Social and Political Movements - Interests, Identities, and Action
and political movements have played such a big role over the last century that place
names have often been filled with their meanings. We remember the Winter Palace & the
Bolsheviks; Berlin & the Nazis; Birmingham, Montgomery & the civil
rights movement; Paris May 1968 and radical student movements; Teheran and
Islamic revolution; Gdansk, Berlin & the end of Communism; Johannesburg
& the end of apartheid; and Oklahoma City & the ultraright. In 2012 new names signify movements whose results
are uncertain: Tahir Square, Tea Party, OWS, and more.
Movements raise issues and
redefine older ones. They generate new
actors and help found new states. From labor to citizenship to religion to
family, social and political movements have been influential. Though it is hard to know what movements will arise next, we can
presume that there are more movements to come.
Even in 2008 few people expected the current movements about
authoritarian regimes (Egypt), economic inequality (including OWS), or statism
We will focus on major political and
social movements in the 20th and 21st centuries, with
special interest in recent and ongoing movements. We look at movements that have made a
difference. (This means an acceptable
degree of bias - sometimes movements did not appear or gain enough strength to
shape outcomes.) The aim is to generate
insights and hypotheses – the ‘somewhere’ one starts is with actual movements,
including these efforts:
movements in market societies.
movements in interwar Europe and their successors.
civil rights movement in the United States and its successors.
against authoritarian regimes, such as in Poland and in South Africa.
and nationalist movements.
radical student movements of Western Europe and North America in the 1960s and
movements engaged many people as activists and supporters. They were forceful and sustained. They tried to change values and
institutions. We will consider the main theoretical
perspectives and we will try to get beyond what is on offer.
course is open to M.A. and Ph.D. students in Politics and other NSSR
Departments. The primary course work is
a paper focused on a significant movement, including movements in progress.