Social & Political Movements - SOCI8220

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Autumn Term 7 20 (10) Corey Wrenn checkmark-circle


The module is designed so that, as well as covering a core of central concepts and theories, students will have the opportunity from selecting from among a range of optional topics. The core topics which are covered every year include:-
- Introduction: questions of definition – protest, collective action, social movements, social movement organisations. NGOs, pressure groups
- Collective behaviour or political action? The question of rationality; mass society theory; relative deprivation
- Resource mobilisation theory and its critics
- Political opportunity structures
- Ideas, values and knowledge in the making of social movements
- Mass media and social movements: framing and its consequences
- New communications media and social movements


Contact hours

Contact hours: 22
Private study hours: 178
Total hours: 200


normally runs in the Autumn term (term 1)

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
Coursework – essay (5000 words) – 100%

Reassessment methods
100% coursework

Indicative reading

Crossley, N (2002) Making Sense of Social Movements, Maidenhead: Open University Press
Dalton, R (2008) Citizen Politics in Western Democracies: 5th edition, Thousand Oaks: CQ Press
Goodwin, J & Jaspers, J (eds.) (2004) Rethinking Social Movements, Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield
McAdam, D, Tarrow, S & Tilly, C (2001) Dynamics of Contention, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Porta, D & Diani, M (2006) Social Movements: An Introduction, Oxford: Blackwell
Snow, D, Soule, S & Kriesi, H (eds.) (2004) The Blackwell Companion to Social Movements, Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes are as follows. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1.Demonstrate a critical understanding of the major theoretical approaches to the study of social movements including collective behaviour, mass society, relative deprivation, resource mobilisation. Political opportunity structures, and framing processes;
2.Make connections between the different social and political factors influencing the emergence of political protest and social movements, and the dynamics of social-movement activity and organisation, including the choice of repertoires of action;
3.Reflect critically upon the particular conditions affecting social movement organisation and activity at the transnational level
4.Have gained an understanding of the methodology employed to conduct empirical research into social movements and related political activity

The intended generic learning outcomes are as follows. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1.Be able to demonstrate highly developed skills in presentation and debate, both verbal and written, and in utilization of research and statistical data
2.Have acquire advanced research skills through library investigation, critical debate and essay writing
3.Be able to synthesise and evaluate items of knowledge from different schools and disciplines of enquiry.


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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