Whether we personally take part or not, social movements have played a central role in our lives.
Without social movements, many injustices of the past and present would remain unaddressed: from overturning feudal serfdom, to abolishing the legal slave trade, to the extension of the franchise for men and women, to labour rights, to overcoming state-sanctioned apartheids, to post-colonial nationalism, to putting civil rights on the agenda, to the recognition of women’s rights, to addressing environmental destruction, to the popularisation of fairer international trade, to human rights and LGBTQI rights. Whether a march, sit-in, protest camp, squat, street battle, armed insurrection, coup or revolution; global history – and particularly modern history – is a story of social movements and political action.
This module focuses on the evolution and role of contemporary social movements in society. Each week we will focus on one movement as a case study, using such examples to reveal different aspects of political action outside of the state. Social movements and political action which we will examine in this module, include the Arab Spring, Occupy and the English Riots of 2011.