First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Economics and Political Science
Course unit
EPP8084311, A.A. 2018/19

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2018/19

Information on the course unit
Degree course Second cycle degree in
EP2444, Degree course structure A.Y. 2018/19, A.Y. 2018/19
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Number of ECTS credits allocated 6.0
Type of assessment Mark
Course unit English denomination DIGITAL INNOVATION AND SOCIETY (MOD. B)
Department of reference Department of Political Science, Law, and International Studies
E-Learning website
Mandatory attendance No
Language of instruction English

Teacher in charge FRANCESCA SETIFFI SPS/08
Other lecturers PAOLO MAGAUDDA SPS/08

Integrated course for this unit
Course unit code Course unit name Teacher in charge

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Core courses SPS/08 Sociology of Culture and Communication 6.0

Course unit organization
Period Second semester
Year 1st Year
Teaching method frontal

Type of hours Credits Teaching
Hours of
Individual study
Lecture 6.0 45 105.0 No turn

Start of activities 25/02/2019
End of activities 14/06/2019
Show course schedule 2019/20 Reg.2018 course timetable

Examination board
Examination board not defined


Common characteristics of the Integrated Course unit

Prerequisites: Basic knowledge concerning world politics and the transformation, role and social implications of digital and communication technologies; understanding of dynamics that lead to policy orientation and governing arrangements, including political participation; basic knowledge of sociological issues and terminology; curiosity for the global dimension of political and communication phenomena and for the understanding of social consequences and implications produced by digital and media technologies; interest in research work, including group work, and critical discussions. Good knowledge of the English language; basic knowledge of a second foreign language.
Target skills and knowledge: Expected results: acquisition of elements to support critical analysis of contemporary communication realities, with a global outlook, and a special focus on how themes, problems and challenges posed by the developments of information and communication technologies invite the definition of new regulatory interventions. Students will also acquire theoretical-analytical frameworks and methods for understanding different supra- and trans-national realities (organizations, initiatives, networks) representatives of developments that characterize knowledge societies and the governing arrangements that characterize them. Furthermore students will develop a critical understanding of the social and cultural implications of digital technologies, with a sociological focus on innovation processes, digital media, sharing economy and their impact on everyday life.
The possibility to deal in class with case studies and specific issues will provide students with important skills in view of designing interventions in these areas, like the elaboration of position papers, project definition in trans-national and multi-actors contexts, mapping of interests and analysis of languages used by policy-ideators and policy-makers. Expected cognitive results concern better understanding of the nexus between domestic, regional and transnational communication developments and their governance; awareness of current debates concerning global communication and its social implications and impacts, with a focus on actors’ interactions; acquisition of a gender perspective through which communication processes and policies should be critically understood, and focus on diversity and intersectional issues in digital developments.
Transversal competences will be acquired through interactive learning, engagement with peers, group work, and international exchanges: communication abilities, public speaking also in intercultural contexts, autonomous judgement; collaborative modes for the production of new knowledge; critical rethinking of knowledge development and sharing.
Examination methods: Evaluation will include the overall participation of students in class discussions and activities (20%); commitment to reading assigned materials and class activities, including through the elaboration of individual written assignments and short video recording (30%); commitment, autonomy and creativity in conducting themed group research work, through the elaboration of collective papers/posters and class presentation, making use of the knowledge and transversal competence acquired during the course (50%). The final grade will be based on all the activities mentioned above, including design and elaboration and class presentation of group work activities, production and oral presentation of final papers.
Assessment criteria: Integral components for students’ performance evaluation are: participation in class, also through collaborative work and group work; individual reading and writing assignments and video recording that assess students’ understanding and capacity to critically rethink the course contents. Design and elaboration and class presentation of group work activities, theme based with an international outlook. Production of final papers. Active participation in yearly themed ‘LABs’ (when activated) and completion of related assignments are core components of the final evaluation.

Specific characteristics of the Module

Course unit contents: This module provides students with a critical understanding of the social and cultural implications of digital technologies, with a specific focus on innovation processes, digital media, the sharing economy, and their impact on everyday life. The module is divided into two parts: The first part is an introduction to the social study of technology and innovation processes, with specific attention to digital media. The second part develops the understanding of the consequences of digital technologies in everyday life. Particular consideration is given to the definitions and practices inherent in the sharing economy and organizational innovation, rounded out with a discussion of digital innovation and the body.
In part one, Professor Paolo Magaudda offers an introduction to the critical study of technological innovation, with a specific focus on digital media. In today’s global society, innovation processes related to digital technologies and their consequences in society have become decisive in reshaping social relationships, altering communication flows, and sustaining specific configurations of power and political order. Consequently, the module fosters the theoretical understanding of the intricate relationship between digital innovation and social processes. In order to explore these issues, the first section of the module adopts a critical theoretical perspective on innovation, elaborated in the field of science and technology studies (STS), an interdisciplinary area focused on how science and technology both influence and are influenced by culture, politics, and society.
In part two, Professor Francesca Setiffi introduces the so-called “prosumer capitalism,” one of the main features of the digital economy. An analysis of the sharing economy and data sharing is provided, with a specific focus on the differences between platform orientation and consumer orientation. At a different level, we examine the sociological factors that explain why some creative teams are able to produce innovators and “game changers.” Moreover, as life is increasingly shaped by the digital, the module deepens the consequences of the spread of digital devices and self-tracking in everyday life, in terms of quantification, surveillance, and gamification. Accordingly, the course analyzes the “dark side” of digital innovations: power, social inequalities, and access to innovations.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: The module includes a variety of activities and approaches, including lectures, group work, and group discussions. Interactive sources, like video and PowerPoint presentations, are used to introduce theories and concepts.
Teaching activities take student input and interests into consideration, developing them through interactive activities that utilize web-based resources and other external sources. Individual and group work related to the module’s contents is carried out on this basis.
Additional notes about suggested reading: All materials (videos and PPT files) can be downloaded from Moodle.
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • Balbi G. and Magaudda P., History of digital media, an intermedia and global perspective. --: Routledge, 2018. selected chapters Cerca nel catalogo
  • de Vaan M., Vedres B. and Stark D., Game Changer: The Topology of Creativity. In American Journal of Sociology 120, no. 4 (January 2015): 1144-1194.. --: --, 2015. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Greenfield A., Radical Technologies, The Design of Everyday Life,. London: Verso, 2017. selected chapters Cerca nel catalogo
  • Jasanoff S., Future Imperfect: Science, Technology, and the Imaginations of Modernity.. Chicago: University of Chigaco Press, 2015. in Sheila Jasanoff And Sang-Hyun Kim (Eds.), Dreamscapes of Modernity Cerca nel catalogo
  • Lupton D., The Quantified Self. Polity. --: Polity, 2016. selected chapters Cerca nel catalogo
  • Maturo A. and Setiffi F., The gamification of risk: how health apps foster self-confidence and why this is not enough, Health, Risk & Society, 17:7-8, 477-494. --: --, 2016. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Ritzer G. and Jurgenson N., Production, Consumption, Prosumption: The nature of capitalism in the age of the digital ‘prosumer’, Journal of Consumer Culture, Vol 1. --: --, --. pp. 13 – 36.
  • Schor JB, Attwood‐Charles W., The “sharing” economy: labor, inequality, and social connection on for‐profit platforms. Sociology Compass, 11:e12493.. --: --, --. Cerca nel catalogo

Innovative teaching methods: Teaching and learning strategies
  • Lecturing
  • Case study
  • Working in group
  • Use of online videos

Innovative teaching methods: Software or applications used
  • Moodle (files, quizzes, workshops, ...)

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Responsible Consumption and Production