Academic year
2021/2022 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
EM1129 (AF:331119 AR:176972)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Master's Degree Programme (DM270)
Educational sector code
2nd Term
Course year
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During the last decades, great changes have affected social systems and transformed the relationships between the social and economic sphere, the local and global dimension, individuals and the community. Acceleration of processes (economic, social, cultural...) and fragmentation of individual and collective identities characterized the globalized society: in it, the individual is called upon to deal individually with systemic problems and risks (Beck, Bauman), not to mention the social, economic and health crises concentrated in the decade 2010-2020.
Decision-making and organizational processes also highlight the inadequacy of individual resources in the face of the complexity of social challenges and the management of goods and services of general interest. The possibility of finding individual solutions to social problems becomes complicated at a time when social challenges are multiplying (the growth of inequalities, the spread of de-contextualized models of production and consumption, the encounter between different peoples and cultures).
Nonetheless, in such a panorama, initiatives arise that are capable of tackling some emerging social problems, i.e. the field of the so-called social innovation (IS): IS relocates the collective dimension to the center of social structure and action (Giddens), in a perspective of sustainability of social systems.
IS emerges in changing contexts, including crises, where relationships and social processes are put to the test and can take on new configurations (creativity, reflexivity). As recent concept, IS has the ability to develop responses from below (bottom-up logic) and to intervene on the modes of interaction between individuals and social groups within a defined territorial dimension.
Attendance and active participation in the activities of the course and individual study will allow students to acquire specific theoretical skills and the ability to understand the phenomena related to social complexity and issues of innovation and protection of the common good.
However, the course also aims to provide students with the tools to interpret the reality that surrounds them and thus become capable of acting in a constantly changing context, with a critical and active role: in particular, acting as responsible social actors, able to take care of those goods that constitute a collective heritage and an investment in the future (sustainability).
At the end of the course, the students will be able to:
- place the theme of the commons at the crossroads of different knowledge and issues
- recognise the role of different publics (public authorities, non profit organisations, citizens) in protecting and enhancing the common goods
- recognise the elements characterising social innovation experiences
- analyse actors, processes and results of social innovation experiences
Basic sociological theories.
- Public and common goods: what are they?
- "The tragedy of the commons"
- The governance of common goods
- From the ownership of goods to their management: processes of social innovation
- Social innovation: a sociological reading
- Characteristics and determinants of social innovation
- The "bees" of social innovation: who are the innovators?
- Social innovation and development
Required text:

Giddens A. (1990), The consequences of modernity, Cambridge, Polity Press.

PS: Any additional bibliographic guidance will be provided during class.
The verification of learning requires a written test dedicated to the themes presented during the lessons and in the bibliography.
Students will be required to demonstrate specific knowledge of the topics covered and will be particularly appreciated the critical ability to apply theoretical approaches to the analysis of case studies.
Classroom lectures with discussion of topics and examples of case studies.
Active and critical student participation is especially valued.
If conditions permit the presentation of case studies could be assigned to a few students.

This subject deals with topics related to the macro-area "Circular economy, innovation, work" and contributes to the achievement of one or more goals of U. N. Agenda for Sustainable Development

Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 16/07/2021