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Regular version of the site
Master 2018/2019

History and Theory of Social Movements

Type: Elective course (Complex Social Analysis)
Area of studies: Sociology
Delivered by: School of Sociology
When: 1 year, 4 module
Mode of studies: Full time
Master’s programme: Complex Social Analysis
Language: English
ECTS credits: 3

Course Syllabus

Abstract

A fundamental premise of this theory-oriented research field is that social conflicts are inherent in social life. Thus conflict is considered to be one of the main, basic, categories of social sciences. It is used both by the theorists, analysts in various fields of social sciences and by the applied researchers to address specific conflict situations. This course focuses on the examination of the conflict as a social action/agency and as interaction, in relation to the categories of consensus and violence. The course introduces both the classical sociological theories of conflict and modern ones, their analytical capabilities and limitations are to be discussed. In this regard, particular attention is paid to the ratio of "structural" and "direct" violence and related conflicts. he course focuses on the sociological approach to the understanding and the research of civil society (as opposed to legal or political science traditions). Therefore, the course involves the development of the students’ basic knowledge of sociological theories and methods for the study of social movements, stimulating students' interest in field studies of various social movements, in acquiring skills to study collective action. The course combines three important segments: 1. An excursus into the social history of social movements in their various forms - from migrations and revolutions to grassroots initiatives and atypical forms of solidarity. The analysis of current Russian cases studied by native and foreign researchers will be covered as well. The experience of cultural studies and social anthropology in the study of social movements will also be addressed. 2. The analysis of the main paradigms, the development of theoretical models and of the language to describe social movements, developing skills to identify and to analyze a priori axiomatic assumptions that underlie scientific and non-scientific texts, the theoretical analysis of synonyms and related concepts (social movements, social mobilization, forms of solidarity, collective action , civil society, etc.). 3. Learning cognitive/rational limitations and advantages of empirical methods used in the study of social movements and the consequent social and political effects; discussing of methodological research and methodological problems that arise in connection with the growing area of Internet research and the formation of research traditions at the intersection of computer science, linguistics, political science, economics, sociology and other disciplines. As the final work of the students will be invited to prepare, conduct and present their own research on the profile subjects in small working groups of 2 to 3 persons. Training objectives of the course: - To form students' understanding of the issues of social movements; - To generate ideas about the most important historical examples of social movements - the "classic" of the revolution, mass migration, and the crowd of fashion, social movements and revolutions of the 20th century, the role of the Internet in the development of social movements, etc. - To generate theoretical and conceptual competence as to the main paradigms, theories and concepts dealing with the subject of social movements and civil society; - To develop the analytical skills for public discourse on the major issues of social movements; to promote the skills of the critical assessment of contemporary discourses on social movements.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • The course focuses on a particular conflict component -- conflict behaviour -- as treated and discussed in both classical writings and contemporary research. It aims in depth familiarity with and knowledge of central approaches and theories in the study of conflict dynamics, in general, and conflict behaviour, in particular.
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • students are expected master the basic concepts and methods of theory-oriented research in the field
  • students are expected to use approaches and theories for the analysis of conflict behaviour instances
  • students are expected to evaluate critically the strengths and weaknesses of theories in the field
  • students are expected to be able to discriminate between different approaches and theories in the peace and conflict studies
  • students get oriented in the field of Marxian, neo-Marxian conflict restarch
  • students are able to discriminate between different approaches and theories in the peace and conflict studies.
  • students are able to use post-modern approaches and theories for the analysis of conflict behaviour instances
  • an understanding of the field's theoretical history, an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of prior research and theory, as well as a means to discover remaining theoretical questions
  • an understanding of the field's theoretical history, an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of prior research and theory, as well as a means to discover remaining theoretical questions.
  • To form students' understanding of the issues of social movements; - To generate ideas about the most important historical examples of social movements - the "classic" of the revolution, mass migration, and the crowd of fashion, social movements and revolutions of the 20th century, the role of the Internet in the development of social movements, etc.
  • To generate theoretical and conceptual competence as to the main paradigms, theories and concepts dealing with the subject of social movements and civil society
  • To develop the analytical skills for public discourse on the major issues of social movements; to promote the skills of the critical assessment of contemporary discourses on social movements
  • Students enrolled will acquire two sets of skills. The first of these skills will be gaining knowledge on the development of social movement theory. This includes an understanding of the field's theoretical history, an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of prior research and theory, as well as a means to discover remaining theoretical questions.
  • The second set of skills include attaining knowledge on the conduct of historical methods. This will be accomplished both by reading materials as well as through a guided research project. The reading materials will include both methodological pieces as well as empirical examples in the social movement literature
  • For each assigned reading, students are expected to understand and discuss the theoretical argument of each article and book chapter assigned on social movements. In addition to the theoretical argument, the students should know how each study collected and used the data available to support or refute social theory.
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Introduction I.
    The problem of definition. Conflict as action. Conflict, Peace/Consensus and Violence as the key categories for the ontology of Conflict. Tentative classification of social conflict.
  • Introduction II.
    Cultural violence and legitimation of conflict. Human needs and conflict classification. Cultures of Violence. Inequality and Conflict.
  • Classical Sociology on Conflict I.
    Hobbesian problem and counterfinality. Conflict as sociation in the formal sociology of Simmel. The rationalization of modern society and the conflict: M.Weber. Types of authority and charisma, conditions for the conflict groups’ formation.
  • Classical Sociology on Conflict II.
    Social Order and Conflict in R.Park’s Human ecology. Cultural conflict and Marginal Man. Conflict and Freedom. Functionalist version of Conflict – anomie, disfunction.
  • Modern Social Conflict I.
    Neo-functionalism: The new liberal program by R.Dahrendorf. imperatively coordinated associations. The power and authority as the main sources of conflict and social change. The legitimation and conflict: from quasi-groups to the conflict-groups. Modern social conflict: the dialectic of entitlements and provisions. Functions of conflict by L. Coser
  • Modern Social Conflict II.
    Neo-marxism. From the theory of class struggle and bipolar conflict to the idea of praxis. "Reification" reflection and "negative dialectics". Subjectivity and intersubjectivity. J. Habermas: structural transformation of the public sphere, the criticism of positivism, "the system" and the "life-world", the types of contemporary crises and conflicts.
  • Postmodern prospective on social conflict:
    Knowledge, power and violence; "Micropolitics" vs "subjectification", "counter-discourse" and "bio- resistance." Simulation, implosion and hyperreality; multiple forms of social control, power and conflict. Social entropy and death of conflict. Coda.
  • Introduction to Social Movements and Historical Sociology
    This thematic unit introduces the class to the basic principles of historical sociology and social movement research. The unit outlines a set of parameters that describe movement phenomenon, introduces case study research, and overviews historical social research. Students should be equipped to discuss which forms of agency constitute social movements, which ones do not, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of historical and case study research. Further, students should be expected to explain the suitability of such a research design when studying social movements
  • Political Context and Opportunity
    This thematic unit presents political explanations regarding movement activity. This unit also includes additional readings on theory and logic relating to historical research, continuing the prior thematic unit, yet presented alongside empirical research. Given the nature of political contexts vary greatly across nations, discussion should address matters such as generalizability and case selection. Additionally, students should learn the suitability of using quantitative data to study historical processes, the logic of case comparisons, and the historical developments of political opportunity theory
  • Resources and Organization
    This thematic unit tackles the concept of how social movements use resources to support their mobilization efforts. Further, it introduces the concept of Social Movement Organizations, a key component to mobilization. Discussion should include an evaluation as to the strengths and weaknesses of resource mobilization theory. Students should have a firm grasp on the implications of resource scarcity and competition on social movements. Further, students should understand the types of inferences from documents
  • Culture, Media, and Framing
    Discursive forms and venues constitute the basis of this thematic unit. These include the media, memory, and framing techniques. Students should consider the ways social movements reach broader audiences. Additionally, this unit should include a discussion regarding the historical contingencies of such means
  • Recruitment, Participation, and Collective Identity
    This thematic unit provides some answers for why and how people join (and stay) in social movements. It also includes one (optional) reading on oral history, as the method is well-suited for the topic. Discussion should consider how varying political contexts, historical legacies, and structural considerations affect one's propensity to join a protest or social movement organization. Students should also learn how narratives and social-psychological considerations affect movement engagement.
  • Protest in Institutions, Institutionalization, and Abeyance
    Social movements are not always demonstrating on the street. Also, social movements must adapt when as their circumstances change. This thematic unit considers the ways social movement organizations change form and activities. Discussion should consider the suitability of social movement theories under such circumstances as well as implications for other organizational forms
  • Political & Beneficiary Consequences
    This thematic unit addresses the pinnacle question of social movement impact on policy. Under what circumstances do movements have a role on policy? Discussion should consider what "success" means for a social movement and also the abilities and limitations of social movements to change the state
  • Infrastructure, Space, & Multi-Organizational Fields
    The thematic unit here questions how social movement organizations interact with each other, local infrastructure, and neighborhoods. What is the nature of social movements' relationship with their respective communities? Discussion should highlight which types of relationships encourage and impede collective action
  • Cultural, Economic, & Organizational Consequences
    For this thematic unit, the course will focus upon what consequences social movements have beyond policy. These include cultural, organizational, and economic changes that reflect movement activity. Discussion should bring up the precise mechanisms by which a movement may produce such outcomes. Further, what are the similarities and differences between the ways in which a movement affects the polity versus culture?
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking An essay
    Timing of delivery - an essay is to be handed over on completion of the course (date is to be determined) late for 2 days reduces the estimate of 0.5 (1.5) points, the delay of 4 days - 1 point (3 points), in the absence of the essay score is 0 points.
  • non-blocking Сurrent control: Classroom activities / Homework
    This portion is broken into four parts. The four parts include attendance, participation, responses to readings, and reactions to responses. Attendance will be taken each time the course meets and will account for ten percent of the final grade. "Participation" is a subjective assessment that includes responding to questions and asking insightful comments--it accounts for a total of ten percent of the final grade. Each of the course readings will require a student to give a brief response to it. This includes a synopsis, evaluation, and use for future research. These responses will be worth fifteen percent of the final grade. Lastly, students will be chosen at random to provide a reaction to the initial reading response. The purpose of this requirement is to build discussion in seminar. These reactions will account for fifteen percent of the final grade.Home task prepares for the work at seminars. It is referencing (and oral presentation of the abstract at a seminar) of the works studied in the course. The reviewed papers may be both taken from the attached to the program of the course reading list and to be proposed by the student. Homework can be presented both orally and in writing. In writing, homework is a summary of the original source with student’s "comments", made according to certain requirements (which are communicated to the students at the first seminar)
  • non-blocking oral exam
    The students are to answer 2 questions from the list (which is open to change)
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (4 module)
    0.5 * An essay + 0.1 * oral exam + 0.4 * Сurrent control: Classroom activities / Homework
Bibliography

Bibliography

Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Corrigall-Brown, C. (2012). Patterns of Protest : Trajectories of Participation in Social Movements. Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=713481
  • Gautney, H. (2012). Protest and Organization in the Alternative Globalization Era : NGOs, Social Movements, and Political Parties. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=479610

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Tufekci, Z. (2014). Social Movements and Governments in the Digital Age: Evaluating a Complex Landscape. Journal of International Affairs, 68(1), 1–18. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=bsu&AN=100052744
  • Vanden, H. E., Funke, P. N., & Prevost, G. (2017). The New Global Politics : Global Social Movements in the Twenty-First Century. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1481128