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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

David Pettinicchio
SOC 247
Seattle Campus

Contemporary Social Movements

Introduction to theory and research on national-level collective mobilizations organized for political change. Emphasis on how political, organizational, and cultural factors shape social movement emergence and development, and individual participation.

Class description

This course is designed to provide an introduction and survey of current theoretical and empirical questions in the study of social movements and collective action. The course is divided into three parts. We first begin with classical perspectives on participation in collective action and transition to more current explanations as to the reasons individuals participate in social movements. The second part of the course introduces theoretical and empirical questions about the nature of organizations within social movements. Students will become familiar with the dominant resource mobilization perspective in social movements, as well as criticisms of the perspective and alternative explanations. The third section deals with the role of structural or contextual factors on social movements and collective action. Here, students will be introduced to political process theory in the study of social movements. In Part four, we examine current issues in social movements, including Proposition 8, immigration protests, and the Tea Party Movement. We conclude the class by examining the role of social movements in wider politics and how movements work in conjunction with other political variables to bring about social change.

Student learning goals

Learn main theories in social movements

Be able to critique theories

Apply movement research to contemporary movements

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

SOC 110 but not required

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by David Pettinicchio
Date: 09/21/2011