SO5001 - Activism, Resistance and Social Change

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What will I learn on this module?

On this module you will explore the ways individuals and communities come together to challenge injustice and inequalities. The module is particularly concerned with the ways ordinary people try to challenge and resist the powerful and develop more just ways of organising society. You will critically explore both contemporary and historical ways of understanding and theorising activism and resistance, including studying individuals such as Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and M.K. Gandhi. A variety of case study examples will be examined each year, such as analysing anti-war demonstrations, anti-corporate activism and boycotts, environmental activism, trade union organising, new social movements, and diverse forms of feminist activism, as well as exploring campaigns such as Make Poverty History and the Occupy movement. You will analyse how and why people choose to take stand and what impact it has on them, as well as exploring different strategies of protest and resistance, such as violent and non-violent protest, activism via social media, and creativity as a form of activism and resistance. Cutting across North-South boundaries, you will engage with both UK and international examples to analyse the extent to which individuals and communities have been able to challenge the powerful, and the impacts this has had both immediately, and over time.

How will I learn on this module?

You will participate in a mix of lectures and workshop activities, including role-plays, whole group discussion, small group activities, research tasks, group presentations, and debates. The module will draw on a range of resources, including films and other media, both contemporary and historical. You will be expected to read identified key texts in advance of each workshop to enable participatory discussion. You will be asked to bring in contemporary examples of activism from the media and the internet to support class activities and discussions.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

You will be supported by the teaching team through seminars and Blackboard, supplemented by one to one tutorials and email. You will be given contact details and office hours for the teaching team to enable them to book tutorials and ask questions by email.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding
1. You will be able to critically analyse historical and contemporary concepts of activism, resistance and social change, and the changing social, political, economic and cultural contexts in which different forms of activism take place

2. You will be able to draw upon relevant Sociological theory to understand and analyse different examples of activism and resistance

Intellectual / Professional skills and abilities

1. You will be able to select the appropriate tools for analysing and comparing different forms and strategies of resistance, and the impacts of activism across different sectors of society.

2. You will be able to select and analyse a range of diverse resources including media, film, NGO reports, and internet resources, to enable you to engage critically with activism and resistance.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA)

1. You will develop a critical and comparative understanding of diverse examples of activism across the global North and South

How will I be assessed?

You will submit a summative 1,500 word annotated bibliography in week 7, and a summative 2,000 word written essay in week 12, in response to a question/s provided in the Module Guide and discussed within the workshops. Extensive assessment advice will be provided in the Module Guide, on the e-learning portal and during lectures/workshops.

Formative assessment will include small group presentations presenting a research task undertaken in the workshop, and peer assessment of an essay plan.





Module abstract

Please find details of this module in the other sections provided.

Course info

UCAS Code L300

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Social Sciences

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2020

Fee Information

Module Information

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