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Mass Media, Culture & Intellectuals in Contemporary Italy - LAN00063H

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  • Department: Language and Linguistic Science
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Lucia Aiello
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23

Module summary

This module looks at key changes in the activity, role and function of intellectuals in Italy since World War II and investigates how new and traditional media have influenced the perception intellectuals have of themselves and of their function in society (from “intellettuale impegnato” [committed intellectual] to “tuttologo” [Italian neologism commonly translated as “spin doctor” or “know-it all”]).

Focusing on crucial historical moments in recent Italian history, the module explores how prominent Italian intellectuals contributed to public debates, the means and style of communication they favoured, and the social and cultural context in which they operated.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Spring Term 2022-23 to Summer Term 2022-23

Module aims

The module asks questions such as: Who are the “intellectuals” and what is their role in contemporary Italian society? What is their class status? What is their institutional and cultural function? Particular attention will be given to the way - from the late seventies onwards, soon after the death of Pier Paolo Pasolini - Italian intellectuals have reacted and/or adapted to the rigid structures of communication demanded by mass media (e.g. predetermined contexts such as talk shows, blogs, social media) and have engaged in the reconfiguration of the cultural space, thus contributing to the transformation of cultural discourse and language codes.

The aim of the module is to provide a cultural and historical overview of recent developments in Italian society and to enable students to comprehend key aspects of Italian linguistic, social and political identity from the 1950s to the present day.

Module learning outcomes

Upon completing this course, students will be able to demonstrate:

  • detailed knowledge and understanding of the set texts and additional multimedia materials (e.g. digital resources, including videos, films, TV programmes);
  • knowledge and understanding of the role of intellectuals in contemporary Italy and awareness of the main issues surrounding intellectuals’ relationship to the social, political and cultural sphere;
  • ability to undertake independent study and personal research on the topics discussed;
  • ability to develop increased confidence and advanced accuracy in the production of written and spoken Italian
  • enhanced skills in critical reading, writing and analysis.

Module content

Detailed information on the the syllabus will be provided by the course convenor at the beginning of the course.


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 60
Open paper
N/A 40

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Reassessment Essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

Students will receive feedback for formative and summative work

Indicative reading

Course dossier and reading list will be provided by the course convenor.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.