Spring 2016 - SA 321 J100

Social Movements (S) (4)

Class Number: 1982

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 5 – Apr 11, 2016: Thu, 5:30–9:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    SA 101 or 150 or 201W.



A study of the sources, development and effects of social movements in transitional and modernized societies. Specific types of movements will be analysed.


This course provides students with the theoretical tools necessary for the study of contemporary social movements. We will consider non-statist forms of political activism that reflect radical, antiauthoritarian, and democratic commitments. The course will be structured in two parts. In Part I we will devote attention to social movement theory as the grounds from which to grasp social movements and the nature of activism in postmodern and postindustrial society. Specifically, we will consider the way in which Richard J. F. Day’s postanarchist theory attempts to account for the current trends in activism. In Part II we will apply Day’s postanarchism in order to consider how social movements respond to multiple forms of oppression (sexism, racism, class inequality, colonialism, etc.) by turning our attention to specific case studies of such social movements as Occupy, Idle No More!, Black Lives Matter, Animal Liberation Front, No One is Illegal, and many more.


Course Goals:  

  • Grasp the key tenets of social movement and postanarchist theory 
  • Identify the characteristics of contemporary social movements 
  • Examine social movements and the role they play in the complex dynamics of social change 
  • Apply social movement theory to various types of contemporary social movements


  • Attendance & Participation 20%
  • Presentation 20%
  • Research Assignment 60%


All graded assignments in this course must be completed for a final grade other than N to be assigned.    

Academic Dishonesty and Misconduct Policy
The Department of Sociology and Anthropology follows SFU policy in relation to grading practices, grade appeals (Policy T 20.01) and academic dishonesty and misconduct procedures (S10.01‐ S10.04).  In graded written assignments you must cite the sources you rely on and include a bibliography/list of references, following an instructor-approved citation style.  It is the responsibility of students to inform themselves of the content of SFU policies available on the SFU website: http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student.html. 



Day, Richard. J. F. 2005. Gramsci Is Dead: Anarchist Currents in the Newest Social Movements. Toronto: Between the Lines.

Custom Courseware, “Social Movements,” compiled by J. Burkowicz. 

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://students.sfu.ca/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