91142 - Political Effects Of Social Mobilization

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Gender equality Decent work and economic growth Reduced inequalities Climate Action

Academic Year 2020/2021

Learning outcomes

The course aims at developing an encompassing knowledge of the outcomes that social mobilizations have at the level of politics and policies. At the end of the course, students will be able to: - critically discuss the main approaches related to the outcomes of social mobilizations at the level of politics and policies; - compare the political effects of social mobilitazions across different countries and different territorial levels; - evaluate specific cases of social mobilizations with regard to their intended and unintended political effects.

Course contents

The course will focus on both theories and practices related to the political effects of social mobilizations.

The course develops according to the model of the Structured Seminar. The course includes ten meetings of 3 hours each. Additional online sessions will prepare different groups of students to deal with their assignments in their activities related to the preparation of in-class presentations, final paper, and the take-home exam.

Students are required to read the assigned material before the class carefully, and active participation through presentations of existing scholarship and case studies will also be expected. Regardless of the health-related conditions and the course's specific organization, students will be able to follow the lessons of the entire course remotely on MS TEAMS.

The seminar organization is the following.

The course lasts 30 class hours (all face-to-face, except the first one + simultaneous online class for those who cannot be in class) organized as seminars that will address one specific question related to the overall course theme. An additional set of 10 hours (online only) will be instead devoted to supporting students. The course will develop according to the following schedule.

More specifically, the main questions that students will be asked to address during the ten 3-hours seminar sessions are the following:

Week 1 (online only, 3 hours) Introduction to the course and lecture on what we talk about when we talk about social movements

Week 2 (face-to-face, 3 hours) Which types of outcomes can social movements achieve in the realm of politics?

* during Week 2 there will be two 2-hours online-only sessions to support groups of students with the preparation of their in-class assignments

Week 3 (face-to-face, 3 hours) Which are the endogenous and exogenous factors that shape social movements' outcomes?

Week 4 (face-to-face, 3 hours) How do we measure social movements' outcomes?

Week 5 (face-to-face, 3 hours) What happens to social movement actors when they enter the arena of institutional politics?

Week 6 (face-to-face, 3 hours) How do political consequences of social movements change when we move from Wester to non-Western countries?

* during Week 6 there will be two 2-hours online-only sessions to support groups of students with the preparation of their final papers

Week 7 (face-to-face, 3 hours) What dynamics affect political outcomes of social movements when the political contexts are unstable and violent?

Week 8 (face-to-face, 3 hours) Do digital media have the ability to change, and how, the dynamics that characterize social movements' outcomes?

Week 9 (face-to-face, 3 hours) What happens to social movement outcomes when we move from domestic to transnational issues?

Week 10 (face-to-face, 3 hours) Are political consequences the only kinds of outcomes that social movements might achieve?

* during Week 10 there will be one 2-hours online-only session to support students with the preparation of their take-home exam

The detailed syllabus containing all the topics, activities, and related specific readings of the course will be distributed and presented during the first introductory class.


Students are required to study a list of book chapters, essays and articles that will be distributed the first day of class. These compulsory readings will be listed in the syllabus distributed and discussed the first day of class.

Teaching methods

The course will be based on lectures combined with in-class activities and students’ presentations. Academic guests and practitioners might give invited lectures on specific topics related to the course.

Assessment methods

Students will be evaluated through three main tools:

  • Take-home exam with three open-ended questions (30%)
  • Two in-class presentations, each presenting a case study related to one of the main issues to be addressed during the course (20%)
  • Two in-class commentaries, each on one of the readings assigned for class (20%)
  • A final paper of 4,000 words about one of the topics covered during the course (30%)

More detailed information on the take-home exam, in-class presentations, in-class commentaries, and the final paper will be included in the syllabus distributed in September and discussed on the first day of class.

Teaching tools

Power Point presentations, multi-media materials, and practical exercises will support teaching and learning activities.

Office hours

See the website of Alice Mattoni