On behalf of the development team of the Master of Arts—Integrated Studies program, I would like to welcome you to Global Studies 611: Social Movements, a course designed to provide you with an opportunity to develop a theoretical understanding of social movements, and to verify that understanding against empirical reality.
In recent years, as you may be aware, the study of social movement has emerged to be an area of crucial significance, not only to students of sociology, political science, history, economics, government and development studies, but also to policy planners and political leaders. Over the years, new perspectives have emerged to accommodate social movements in the social science discourses on social change, social transformation and social development. This course endeavours to develop an understanding of social movements in terms of various intellectual traditions, emerging concepts and theories by examining the contemporary literature. It also considers the various dimensions of social movements in the context of globalization, the resurgence of grass-roots mobilization, the formation of new identities among marginalized groups and the introduction of a new perspective on social development by the state. Besides analysing the phenomena of social movements, their dynamics and transformation, this course also presents several case studies as illustrations.
Social movements are not simply historical episodes. They are parts of the society in which they develop, and they are always there, providing a critique of the society—its structure, institutional arrangements, organizational setups and processes. You might be or have been a part of a social movement; you might have observed one or more social movements from close quarters; or you might have watched, from a distance, as one grew, manifested itself and became transformed over a period of time. This course will equip you with a social science perspective to comprehend the various dimensions of the social movements you may have participated in or observed. However, your personal experience is of great value, and you will be asked to share it as we work through the course.