Global Studies (GLST) 611

Social Movements (Revision 3)

GLST 611 Course Cover

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Delivery Mode: Individualized-Study

Credits: 3

Course Author: Debal SinghaRoy is from Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi, where he coordinates a diploma programme in Women's Empowerment and Development, course on Social Problems in India and also MA programme in Sociology (under development).

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Program: Master of Arts Interdisciplinary Studies

**Note: Students in Group Study courses are advised that this syllabus may vary in key details in each instance of the course. Always refer to the Moodle site for the most up-to-date details on texts, assignment structure, and grading.**


In recent years, as you may be aware, the study of social movement has emerged to be an area of crucial significance not only to the students of sociology, political sciences, history economics, government and development studies but also among the policy planners and political leaders. Over the years new perspectives have emerged both to understand and accommodate social movement in the social science discourses on social change, social transformation and social development. This course endeavours to develop an understanding of social movement in terms of various intellectual traditions, emerging concepts and theories of social movements by examining the contemporary literatures. It also examines the various dimensions of social movements in the context of globalization, resurgence of grass roots mobilization, formation of new identities among the marginalised groups and introduction of a new perspective on social development by the state. Besides analyzing the phenomena of social movements, their dynamics and transformation this course will also present several case studies as illustrations to the specificity of these movements.

Course Structure

This course is divided into three interrelated thematic Blocks. These Blocks are again divided into some Units. A brief description of these Blocks are given below:


This is the introductory block of this course. It will clarify not only the conceptual issues of social movements but also delineate the on going discourse on the various dimensions of social movements. The conceptual schemes to categorize social movements and to explicate the transformation of these movements are also discussed in this block. Besides distinguishing between old and the new social movements, this block also discusses the issues of identity and autonomy of social movements. The significance interface between social movements, social change and social transformation is also discussed here.


This block deals with some of the selected social movements, which have been manifested throughout the globe cutting across the boundary of the class, community and the nation state. This led to the globalisation of the culture of resistance against age-old structure of sub-ordination and internationalization of various concerns of humanity. In broad sense these movements have emerged to be critics of the state and the civil society in the post World War II period and many of these movements have acquired institutionalized status and have been part of new social movements. There are four units in this Block. The anti colonial movements, black civil rights movement, green peace movement and women's movements are dealt with in this Block.


In this Block we will present case studies especially from the developing parts of the world to show how the global concerns have been accommodated in the processes of collective mobilizations. As students of social movements you would be interested to see how in the wake of globalization the localized issues are articulated for organized collective actions. Is there any linkage between the localized initiate and the global culture? How the local issues and actions are articulated in the globalized world? The illustrations of the workers, peasant, ecological and the marginalised groups movements would provide deep insights to these questions.

Course Objectives

This course aims to

  1. Explain the concepts and perspectives on social movements,
  2. Discuss the origins, ideologies, organizations, leaderships of social movements
  3. Describes the processes of change and transformations in social movements
  4. Elaborate the issues of new collective identities and the emerging patterns of collective mobilizations in the social movements
  5. Examine the distinctions between the old and new social movements,
  6. Narrate the processes of globalisation and internationalization of social movements, and
  7. Explain the various specificity of localized issues in the social movements based on selected illustrations.


For the completion of this course students will be required to complete two assignments and clear a final examination.

Assignment 1 aims to assess the theoretical and cognitive understanding of the students on the relevant issues of social movements. Towards this endeavour students will write the review of literature on the selected topic as suggested by the tutor. The length of this assignment will be roughly around 2500 words. The details of such topics will be provided in the student's course guide. This Assignment will have 30% weightage of the total marks.

Assignment 2 aims to relate the theoretical and cognitive understanding with the reality. For this Assignment relevant topics will be worked out through interaction between the student and the course instructor. The length of this Assignment will be around 2500 words and will be worth of 30% of the total marks.

Final Exam: It is compulsory for the students to complete all assignments. To complete the course successfully students will have to secure a minimum grade of 60% mark in all the Assignments and in the final exam. The final exam will be on the entire course and will have 40% weightage of the total marks.

The following would be the part of the Student Evaluation:

  1. On line participation in the group discussion centering on the questions listed at the end of each of the units.
  2. Completion of two Assignments. Assignment 1 given at the end of the Study commentary. Assignment 2 would be formulated after our group discussion.
  3. Term end examination.

Course Materials


  • Chandra, B. 1996. Indian National Movement: The Long term Dynamics. Vikas Publishing House; New Delhi
  • Desai, Ar. R. Social Background of Indian Nationalism. Popular Publication: Bombay.
  • Singharoy, D.K. 2004 Peasant Movements in Post Colonial India: Dynamics of Mobilisation and Identity. Sage Publication: New Delhi.

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 11, 2007.