ASOA15039U  Protest, Mobilization, and Organizing in Transnational Social Movements

Volume 2018/2019

BA/MA Elective course

Course package (MSc 2015): Knowledge, organisation and politics


How do people get engaged in local protest or in transnational social movement organizations? What role do structural inequities and decentralized decision-making processes play within social movement organizations cooperating with institutional labor unions, non-profit organizations, human rights advocates or informal social media networks?

This course provides a sociological introduction to the study of protest and transnational social movement coalitions. Our special focus is on the role of organizational dynamics of cooperation, decision-making, and the diffusion and translation of protest strategies and knowledge within heterogeneous coalitions. We analyze the challenges and conditions for organizing protest and building effective coalitions on issues such as climate change, workers’ rights, social justice, immigration, gender, human rights and others.

This course approaches single themes from an interdisciplinary perspective by including case studies drawing on different regions and based on non-western, feminist, and geographically diverse approaches. In theoretical terms, we will explore questions of organizational democracy in the context of informally operating transnational networks and grasroots organizations challenged by external threats, resource inequality as well by cultural heterogeneity and internal fights about power within decision-making.

Learning Outcome


The course will provide the students with knowledge of

- the core sociological research literature within the thematic field of Protest, Mobilization, and Organizing in Transnational Social Movements, and

- familiarity with the recent literature on the challenges of protest and social movements in the context of globalized, culturally diverse, and heterogeneous coalitions involving grassroots organizations and institutionalized coalition partners such as trade unions and NGOs. 



Students will have trained their ability to

- compare and contrast key theoretical perspectives that are central to the wider MA specialization in Knowledge, Organisation and Politics

- identify significant historical and contemporary developments in research on social movements.

- apply and critically discuss key theoretical concepts within the thematic field of transnational mobilization and organizing, particularly related to the challenge of organizational heterogeneity, inequality, and cultural diversity within transnational coalitions

- review and reflect on the interdisciplinary scientific literature on protest and social movements acquiring insights into a number of different disciplines and their conceptualization of the themese we discuss as well as their state of the art. 



Further, students should also be able to

- assess and discuss practical relevance of their analysis for key actors, issues, and problems within and across the organizational and thematic fields where social movements operate.


In carrying out the presentations, projects, and written assignments students demonstrate that they have acquired competencies that allow them to independently

- identify and analyze cases and settings where organizational dynamics and transnational politics shape or influence the functioning of social movement coalitions.    

Readings are comprised of peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, activist publications, and occassional newspaper clippings. Students are responsible for approximately 6-700 pages of reading.

Lectures, class discussions, student presentations, exercises and written assignments based on the readings. The presentations include project work (either individually or in groups).

Students are expected to contribute actively to discussion of core theoretical-analytical tools as well as the more specific analytical examples and case studies. In their written assignments, including the final essay, students are expected to identify their own analytical questions and demonstrate their capacity to critically assess and analyze empirical data based on the examples and case studies we discuss in class.

Students should also expect to review literature and assess empirical data besides the course texts. Aspects of conducting literature reviews within the relevant field of research will be taught and trained.
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Individual or group. A portfolio assignment is defined as a series of short assignments during the course that address one or more set questions and feedback is offered during the course. All of the assignments are submitted together for assessment at the end of the course. The portfolio assignments must be no longer than 10 pages. For group assignments, an extra 5 pages is added per additional student. Further details for this exam form can be found in the Curriculum and in the General Guide to Examinations at KUnet.
Exam registration requirements

Sociology students must be enrolled under BSc Curriculum 2016 or MSc Curriculum 2015 to take this exam

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Exam period

Submission dates and time will be available at KUnet, Exchange students and danish full degree guest students please see the homepage of Sociology; and

Criteria for exam assesment

Please see the learning outcome

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 28
  • Course Preparation
  • 97
  • Preparation
  • 70
  • Exam Preparation
  • 11
  • Total
  • 206