Fall 2019 - IS 339 E100

Social Movements in the Global South (4)

Class Number: 7918

Delivery Method: In Person

Overview

  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 5:30 PM – 9:20 PM
    HCC 2540, Vancouver

  • Instructor:

    Gerardo Otero
    otero@sfu.ca
    778-782-4508
    Office: HC 7248
    Office Hours: Tuesday 3:30-5:15pm and Friday 2:00-3:30pm or by appointment.
  • Prerequisites:

    45 units.

Description

CALENDAR DESCRIPTION:

Examines the nature, activities, and effects of social movements across the Global South. Uses an interdisciplinary approach to explore how social movements shape and respond to political, economic, and social transformation. Considers their relationship with political parties, states, and media and assesses the conditions under which movements emerge and succeed. Students who have taken IS 419 or IS 329 with this topic may not take this course for further credit.

COURSE DETAILS:

This course will address the relevance and dynamics of social movements for state and civil society relations in the context of the Global South. It revolves around the following questions: Where do social conflicts originate? How do they translate into collective action and social movements? How do people become organized to struggle for their interests through collective action? How can we assess the outcome of social mobilization? What does the experience of the South tell us about the inner workings of social movements? Students will be introduced to key theories of social mobilization, mostly generated in North America and Europe (relative deprivation and strain models, resource mobilization, political process, framing, contentious politics, new social movements and Marxism), although some of these have been critiqued, modified or enhanced with empirical work and visions from the South (including oppressed and exploited people in the geographic North). Our weekly seminars will allow us to delve more deeply into these theories through structured discussions and documentary excerpts. Several issues –e.g. working-class mobilization, urban mobilization, environmental activism, peasant and indigenous movements, gender activism, citizenship rights, revolutions, terrorism, and ethnicity – will be addressed in the context of the South (including China and Russia). Weekly seminars will consist of a combination of lectures, seminar discussions of assigned readings, and documentaries. Lectures will only provide the historical and conceptual background for in-class case study discussions on readings, documentaries or current-news articles. The last two weeks of the class will be devoted to student presentations of a draft of their final research essays. They will organize in groups of 4, with each group preparing presentations on a single social movement. Each group participant will offer an interpretation based on a different theory of social movements of their choice while agreeing on the main empirical elements of the movement. In principle, students with an even-numbered SFU i.d. will present in Week 12 and those with an odd-numbered i.d. will present in Week 13. The final research essay will integrate some of the required course readings with the analysis of a specific social movement in the South.

Weekly seminars will consist of a combination of lectures, seminar discussions of assigned readings, and documentaries. Lectures will only provide the historical and conceptual background for in-class case study discussions on readings, documentaries or current-news articles. The last two weeks of the class will be devoted to student presentations of a draft of their final research essays. In principle, students with an even-numbered SFU i.d. will present in Week 12 and those with an odd-numbered i.d. will present in Week 13. If we have a numbers imbalance, we’ll do voluntary adjustments. The final research essay will integrate some of the required course readings with the analysis of a specific social movement in the South.

COURSE-LEVEL EDUCATIONAL GOALS:

Students will finish the course with an intermediate-level knowledge of the conditions under which social movements emerge, succeed, and often fail. They will acquire a broad range of conceptual and analytical tools for examining social movements across a diverse range of countries. Students will also learn how to use those concepts to understand and report on a case study of their choice with analytical acumen.

This seminar has several learning goals beyond the substantive topic of its title, as follows:

Critical synthesis. One of the main abilities that any university student must acquire is to gather, classify, analyze and synthesize large amounts of information. Information is usually abundant, so what you need to develop is the ability to process it in a coherent way. For graduate students, this ability will become critical when writing their extended essays, theses or dissertations. Undergraduate students will also greatly benefit from this exercise, whether they are planning to do graduate studies or move straight into the world of work. Most assignments in this course are geared to enhance the ability for critical synthesis, which is essential in the knowledge economy or in further study. 

Participation and group interaction. Most settings in the world of work will involve discussion, dialogue, debate and group interaction. Fruitfully interacting with other students is a skill to be learned or developed, and so is moderation of group discussion. Our group discussions will also involve that each student will take on different roles in each seminar, which shall be rotated weekly among group members: moderator, chooses questions, introduces readings, and coordinates discussion, making sure that no two people speak at one time and that everyone gets a fair share of time to contribute; timekeeper, makes sure that discussion is flowing at an adequate pace to finish the assignment on time; participation encourager, makes sure that everyone in the group contributes in some way to the discussion; concept clarifier, checks the readings as needed to make sure that the group is properly understanding the key concepts under discussion; and reporter to class, records the names of group participants and keeps minutes of the discussion with a view to give a summary of conclusions to the entire class, and hand in an outline of the group’s discussion with the names of participants to professor. When a group must function with four people only, the roles of moderator and timekeeper will be merged.

Presentation skills. A presentation of about 3-4 minutes using power point with no more than about 4 slides, assuming that you take a minute per slide, will be done in the last class. Technical guidelines: Each slide should not contain more than 3-5 lines, with no more than 3-4 words per line, always using a 36-point font in the main text and 44 points for slide titles. If you use pictures or images, then shorten text within those slides or leave them without a text. Refrain from attempting to show dense figures or charts with too much content and small fonts: your audience will not be able to read them, so it is futile and would only make your presentation look bad – and lose points! Feel free to send me a draft ppt at least 24 hours prior to the presentation for feedback. Content guidelines: (1) Introduce your topic, why you were interested in the topic you chose to focus on, its relevance and, for graduate students, how it relates to your essays, thesis or dissertation’s research question, if applicable. This should not take more than 1 minute. (2) Go over the main theoretical positions in which the central book you chose to focus on is inserted and what is the author’s position in the debate. What is your own position in this debate and with respect to the book’s author (1 minute). (3) Briefly describe the empirical evidence used by the author as it relates to the debate and/or to your own stance (1 minute) (4) Finally, what are your main conclusions? (1 minute).

Theory and practice. Most of the books that we will be reading for this class will have theoretical, methodological and historical components. Your task in small group discussion will be to put some of the main concepts to work, to illustrate the methodology, or update the substantive historical content of each week’s readings. To do this, the weekly discussion may be supplemented with the reading of a current-news article published in a major newspaper (e.g., The New York Times, The Guardian, The Globe and Mail) in the 600-800 words range. I will likely be building an article bank and post it on Canvas for this purpose. Ideally, such article will be closely related to the week’s theme, preferably on the country discussed in the readings. The article will be posted on Canvas at least 24 hours before our class and you will be notified via a Canvas announcement. The small group will spend 5-10 minutes reading the news article and then 20 minutes establishing the relationship with major concepts and themes from the readings. We will then spend another 20 minutes in general class discussion to better understand both the substantive issues involved in the current-news article and the concepts used for their analysis.

Grading

  • Five Discussion Papers (one every other week, 5% each) 25%
  • Responses 10%
  • Final Paper Outline 5%
  • Essay Draft Presentation 10%
  • Participation 15%
  • Final Review Essay 35%

NOTES:

Students will be required to submit their written assignments to Turnitin.com in order to receive credit for the assignments and for the course.

The School for International Studies strictly enforces the University's policies regarding plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty. Information about these policies can be found at: http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/teaching.html.

Materials

REQUIRED READING:

Steven M. Buechler, Understanding Social Movements: Theories from the Classical Era to the Present, Routledge, 2011 (no purchase required).

Plus articles available on Canvas – see weekly schedule.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY: YOUR WORK, YOUR SUCCESS