Skip to main content

Unit information: Political Protest in the US and UK in 2015/16

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Political Protest in the US and UK
Unit code SPAI30020
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Evans
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

There has been a resurgence of interest in political protest in both the US and UK in recent years; this unit offers an important opportunity to consider the ways in which political protest is undertaken and the context and conditions under which protest occurs. The unit combines empirical and theoretical analysis to explore various modes of protest and considers the extent to which protest movements in the US and UK can be deemed ‘successful’. The course analyses protest movements and so-called ‘protest’ political parties in order to better appreciate the various ways in which political protest occurs. The unit will draw upon a wide range of protest movements and students will be encouraged to develop their own awareness of current political protests in order to understand current debates concerning the response of states to the policing of protest movements.

Unit aims:

  1. To extend the breadth of students’ knowledge of political protest in the US and UK;
  2. To provide both a theoretical and empirically based understanding of US and UK protest movements and parties
  3. To develop the ability to apply theoretical concepts to the context and conditions under which we might judge US and UK protest movements to be ‘successful’

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the unit, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an ability to understand and apply social movement theory to political protest;
  2. Show an understanding of the conditions in which political protest emerges;
  3. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the impact of political protest on societal attitudes and formal political institutions;
  4. Demonstrate ability to locate and use various data sources and to apply these analytically in relation to political protest in the US and UK

Teaching Information

One hour lecture and two hour seminar per week

Assessment Information

Class presentation (10%) 2000 word essay (90%) Both assessments assess all learning outcomes.

Reading and References

  • Donatella della Porta and Mario Diani (2006), Social Movements. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Sidney Tarrow (1998) Power in Movement: Social Movements and Contentious Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Manuel Castells, (2012) Networks of Outrage and Hope: Social Movements in the Internet Age: London: Polity
  • W. van de Donk (ed) (2004) Cyberprotest. New Media, Citizens and Social movements. London: Routledge