation to interpersonal communication, and at the same time to analyze the role played by the media in current society, in connection to social, cultural, institutional and technological transformations occurred over the last decades.
Moreover, the course aims to prompt students to acquire the necessary skills to avoid forms of pathological communication in daily life, to enhance the skill for critical analysis and to analyze media by reflexively drawing on their own, daily experience of them.
By the end of the course, students will be able to master the main paradigms developed in the field of sociology of communication and media, to know the main genres of media production and to understand media languages in relation to the development of technologies and audiences, as well as the theoretical and methodological issues raised by this development.
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The first part of the course introduces the most relevant theories of communication, with a specific focus on interpersonal communication. The following topics are considered: verbal and non-verbal communication, interaction rituals, framing practices, rules of conversation, the relation between communication and social identities, pathological forms of communicative interaction.
The second part of the course provides students with the tools for studying media, referring to media reception and theoretical perspectives in the sociology of media. A focus will be on forms of symbolic pollution and, in particular, on media images and soundscapes. Finally, the social changes led by digital media in the contemporary society and the medial representations of identities will be considered.

Core Documentation

a) Anna Lisa Tota, 2020, Ecologia della Parola. Il piacere della Conversazione, Einaudi, Torino.
b) Anna Lisa Tota, 2023, Ecologia del pensiero. Conversazioni con una mente inquinata, Einaudi, Torino.
c) Moreover, the following readings:

1) José Van Dijck, Thomas Poell, Martijn de Waal (2019), Platform Society. Valori pubblici e società connessa, edizione italiana a cura di G. Boccia Artieri e A. Marinelli (only the introduction, “Per un’economia politica delle piattaforme” and the first chapter, “Platform Society: un concetto controverso”), Guerini, Milano, pp. 9-21 e 35-74.
2) Giovanni Boccia Artieri, Fausto Colombo, Guido Gili (2022), Comunicare. Persone, relazioni, media (only the chapter 5, “Dall’intelligenza artificiale al papiro (e ritorno)”), Laterza, Roma-Bari, pp. 132-163.
3) Stuart Hall (1980), “Codifica e decodifica”, in Tele-visioni, a cura di A. Marinelli e G. Fatelli (2000), Meltemi, Roma, pp. 66-83.

Reference Bibliography

Moreover, the following texts are suggested, but not compulsory for the exam: 1) Paul Watzlawick et al., 1971, Pragmatica della comunicazione umana, Astrolabio, Roma, cap. 1 “Presupposti teorici”, cap. 2 “Tentativo di fissare alcuni assiomi della comunicazione” e cap. 3 “La comunicazione patologica”, pp. 13-111. 2) Anna Lisa Tota (a cura di), 2008, Gender e media. Verso un immaginario sostenibile, Roma, Meltemi.

Type of delivery of the course

The course is based on traditional lectures and one workshop, not compulsory for the exam, in working-groups.

Type of evaluation

The exam will be written and it will last two hours. The students will be asked to reply extensively to three questions.