nl en

Social Movements


This course can be followed as part of the BA specialisation “Global Connections”
(onderdeel BA Culturele Antropologie en Ontwikkelingssociologie)

Admission requirements

Only the following categories of students can register for this course:

  • Students enrolled for the BA programme “Culturele antropologie en ontwikkelingssociologie” at Leiden University who have passed the Propedeuse

  • Exchange and Study Abroad students

Please see the registration procedure below.


Social movements and collective action have emerged in close connection with the development of structural inequalities, marginalization and exclusion on the one hand and the ideas of rights, social justice and entitlements, on the other. Different groups and organizations have built platforms of solidarity and mobilization to make claims and express their grievances targeting either the state or capital or international institutions. If in the past social movements or collective action have emerged and concentrated protest within nation-states or colonial states, with the increasing interconnectedness of different locations and social spaces, hierarchically or vertically, currently social movements have attained global dimensions.

This course consists of the following topics:

  • Ethnographic/historic examples: Civil Rights Movement, 1960s movements, contemporary movements against multilateral organizations and climate change and movement responses to the financial crisis.

  • Upscaling and downscaling – linking the global and the local: UN Conventions, International Organizations and local movements

  • Commodity chains and the nodes of social protest – linking consumers and the producers: Fair Trade Coffee and the politics of coffee planters, peasants and workers. Anti Smoking Lobby and cigarette production

  • The politics of representation – the leaders and the masses: Indigenous peoples and the tribal slot. Trade unions, labour activism and factory workers

  • Cultures of protest – (the framing): Symbols, embodiment and emotions; appropriation and contestation

  • Sexuality and social protest – (the issue): Feminist, Gay and lesbian movements

Course objectives

This course will prepare students to examine and discuss social movements as part of global processes but also as being locally embedded. It will look at how local action is ‘externalized’ to become part of global action; and how global social movements are internalized; and how meanings change as politics of contention experience shifts in scale. By concentrating on specific cases students will learn to analyze the interconnection between cultural, political and social dimensions of social movements. The course also provides grounding in the key theoretical debates generated within different disciplines in the social sciences and the contribution of anthropology to these debates.


Thursdays 14-17 h, September 9 – December 2, 2010 (no lecture on October 28)
Room 6C03, Pieter de la Court Building

Mode of instruction

Total 10 ECTS = 280 study hours (sbu):

  • lectures (12×1h) 18 sbu

  • group discussions (12×2h=24 h) 48 sbu

  • literature and the corresponding AQCI’s (600 pages) 100 sbu

  • paper (12-13 pp = 6000 words) 80 sbu

  • presentation 34 sbu

Assessment method

  • active participation in class discussion

  • weekly AQCI assignments

  • final paper


Blackboard module will be active from the 25 August and wil be used for posting the reading list, assignments and other course related information.
Students who have been granted admission must register for this course on Blackboard.

Reading list

Selection of journal articles, to be announced through Blackboard.


  • Studenten CA-OS: inschrijving mogelijk via het secretariaat CA-OS, kamer 3A19, tel. 5273469, e-mail:, tussen 1 juli en 20 augustus 2010.

  • Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply for the exchange programme

Contact information

Dr. Marianne Maeckelbergh: []( ;) room nr. 3A27 (Pieter de la Court Building)
Dr. Ratna Saptari: []( ;room) nr.3A33 (Pieter de la Court Building)