Università degli Studi di Urbino Carlo Bo / Portale Web di Ateneo


Democracy in the digital and distrust age
La democrazia nell'era digitale e della sfiducia

A.Y. Credits
2020/2021 8
Lecturer Email Office hours for students
Luigino Ceccarini Every week, during both terms, after class or by appointment.
Teaching in foreign languages
Course with optional materials in a foreign language English
This course is entirely taught in Italian. Study materials can be provided in the foreign language and the final exam can be taken in the foreign language.

Assigned to the Degree Course

International Politics, Society, Economics (LM-62)
Date Time Classroom / Location
Date Time Classroom / Location

Learning Objectives

This course aims to provide and deepen the fundamental theoretical models and concepts for understanding the relationship between society and politics. This general topic is framed in the context of the representative democracy crisis, which affects the post-modern and post-ideological society.

Particular attention will be given to the political phenomena that are interlaced with the ideas of the monitoring democracy and monitorial citizen. First, most fundamental concepts  - such as power, democracy, political system, political culture, social capital and representation - will be discussed critically in the light of the transformations of both, society and politics. Moreover, the evolution of citizens’ attitudes and the transformation of primary political actors will also be addressed.

The course starts from the key idea that the post-representative politics is developing in modern democracies, and for this reason lectures will be mainly devoted to the concept of political communication and the transformation of the political participation. From this perspective, we will address some subjects concerning the main points of the topic itself. Then, particular attention will be paid to the new forms of citizens’ engagement and the transformations of the very concept of democratic citizenship.

The role played by the Internet and in particular by the social media in the democratic dynamics on one side, and, on the other side, dis-intermediate and post-bureaucratic forms of political participation and communication will be discussed. Besides, the idea of political consumerism will also be taken into consideration, being understood as an expression of a form of individualised engagement and of a deep change in the political culture, which affect the relationship between society and politics.


Every class unit is structured in two main sections. During the first part, it will be reconstructed the basic elements of the argument considered and related to politics and society by addressing key concepts and main approaches. The second one will focus more specifically on the evolution of it and the future perspectives.

In particular, democracy and participation modes in the late modernity is the frame in which lectures will be held. However, classical categories such as  power,  political system, political party, social movement, and pressure group will be considered as fundamental components in the light of the post-modern evolution. Citizens, voters and elections, the political socialization process and the idea of political culture, media and audience, advocacy campaigns will also be discussed in the frame of the globalization processes and their consequences on these elements.

More specifically lectures and seminars will articulate the course as follows:

1. The study of politics: basic categories and their evolution, future perspectives

2. Forms, dimensions and changes in the concept and practices of democratic citizenship

3. Post-representative politics

4. Citizen participation and monitoring democracy

5. The monitorial citizen

6. Internet, social media and civic engagement

7. Political consumerism and dis-intermediated forms of participation

8. Discussing measures of post-modern modes of participation

9. Internet and democracy:  opportunities and limitations.

Bridging Courses

Bridging courses are not required.

Learning Achievements (Dublin Descriptors)

- Knowledge and understanding: at the end of the course students must have acquired the knowledge of the basic theoretical elements and concepts concerning the relationship between society and politics. Educational methods used to reach these goals are: frontal lectures, workshop, seminars with scholars and experts and class discussion.

- Applying knowledge and understanding: students must be able to identify and apply appropriately the political studies lexicon, the concepts and theoretical models discussed throughout the course. In particular, they must be able to apply the acquired knowledge to the analysis of the transformation of politics and political behaviour.  Educational methods used to reach these goals: frontal lectures, seminars with scholars and experts, class discussion; workshop and team-working.

- Making judgements: the students will strengthen their ability to connect the concepts and theories presented throughout the course, their ability to deal with complex research problems and questions independently, to make judgements and critical reflections about political phenomena and their transformations. Educational methods used to reach these goals are: frontal lectures, workshops and team-working, seminars with scholars and experts, class discussion.

- Communication skills: the students must be able to clearly and incisively communicate, appropriately using the discipline lexicon and the main concepts discussed. Educational methods used to reach these goals also in this case are various: students will be asked to interact with the lecturer and with their colleagues, asking questions and actively participating to class discussion and presenting their essais.

- Learning skills: the students are supposed to develop adequate learning skills, so as to be able to extend and independently deepen the knowledge acquired throughout the course, following new paths of theoretical reflection or research. Educational methods used to reach these goals are: frontal lectures, audio-visual materials, seminars with scholars and experts, class discussion, writing an essay on the related topics.

Teaching Material

The teaching material prepared by the lecturer in addition to recommended textbooks (such as for instance slides, lecture notes, exercises, bibliography) and communications from the lecturer specific to the course can be found inside the Moodle platform › blended.uniurb.it

Supporting Activities

The lecturer will provide via blended learning platform a selection of materials, and useful links in order to deepening the knowledge on the discussed topics. Some seminars are also planned to be done.

Educational material and information provided by the professor will be available, together with other supporting acitivities, in the platform Moodle› blended.uniurb.it

Didactics, Attendance, Course Books and Assessment


Frontal lectures with the use of audiovisual media, analysis of research outcome carried out by the LaPolis research group and other scholars, and discussion with students during workshops and seminars.


Class attendance is not required. Attendance is recommended and students who will attend for at least 75% of the class hours will be considered "attending student". 

Course books

Ceccarini, L. e Diamanti, I. Tra politica e società. Fondamenti, trasformazioni e prospettive, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2018.


Students are allowed to choose between two different exam methods:

1) oral examination. This mode is recommended to students who do not attend lectures or take part in class just occasionally;

2) written examination. In this case, the final evaluation will take place at the end of the course (the date will be agreed with the students participating in class).
For both, written and oral test, the evaluation criteria are as follows:
- the relevance of responses to the content of the program;
- level of response articulation;
- the relevance of the language used

For those who attend class and prepare an oral dissertation or discuss written essay their work will be considered in the final assessment.

Additional Information for Non-Attending Students


Studying for exam based on the text books listed below.


Class attendance is not required. Attendance is recommended and students who will attend for at least 75% of the class hours will be considered "attending student". 

Course books

Ceccarini, L. e Diamanti, I. Tra politica e società. Fondamenti, trasformazioni e prospettive, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2018.


Oral examination according to the academic assessment schedule


This is a "supported course". Students are able to request to sit the final exam in English with an alternative bibliography upon agreement with professor.

« back Last update: 15/07/2020


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