SPM (Social & Political Movements)


About the Course

This course is about understanding a variant of social change.  The aim of the course is to provide the students with the necessary academic tools enabling them to comprehend contemporary social and political movements by taking into account historical, cultural, economic, social, political and psychological factors.  An interdisciplinary outlook will be required in order to cope with the complexity of social change and the different levels of analysis.  

At the end of the semester the students will have an idea about how they can articulate and assess the organizational structure, historical context, discursive meaning or the ideological position of a social movement.  The ongoing specific issues such as the global warming, the abortion issue and the Arab spring as well as the increasing relevance of NGO’s, globalization, transnationalism and interdependency will be critically discussed. 

In addition to the reading material, visual material (films and documentaries) will be used as much as possible to be able to address the spontaneity and dynamism of social movements.

Weekly Schedule

Week 1

Introduction: About the Course and Social Movements

Week 2


Civil Rights Movements

Week 3


Labour Movements and Trade Unions

Week 4 


Youth Organizations, Mobilization and Propaganda

Week 5


Radical Activism and Social Change 

Week 6

New Social Movements

The Legacy of 1968

Week 7

Environmental Activism

The Ecology Movement and the Greens

Week 8

Sexual Politics and Social Movements

Feminism and Lesbian/Gay Movement

Week 9

Conservative Politics and Social Movements

Week 10 

NGOs and Humanitarian Aid

Week 11 

Comparing Social Movements

Week 12

Social Movements and the Media: Making Sense of The Arab Spring 

Week 13

Identity Politics and Social Movements

Week 14 

The Global Turn 

Transnational Relevance in Social Movements

Week 15

Class Discussion and Evaluation of the Term