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Unit information: Politics of Rebellion in 2021/22

Unit name Politics of Rebellion
Unit code POLI30038
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Rossdale
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

Revolutions and political resistance form the context for many of the major political, economic and social transformations in global history. The events of the past decade have suggested that this is unlikely to change in the future. These multitudinous rebellions, and the social movements that drive them, are a source of hope and progress and yet also frequently sites of violence and failure. This module explores the politics of rebellion. It introduces students to a variety of theoretical and conceptual tools through which we explore why rebellions emerge and how we might account for their successes and failures. Through a series of case studies including historical and ongoing Black liberation struggles in the US, the Indian independence movement, and contemporary movements in South Africa, Hong Kong and globally with Extinction Rebellion, we also consider the ethics, tactics and strategies of rebellion.


- To introduce students to central theories and concepts for understanding rebellion
- To explore key debates surrounding the ethics, tactics and strategies of rebellion
- To apply these theories, concepts and debates to historical and contemporary case studies
- To reflect on how starting with rebellion reshapes our wider understanding of global politics

Intended Learning Outcomes

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

  • Understand, evaluate and mobilise key theoretical frameworks for understanding the politics of rebellion.
  • Demonstrate substantive knowledge of the historical developments, political antagonisms and social processes through which people rebel
  • Reflect critically on central concepts associated with rebellion, such as resistance, revolution, disobedience, protest and social movements
  • Identify and engage in substantive debates about the ethics, tactics and strategies of rebellion
  • Demonstrate key skills in evaluating and constructing arguments, applying concepts to case studies, and conducting independent research

Teaching Information

The unit will be taught through blended learning methods, including a mix of synchronous and asynchronous teaching activities

Assessment Information

1,500 word essay (25%) 3,500 word essay (75%)

Both essays test all learning outcomes


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. POLI30038).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.