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State-Social Movements relations in the Andean Region


Admission requirements

The course is open to students of the MA and Res.MA Latin American Studies. This course is open to students from other Master programmes who have a good command of the Spanish language, or students with a passive command of the Spanish but a good command of Portuguese.


In the last decades the Latin American region has seen the proliferation and empowerment of social movements, ranging from the Zapatista Movement in Mexico in 1994 to the more recent social protests in Brazil, the Student Movement in Chile and ‘#’ movements such as #NiUnaMenos and #YoSoy132. A diversity of social movements have come to the forefront of social protest at the local, national and supranational level, with real incidence in the political arena. Contrary to early conceptualizations of ‘new’ social movements, the Latin American experiences show a clear political role of these actors. This points to the important relation with State as the focal point of their struggle, and the ways in which social movements act as channels for citizen political participation. And so, the question of the impact of social movements on the practice of s continuously addressed in the different approaches and case studies.
The course first introduces the main scholarly debates on Latin American Social Movements. Then, it takes a ‘dialectical’ understanding of State-Society relations to analyze in a series of case studies, the key tensions that characterize the interaction between the State and Social Movements. Particular attention is paid to the social movements’ new relation to social media and new technologies, assessing the impact of the use of new media on the form and content of social movement struggles. In this way the course seeks to assess the potential and limitations of social movements for achieving social change and, ultimately, deepening democracy in the Latin American region.
Some of the issues taken under consideration are:

  • Autonomy vs. co-optation

  • Social protest (non-institutional) vs. political (institutional) participation

  • Representative democracy vs. participative democracy (political representation and participation)

  • Identity politics vs. universal citizenship (inclusion and exclusion).
    The course is closed with the writing of an individual paper, in which one of the issues is analyzed in a case study of choice.
    The transferable skills that are practiced in this course include:

  • Analytical thinking (analytical skills, abstraction and argumentation)

  • Project management (planning, delimitation of the study)

  • Oral communication (presentation, academic language, listening and providing feedback)

  • Written communication (academic writing, reporting on research results, argument structuration)

  • Critical thinking (discussion, critical assessment of sources)

  • Intercultural skills (research and interaction in an intercultural setting)

Course objectives

  • To insert students in the main academic debates regarding Latin American social movements.

  • To create insight in the ‘dialectical’ dynamic that typifies the relation between State and Social Movements.

  • To have an understanding of the key tensions that characterize the interaction between State and Social Movements.

  • To understand the potential and limitations of social movements in achieving sociopolitical change in current issues in Latin America.

  • To assess the impact of social movements on the practice of democracy in the region.

  • To be able to apply the knowledge gained in a case study.


Timetable MA LAS

Timetable ResMA LAS

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

  • Seminar

Course Load

10 EC x 28 hrs = 280 hours in total

  • Lectures: 13

  • Practical work: 13

  • Preparation tutorials: 13

  • Study of compulsory literature: 75

  • Preparation final presentation:33

  • Paper: 133

Assessment method


Oral presentation about the literature during seminar (pass).
Final presentation on the progress of the analysis of the case study for the writing of the paper (30%). The presentation should be in either Spanish or English.
Final paper of 5000 words, written under supervision (70%). The paper may be submitted in Spanish, Portuguese or English.
The paper for the research master students should pay more attention to the theoretical framework and relate the case study to a key debate on Latin American Modernities (discussed in the core courses). To this end, these students will get at least one extra individual meeting focused on theory and a more complex research question.


The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.


A resit is (in principle) only possible in the case that the final grade for the course is a 5 or lower. The components that have been evaluated as insufficient can be resit. The resit for the final presentation entails a short research proposal for the paper of ca. 1500 words. A revised version of the paper can be resubmitted as a resit in case of an insufficient evaluation.
The percentages of the components do not change in the resit.

Exam review

Detailed feedback will be provided on both assessment components (the oral presentation and the fial paper). In addition, by the student’s request, it is possible to schedule a meeting with the lecturer to discuss the results of the examinations.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • providing course information

  • providing study material

  • submitting the written assignment

Reading list

A selection of articles and book chapters. The final reading list will be made available through Blackboard before the beginning of the course.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available in Engels and Nederlands

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte

Registration Contractonderwijs


For questions about the content of the course, you can contact the teacher:
Dr. S. Valdivia Rivera

Administrations Office: van Wijkplaats


Attendance is compulsory. In case the student misses more than three sessions, the lecturer may decide to impose complementary assignments, to guarantee the student meets the requirements of the course.