Protest Movements and Democracy

POLS4402 Protest Movements and Democracy

-next taught Winter 2018-

In this seminar, we will explore protest movements and civil society activists and their role in democracy. We will examine key approaches in studying activism and analyze important case studies from across the globe. Our goals in this course are to a) gain an understanding of the most prominent competing explanations for collective action b) to consider together how protest impacts processes of democratization and established democracies c) to conduct research about movements that are of special interest to us. We will discuss questions such as:
What are protest movements and how do we study them?
Can protest movements bring about democratization?
Are protest movements good or bad for existing democracies?
How democratic do movements’ tactics need to be?
Does democratic organization matter?
Is transnational activism more democratic? Less? More effective?
Can covert action (individual or collective) lead to more democracy?