10454 Social Movements and Political Protest 1

Credits: 6 intermediate credits in Political Science

Prerequisites: none

Recommended: Democracies and Dictatorships: Comparative Politics,2 State and Society: The Sociology of Politics

Author: Tamar Hermann

Traditionally, it was assumed that even in clear-cut democracies, the focus of the political process lies with the political establishment and not with professional politicians. However, in recent decades a significant perceptual shift has taken place in the study of political action – from the top echelons to grassroots. It has become apparent that the public is not always indifferent or ignorant. Citizens are increasingly organizing in order to influence the outcomes of the political process; for example, through ecological movements, human and civil rights movements, anti-globalization protest movements, movements on the Internet, and the like.

This course presents the “new politics”: it examines the structural and conceptual factors which encourage or impede the development of participation channels outside of the establishment, explores the tension that arises between action organized by citizens and by the political establishment, identifies the sectors which generate civil initiatives, analyzes the socio-demographic profile of activists, and examines the strategies and tactics used by these movements.

Topics: Patterns of political participation – grassroots political participation, extra-parliamentary political participation; Social movements – recruitment and activity patterns, interrelations with their environment; Strategies for grassroots political participation – non-violent protest, terrorism.

1In the past, this was a 3-credit course.

There is some overlap in the content of this and other courses. For details, see Overlapping Courses.

2or Democracies and Dictatorships: Ideas, Contexts, Regimes (10660, 3 cr.) which is no longer offered.