The doctorate in Social Sciences: Interactions, Communication, Cultural Constructions is awarded after a three-year program at the University of Padova Department of Philosophy, Sociology, Education and Applied Psychology. From 2009 to 2012, the program was held jointly with the University of Bologna Department of Communication Studies.

The program is designed to train highly qualified researchers in the analysis of the cultural processes of social change typical of complex societies, enabling them to gain sociological skills together with expertise in social statistics, anthropology and political science.

The program’s interdisciplinary nature and methodological approach, pursued through a range of international contacts, provide an environment for learning to do research which is unique in Italy. Budding researchers can engage in projects focusing on the theoretical and empirical frameworks that provide insights into the forms of individual mobility, social and economic exchanges, interactions with technoscientific factors and the environment, and the spread of new and long-standing forms of poverty. A key aspect of the interdisciplinary perspective adopted by the program is its commitment to research methods that seek to go beyond the qualitative/quantitative dichotomy whenever possible, shedding new light and yielding fresh interpretations of social phenomena.

The program is designed to build a solid methodological grounding and knowledge base that encompasses theories and research approaches to cultural and communication processes, as well as the theoretical models needed to analyze cultural constructions and interaction. Of the many areas of interest to the social sciences, this doctoral program centers on three that are crucial for coming to grips with the most significant discontinuities and thus call for greater theoretical and empirical scrutiny:

1) Intercultural relations: mobility, religions, family, genders.

2) The relationship between society, technoscience and media.

3) Institutional processes and practices of social and environmental production and reproduction.

For further information, see Lines of Research

The fields of inquiry and theoretical thinking in these three areas have many ties with other complementary and interconnected topics of research that provide opportunities to build the skills needed to investigate the forms taken by contemporary social complexity. Here, the program’s chief goal is to ensure an educational environment that never loses sight of the fact that the processes dealt with in these areas are now more multiscalar than ever before. Accordingly, particular emphasis is given to research in diversified social contexts, where extended periods of study abroad will make it possible to address processes unfolding at the supranational level.

Doctoral projects will thus start from these areas, which given the nature of the issues they pose can be investigated independently or in terms of the intersections between them. Examples of such issues include religious phenomena, the construction of identity and gender, the job market and the changing face of labor, processes of transculturation, demographic changes and intergenerational relations, forms of stigmatization and racialization, the social construction of deviance and social control, the forms of poverty, the environmental crisis and armed conflict.

The program emphasizes interdisciplinary theoretical and methodological approaches to research that cut across traditional disciplinary boundaries. It thus encourages theoretically grounded empirical analyses with a strong interpretive bent, and innovative multimethod research that can effectively combine qualitative and quantitative approaches or test new models for understanding social and technological change.

The doctoral program is hosted by the University of Padova Department of Philosophy, Sociology, Education and Applied Psychology.

During the first year, attendance and active participation in the program are mandatory, as teaching will take place in a series of seminars in which the theoretical and epistemological literature will be presented and research issues will be discussed.

Further details about the program can be found at: Doctoral Program Overview

In addition to meeting the general requirements for the program and their chosen area of interest, candidates will pursue some of the lines of research in greater depth as they work towards their doctoral project.