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Spring 2019
Aug 15, 2020
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SOCI 155 - Social Movements
Most of our behavior takes place in the context of the ordinary and the day-to-day, the “institutional” in sociological terms.  Some behavior, though, is distinctively “other,” comprising what sociologists have jointly termed the topic of collective behavior and social movements: crowd behavior, crazes (violent and otherwise), riots, social reform movements, religious revival and millenarian movements, popular uprisings and rebellions, and revolutionary movements.  In this course we will deal with a broad sampling of these forms, even if our focus will mainly be on social resistance movements of a wide variety. Our main goal is to try to begin to make some theoretical sense of those unusual patterns of human behavior.  We will try to see how such activities are far from being merely spontaneous or explosive expressions of humanity’s psychological foundations, seeing them rather in terms of the social structures in which we are imbedded, the cultural standards by which we judge behavior (our own and others’), and the processes by which both structures and cultures are transformed.  Out of those more routine patterns of existence do the extraordinary patterns of “disorder” emerge.  We are interested especially in the origins of such varied collective activities -- including who joins and what joiners believe in and under what conditions these movements spring up – yet we are also interested in the outcomes of such movements and collective actions, including responses from the state and any goals that are (or are not) achieved.  Among the specific empirical topics we will study are violent crazes, including witch hunts and lynchings; the social bases and processes of riots, especially in the United States, but also in Europe and elsewhere; some religious(-based) movements; an even wider variety of social movements that usually target the state in seeking the extension of new -- or the protection of old -- political, economic, and social rights; a special subset of such movements, transnational in their structures and reactive to globalization in their central beliefs; and some rural social movements in the Third World, including revolutionary ones.  Please note that, despite a great deal of reading about the United States, past and present, this course is not “about” the United States only, but it is featured because it is so well studied and has such a rich history of collective behavior and social movements that we can come to think about in a systematic way.

3.000 Credit hours
3.000 Lecture hours
0.000 Lab hours

Levels: Undergraduate
Schedule Types: Lecture

Sociology Department

Course Attributes:
Mean Grade is Calculated

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