Universität Wien

240519 SE Social movements, protest, rebellion (P4) (2020W)

Continuous assessment of course work

Participation at first session is obligatory!

The lecturer can invite students to a grade-relevant discussion about partial achievements. Partial achievements that are obtained by fraud or plagiarized result in the non-evaluation of the course (entry 'X' in certificate). The plagiarism software 'Turnitin' will be used for courses with continuous assessment.


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


max. 20 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Update 3.11.2020: Due to the current Covid-19 Situation the course will change to digital till the end of the year.

Wednesday 07.10. 09:45 - 13:00 Hörsaal C, NIG 4. Stock
Wednesday 14.10. 09:45 - 13:00 Hörsaal C, NIG 4. Stock
Wednesday 21.10. 09:45 - 13:00 Hörsaal C, NIG 4. Stock
Wednesday 04.11. 09:45 - 13:00 Digital
Wednesday 11.11. 09:45 - 13:00 Digital
Wednesday 18.11. 09:45 - 13:00 Digital
Wednesday 25.11. 09:45 - 13:00 Digital


Aims, contents and method of the course

Why do people protest and organize to change the world around them? Why do some social movements succeed, while others fail? How do expressions of protest, ideas of change, means of action differ from place to place? This course will explore different manifestations of protest and resistance by taking under scrutiny socio-political developments across the globe. It aims at addressing the questions which are central to anthropological investigations of social movements and, more broadly, social mobilization and social change: individual and collective agency; political subjectivity; modes of action and organizational structures; group mobilization and processes of activist “habitus” formation; ideas of utopia, change, critique; perceptions of ideas of justice, deservingness, common good; universality vs particularism.

The course will begin with a critical overview of the theoretical frameworks that have long dominated in the study of social movements. It will then proceed by exploring various ethnographic works on social movements and the ways these works contribute to theory- building, not only providing novel ways of looking at and interpreting social activism but also contributing to anthropological theory more broadly. The ethnographic case-studies to be discussed will allow us to discuss a variety of issues: class, gender, ethnicity, religion as key-constituents of social protest and social action; impact of the discourse on women’s rights, human rights, environmentalism; socio-economic developments; transnational versus local movements; as well as different forms of protest and resistance, with the aim to problematize the dichotomic take on passivity/activism, submission/resistance, violence/non-violence. We will also reflect on the problem of bias in the study of social movements, interrogating why the analyses of “less sympathetic”, “non-progressive” movements and protests remain scarce.

Teaching techniques:

1) Discussions on the assigned readings and watched documentaries
2) Participant observation during a selected event (to be discussed in the class)
Writing (commentaries, fieldnotes, final paper)

Course format:
If possible, the class will take place in the classroom. If necessary, it will be carried out online or in the hybrid mode.

Assessment and permitted materials

- Attendance, participation in discussions, and an oral presentation (40 points)
- Notes from participant observation & analysis (20 points)
- Final research paper on a social movement (40 points)

Please, note that you need to gain at least one point for each tasks!

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

1 (sehr gut): 100-89 points
2 (gut): 88-76 points
3 (befriedigend): 75-63 points
4 (genügend): 62-50 points
5 (nicht genügend): 49-0 points

Examination topics

Reading list

Association in the course directory

Last modified: Fr 12.05.2023 00:21