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SOCI310 Social Movements and Popular Protest

An introduction to classic and contemporary debates in social movement studies and critical examination of popular resistance in local and global contexts.

The paper deals with a key aspect of sociology, namely social change as carried out by ordinary social actors. The study of social movements is a well-established sub-discipline in sociology, but it spans a number of cognate disciplines, including politics, anthropology, geography, history, economics and social psychology. The interdisciplinary nature of social movement studies allows us to examine various aspects of resistance through a range of lenses. Historically, scholars of social movement studies focused on the origins, development, leadership, organisation, strategies, ideology, context and impact of historical and contemporary movements that have some kind of formalised structure. In this paper, we will go beyond the boundaries of classic social movement studies to consider contemporary analyses of popular resistance in local and global settings that occur outside the context of formally organised social movements.

Paper title Social Movements and Popular Protest
Paper code SOCI310
Subject Sociology
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Not offered in 2023, expected to be offered in 2025 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $955.05
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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18 200-level ANTH, CRIM, GEND or SOCI points or 54 200-level points from Arts and Music Schedule C
Schedule C
Arts and Music
May not be credited together with SOCI404 completed in 2015 or 2016.

Teaching staff

Course co-ordinator and instructor: Associate Professor Marcelle Dawson


Edwards, G. (2014) Social Movements and Protest, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Additional reading material will be made available on eReserve to supplement the textbook.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Scholarship, Interdisciplinary perspective, Ethics, Global perspective, Cultural understanding Critical thinking, Lifelong learning, Communication, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete the paper will:

  • Become familiar with the scholarship associated with social movement studies, including its theoretical and methodological traditions.
  • Develop a global perspective on social movements and popular protest in national and international contexts.
  • Critically apply social movement theories to historical and contemporary cases of social movement mobilisation.
  • Compare and account for the differences between social movement mobilisation and collective action that occurs in the absence of formal organisation.
  • Critically analyse the evolving strategies and tactics that are involved in collective resistance.

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Not offered in 2023, expected to be offered in 2025

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system