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SO336-15 Social Movements and Political Action

Undergraduate Level 3
Module leader
Teodora Todorova
Credit value
100% coursework
Study location
University of Warwick main campus, Coventry
Introductory description


Module aims

The module will allow students to develop their knowledge and understanding of sociological research on social movements. The module will allow students to develop a critical understanding of divergent perspectives on social movements, explore research on the role of social movements and analyse the role of contemporary forms of social movements in contemporary societies.

Outline syllabus

This is an indicative module outline only to give an indication of the sort of topics that may be covered. Actual sessions held may differ.

An Introduction to Social Movements and Political Action
New Social Movements Theory
Resource Mobilisation Theory
The Arab Spring: Resistance to Neoliberalism and Intersectional Critiques
Occupy: Resistance to Neoliberalism and Intersectional Critiques
Reading Week
Black Lives Matter: Resistance in the Neoliberal Racial Colony I
Water Protectors at Standing Rock: Resistance to the Neoliberal Racial Colony II
Decolonial Solidarity Activism in Palestine-Israel
Far Right Movements

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • understand the history and contemporary forms of social movements
  • display an awareness of contrasting views about social movements
  • show an understanding of the role of social movements in contemporary societies
Indicative reading list

della Porta, D. and Diani, M. (2006) Social Movements: An Introduction 2nd Edition Malden: Blackwell
Goodwin, J. and Jasper, J.M. (eds) (2003) The Social Movements Reader: Cases and Concepts Oxford: Blackwell
McAdam, D. and Snow, D.A. (eds) (2010) Readings on Social Movements: Origins, Dynamics, and Outcomes 2nd Edition New York: Oxford University Press
Ruggiero, V. and Mcntagna, N. (eds) (2008) Social Movements: A Reader London: Routledge Snow, D.A., Soule, S.A. and Kriesi. H. (eds) (2007) The Blackwell Companion to Social Movements Oxford: Blackwell
Tilly, C. (2004) Social Movements, 1768-2004 Boulder, CO: Paradigm

Subject specific skills
  • a systematic understanding of key aspects of social movement studies, including acquisition of coherent and detailed knowledge, at least some of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of defined aspects of a discipline

  • an ability to deploy accurately established techniques of analysis and enquiry within the sociological study of social movements.

  • conceptual understanding that enables the student:

  • to devise and sustain arguments, and/or to solve problems, using ideas and
    techniques, some of which are at the forefront of a discipline
  • to describe and comment upon particular aspects of current research, or
    equivalent advanced scholarship, in the discipline
  • an appreciation of the uncertainty, ambiguity and limits of knowledge

  • the ability to manage their own learning, and to make use of scholarly reviews and primary sources (for example, refereed research articles and/or original materials appropriate to the discipline).

Transferable skills

Typically, holders of the qualification will be able to:

apply the methods and techniques that they have learned to review, consolidate, extend and apply their knowledge and understanding, and to initiate and carry out projects

critically evaluate arguments, assumptions, abstract concepts and data (that may be incomplete), to make judgements, and to frame appropriate questions to achieve a solution - or identify a range of solutions - to a problem

communicate information, ideas, problems and solutions to both specialist and non-specialist audiences.

And holders will have:
the qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring:

  • the exercise of initiative and personal responsibility
  • decision-making in complex and unpredictable contexts
  • the learning ability needed to undertake appropriate further training of a
    professional or equivalent nature.

Study time

Type Required
Lectures 9 sessions of 1 hour (50%)
Seminars 9 sessions of 1 hour (50%)
Total 18 hours
Private study description

Reading set course materials and note taking in preparation for class discussion.


No further costs have been identified for this module.

You must pass all assessment components to pass the module.

Assessment group A1
Weighting Study time
Assessed Essay 100%

A 3,000-word essay on a topic question listed in the module outline.

Feedback on assessment

Written comments to students and individual discussions with students


This module is Optional for:

  • Year 3 of USOA-L301 BA in Sociology

This module is Unusual option for:

  • UPHA-V7ML Undergraduate Philosophy, Politics and Economics
    • Year 3 of V7ML Philosophy, Politics and Economics (Tripartite)
    • Year 3 of V7ML Philosophy, Politics and Economics (Tripartite)
    • Year 3 of V7ML Philosophy, Politics and Economics (Tripartite)

This module is Option list B for:

  • USOA-L301 BA in Sociology
    • Year 3 of L305 Sociology with Specialism in Cultural Studies
    • Year 3 of L304 Sociology with Specialism in Research Methods
  • Year 4 of UPOA-ML14 Undergraduate Politics and Sociology (with Intercalated year)