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SOC 3314: Social Movements

This course studies collective attempts to address social injustices and implement other social change in and across societies. Students will explore the sociological and interdisciplinary conceptions of social movements and their relationships to society. Topics covered will include: social movement emergence and development; engagement with opponents and authorities, and the impact of that engagement; mobilizing structures and processes; framing; collective identity; strategy and tactics; and other factors. Students will also discuss how social movements oppose or promote inequality, oppression, or violence in the U.S. and elsewhere, at the local, national, and transnational levels.

Why take it?

This course addresses a fundamental question in sociology: what accounts for societal and cultural stability and change over time. Social movements enable people to exercise agency to promote or resist social change, especially by groups lacking institutionalized power. This course not only covers social movement theories and empirical research on social movements, but also theory and research that apply to other social issues and problems, such as social inequalities, human rights, and social/environmental injustices. Students’ lives have been and will continue to be affected by these issues and by the movements that arise in response to them. Having the sociological skills necessary for understanding and analyzing social movements will benefit students far beyond the classroom.

SOC 2034 fulfills an elective in the Housing and Society and Peace Studies and Social Justice Pathways minor.


Prerequisite: SOC 1004

This course fulfills Pathways requirements in Reasoning in the Social Sciences, Critical Analysis of Identity and Equity in the United States, and Intercultural and Global Awareness.