Why do social movements emerge? How are people mobilised into potentially dangerous activism and how do state responses (such as heavy-handed policing) affect them? What role do social movements play in political conflict and how are they affected by long-term structural changes? This module aims to provide students with an understanding of the key theoretical debates in the field of social movement theory, how they can be applied to specific case studies within the Middle East and elsewhere, and how such empirical case studies can improve the theory. It will discuss different accounts of the formation, evolution and impact of social movements in political conflict, and apply these theoretical perspectives to a series of geographically and thematically differentiated case studies: the US Civil Rights movement; the Italian Left and the Red Brigades; the Lebanese Shi’a and Hizballah; the Global Justice or AntiGlobalisation Movement; and the Egyptian ‘25 January Revolution’ of 2011. The course will explore the theories’ usefulness in explaining secular, peaceful social movements in ‘the global North’ (the field’s original focus) and then evaluate the theories’ applicability to studying other types of social movements: movements operating in ‘the global South’; religious social movements; violent, underground organisations; and transnational movements. Throughout, the module will look at the implications of modernisation, globalisation and changes in state, societal and economic structures on both social movements and social movement theory.
*Please note that module information is indicative and may change from year to year.
1-hour weekly lecture and 1-hour weekly seminar
Module assessment - more information
1 x 1,000-word formative essay (unassessed); 1 x 5,000-word essay (which counts 100% towards the final mark)