Politics is often about conflict, but sometimes that conflict takes place within legislative bodies and other times in the streets. Most of what we study in political science courses focuses on conflict within the electoral framework, but this course asks what happens when citizens take conflict into their own hands. It asks : How are people mobilised into potentially dangerous activism and how do state responses (such as heavy-handed policing) affect them? What role do social movements play in political protests and how are they affected by long-term structural changes?
This module will examine the conditions that prompt people to organize on behalf of their collective interests, how protest movements evolve and under what conditions they succeed. The goal is to use the scientific method to move beyond specific examples and, ultimately, understand the broader causes, strategies, and consequences of protests. Following the module, students will be able to see protests through an analytical lens that allows them to look past the noise and media frenzy.