Spring 2022 - POL 121 D100

Political Engagement: From the Streets to the Ballot Box (3)

Class Number: 5044

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 8:30 AM – 10:20 AM
    AQ 5037, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 12, 2022
    11:59 PM – 11:59 PM
    TAKE HOME-EXAM, Burnaby



An introduction to political action and behaviour. Politics involves the struggle for power and influence. Nowhere is this more evident than when individuals mobilize and engage in political action, whether in a revolution to overthrow an authoritarian regime, protesting on the street against the government, or voting on Election Day. Breadth-Humanities/Social Sciences.


Course Description:

This course has two goals. First it equips students with tools to understand political participation from both a theoretical and empirics perspective. Second, it also helps students develop the capacity to act as engaged citizens themselves. To that end, we answer a number of broad questions related to crucial aspects of political behaviour and citizenship. How do citizens participate, and what are some of the major changes that have recently transpired in terms of citizens' (and non-citizens') engagement with their governments? Why have these changes taken place? In particular will be investigating contemporary political phenomena including explanations for voter turnout and its decline, the rise of protest politics, and the spread of online engagement.


Likewise, we will look at variations in participation across countries, and across types of engagement. Why does political participation and engagement look so different in various parts of the world? For example, why have large-scale anti-system demonstrations appeared in some countries and not others in recent years? To answer this question, we will be investigating some of the political, social, and cultural factors that shapes the opportunities and constraints for political engagement both in Canada and abroad, at multiple levels of government.

Course Format:

The two hours of lecture and one hour of tutorial will include a mixture of lecture, group discussions, in-class assignments and audio-visual content. By the conclusion of the course, students will have both the tools to understand different types of political engagement, and to themselves be active citizens in their polity.


  • Participation 10%
  • Major project proposal 5%
  • Take-home Midterm 20%
  • Critical essay 15%
  • Major project group and individual submissions 20%
  • Final exam (Date & location TBD) 30%



Dalton, Russell J. Citizen Politics: Public Opinion and Political Parties in Advanced Industrial Democracies - Seventh Edition. CQ Press: Washington DC, 2019. ISBN-13: 978-1544351780
ISBN: 978-1544351780

Department Undergraduate Notes:

The Department of Political Science strictly enforces a policy on plagiarism.

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


Teaching at SFU in spring 2022 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with safety plans in place.  Some courses will still be offered through remote methods, and if so, this will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the spring 2022 term.