A Rising Invisible Majority

Présentation de cours du programme universitaire


  • Professeur : Emanuele Ferragina
  • Session : juillet 
  • Langue d'enseignement : anglais
  • Nombre d'heures de cours : 36

Télécharger la presentation 2021 du cours "A Rising Invisible Majority" (Pdf, EN, 739 Ko).

Objective of the Course

The objective of the course is to equip students with new critical tools to analyse the transformation of the political economy and the welfare state in contemporary societies . Many myths dominate the public debate and are often ‘naturally’ internalized in our classrooms. For example, is market economy a natural consequence of economic development? Does market economy really support the economic development of every country on the planet? Is market economy neutral or does it contribute to shape up dynamics of power and domination across gender and class?

This course is at the same time theoretical and practical. It offers critical tools to understand the crisis of modern capitalism (through the study of Marx, Polanyi and Thompson) and the transformation of the welfare state, but also how to approach contemporary issues, such as the potential of basic income to transform social protection and the regulation of platform workers and automation .


The course is divided into three parts. The first part Capital, Labour & Class: Political Economy Foundations to Understand the Contemporary World, will focus on the study of Marx, Polanyi and Thompson. These three thinkers merged insights from sociology, economics, political economy and history to unveil the underpinnings of market economy and its inherent power structure. Overall, the first part of the course will provide an analytical framework to understand the relationship between capital, labour and class .

The second part of the course, The Political Economy of the Welfare State: Past & Present , applies the theoretical tools discussed in the first five sessions to understand welfare state transformations, that are historically placed within capital, labour and class relations. In this part of the course, we will discuss what the welfare state is for and how it expanded over time.

The third part of the course, Bringing Society back into Contemporary Political Economy , will put together the theoretical and empirical foundations acquired during the course to understand how epochal political economy shifts are contributing to transform the composition of society, with a market increased of poverty, unemployment and precarization.

Organization of the Course

The course will address the following main issues:

Part I: Capital, Labour & Class: Political Economy Foundations to Understand the Contemporary World

Part II: The Political Economy of the Welfare State: Past & Present

Part III: Bringing Society back into Contemporary Political Economy

Professor Biography

Emanuele Ferragina is Associate Professor of Sociology at Sciences Po. He grew up in Catanzaro, in the deep south of Italy. Prior to Sciences Po, he was a Departmental Lecturer at the University of Oxford, where he also received his PhD. His main research interest is the political economy of the welfare state. Besides academia, he has established (with a group of Italian researchers) the think tank Fonderia Oxford, which has the objective of raising public awareness about important societal issues, such as the rigidity of the Italian labour market, the lack of social cohesion in the Mezzogiorno, and the Italian brain drain. He also regularly writes for Il Fatto Quotidiano about equality, labour market issues, party politics, the welfare state, and the lower league football.

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