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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online
Area of Study: Social Science
Prerequisite: There are no prerequisites for Communications Studies 385. However, it is recommended that students have at least one previous course in sociology, such as SOCI 348 Sociology of Environment and Health.
Precluded Course: CMNS 385 is a cross-listed course—available in two disciplines—with SOCI 378. (CMNS 385 may not be taken for credit by students who have obtained credit in SOCI 378.)
Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences
Communication Studies home page
CMNS 385 is not available for challenge.
CMNS 385 explores the causes of social movements. These causes include both the negatives—that is, the pressing social, economic, and environmental (and other) injustices that have caused social movements over history to protest—and the positives—those being the “worthy” causes—or the alternatives and answers that social movements posit to correct these injustices. Course readings, resources, and assignments give attention to a range of social movement causes in history and in contemporary times, in theory and in practice, and in relation to developments in popular culture.
The course begins with an overview of the origins of social movements as a distinct form of public politics. Rooted deep in history, social movements have evolved over time to constitute an enduring feature of popular culture in democratic and democratizing societies. We learn about a range of theories and methodologies for studying social movements and apply these toward explaining how movements have changed over time and ways that they have contributed to positive social change directly or, more broadly, through creation of contexts and social relations that facilitate democratization of cultures, governance, and economic activities that, in fact, impact everyone’s lives.
Course readings consist of articles written by scholars, activists, and artists, along with videos by documentary film makers and musicians. The readings and course activities examine specific cases of social movement activism and explain, with reference to a range of cases and concepts, how and why activists mobilize, campaign, communicate demands, and impact learning and change at different levels, including in policy and popular culture. The course is premised on the recognition of social movements as important contributors to democratization, both in theory and in practice, in history and today. As such, we focus on the development of social movements as they seek to make change using peaceful (though not always quiet) means.
CMNS 385 is presented in five units:
Your final grade in CMNS 385 is based on the grades you achieve on the following graded elements: five critical commentaries (one per unit), a research proposal, a literature review, and a final examination. To receive credit for the course, you must achieve a minimum grade of D (50 percent) on the final examination and a minimum overall course grade of D (50 percent).
To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.
All required materials for this course, including readings and films, can be found online.
Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.
Opened in Revision 3, April 9, 2019.
Updated October 24, 2019 by Student & Academic Services