BA History and Sociology

Year of entry: 2022

Course unit details:
Power and Protest

Unit code SOCY30462
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Sociology
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


The Conditions of Protest / The Basis of Movement Power / The Labour Movement and Trade Unions / New Social Movements / Anti-Globalisation movement / Political Participation and Apathy / From Collective Behaviour to Misbehaviour / Applying Perspectives to Violent Protest and Terrorism


This course introduces a range of perspectives for analysing social movements and protest. We look at competing perspectives drawn from the field of social movement studies and consider them in dialogue with case studies of actual movements. We look chronologically at key social movements, from the labour movement, to new social movements, and the anti-globalization movement, encountering debates about the relationship between labour, class, culture and protest. We then consider arguments about the levels and forms of protest in modern societies, from those who suggest that present generations are politically disengaged and 'apathetic', to those who suggest that protest has merely changed form from collective to more individualised practices. We end by looking at how well the theories we have encountered can account for 'ugly' social movements like terrorism.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit successful students will be able to:

- To understand a range of theories and perspectives for analysing protest and social movements
- To critically evaluate these theories and perspectives by investigating historical and contemporary examples of protests and social movements
- To relate levels and forms of protest to theories and debates about the nature of power in modern societies
- To develop your own approach and arguments through independent research

Teaching and learning methods

As a 3 hour weekly workshop, lecture-style material will be delivered weekly through a mix of up to one hour pre-recorded (i.e. asynchronous) content and one hour live (i.e. synchronous) lecturer-led classes. Additionally, weekly one hour small-group tutorials will be delivered on-campus as long as government guidelines allow, otherwise they will be delivered online.


Assessment methods


  • 1 non-assessed assignment (protest journal), 10 mark deduction for non-submission
  • 1 assessed coursework essay (3000 words, 50% of mark)
  • 1 online open book exam (2 hours / 2 answers, 1250 words per answer as guidance) 

Feedback methods


All sociology courses include both formative feedback – which lets you know how you’re getting on and what you could do to improve – and summative feedback – which gives you a mark for your assessed work.

Recommended reading

Crossley, N. (2002) Making Sense of Social Movements, Open University Press

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 2
Lectures 30
Independent study hours
Independent study 168

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Gemma Edwards Unit coordinator

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