Sociology of Development

6 credits

Teacher responsible: Prof. Michele Rostan

The world economy has grown at an unprecedented pace in the last half-a-century pushed and sustained by the diffusion and strengthening of socio-economic forces such as entrepreneurship and innovation, human capital formation and mobility, science and technology.

The course aims at offering a sociological view on these “engines of development” looking at relevant institutions, cultural elements and social relations associated with them, providing students with references to different theoretical approaches and empirical evidence.

At the end of the course students should have a general understanding of economic development in the long run and in recent times and gain a more specific knowledge of some constituent elements of the “engines of development” such as entrepreneurship & innovation, work & occupations, science & technology. They also should be able to search for empirical evidence describing these elements and to distinguish different theoretical approaches to the study of development. Finally, students should be able to detect relevant aspects connected to economic development in their immediate social context (e.g. city, region).

The course consists of lectures, seminars and practicals. Although lectures may include a two-way communication between lecturer and students (with questions, answers, etc.), they are mainly based on the lecturer giving a speech. Seminars imply both discussion in the class, active participation by students who may be asked to give a short speech or report, and possibly the intervention of an external guest. Practicals consist of group visits to relevant corporate entities (institutions, firms, university units, etc.) and meetings with qualified informants. At the end of the course students will be invited to assess the didactical activities they have attended. Some instructions for preparing the exam will also be provided.

Course syllabus

N.B. Prospective students can view the full syllabus for this course by signing up to receive the WPIR syllabus package.