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Social Movements and Political Action (SO336-15)

Why and how do social movements emerge? How have social movements helped to change the world around us? Why do people become activists in social movements? These are some of the questions that we shall explore in this module. Using insights from sociology as well as related disciplines we shall explore the reasons why the world around us has seen such a proliferation of social movements. We shall also look at the reasons why social movements have emerged at particular conjunctures, how they have managed to grow and how they have attempted to influence political and policy agendas.

The module will focus on case studies of the main social movements that have helped to shape the contemporary societies, including the civil rights movement, feminism and women’s movements, anti-war and peace movements, environmentalism, extreme right-wing movements, global social movements, religious social movements, anti-austerity movements. The module will allow you to develop a better understanding of an important social phenomenon and to explore how sociologists have researched and attempted to make sense of social movements.

This module might appeal to those who want to understand why social movements have become so important in contemporary societies. We will use sociological ideas and concepts to explore both the reasons why social movements emerge and the role they have in contemporary societies. Recent most popular topics have included those that chime with contemporary social and political debates, such as religious mobilisation, anti-austerity movements.


Module Director

John Solomos

Timing and CATS

This module will run in the Autumn Term and is worth 15 CATS.