Social Movements


This assignment will give you an opportunity to research how activist groups have worked to oppose and transform oppression. This project involves both substantial research and analysis. You will first extensively research a social movement of your choice (the list is below) that we have read about or will be reading about throughout the semester.

You will also make an informed analysis of and why forms of oppression have been challenged and how social gains have been advocated for through collective social movements.



Be able to explain how a social movement has changed in response to internal and external pressures by utilizing social networks as a basis of information dissemination and mobilization. The term social movement describes a situation in which a loosely organized group of people challenges the existent social norms and values often defying established rules of behavior in their actions. We extend this commonly used description by adding in the factor of social networks and how they play a role in the organization and mobilization of these social movements.



Choose one movement to focus on:

-Occupy Wall Street

-Arab Spring [this includes both Tunisia and Egypt]


-Iceland’s Kitchenware Revolution


You should include the following throughout the paper:

1) A historical analysis of how and why the social movement you have chosen has emerged.

2) Explain how the participants of the social movement understood or interpreted the oppression they sought to challenge. Who were the dominant and subordinate groups involved and what were their perspectives?

3) Show and understanding of the activities of the social movement, its participants, visions, strategies, dissemination of information, and mobilization.

4) Explain what the social movement achieved, didn’t achieve, or has yet to achieve in terms of the movement itself, and its communicative properties.

5) Give a detailed explanation of what adversaries say about the social movement, and whether or not you agree/disagree with their perspective or what you have discounted as merely rhetoric.


As you can see, I’m not asking you to simply report on a social movement. I’m asking you to dive headfirst into a social movement and really understand who were the dominant players, why they felt a sense of oppression, explain their strategies, what they achieved or didn’t achieve, and to form an opinion based on your extensive research. You should pull from the course texts, articles from the class as necessary, library research, and most of all, *credible* internet resources. You should have no less than 8 sources, but many students will use more than that to accomplish their purpose.



You should organize your paper into the following three parts.


I. Introduction: Provide a brief description of the social movement you have chosen and include a brief preview of all major sections of your paper.


II. Body: Discuss in detail the main points corresponding to the various topics included under the Content section. The body is by far the longest part of the paper and should explicitly address all of the sections required above. It is important that you give direct quotes and paraphrases from your research, as well as direct quotes (and source citations) from the course textbooks to ensure the application of theoretical principles to this project.


III. Conclusion: Provide a brief summary of the body of the paper, including a review of all main ideas covered.



The paper must be typed (double spaced) and must display acceptable college-level standards of grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, paragraph structure, spelling, etc. Please use 12 point font and one-inch margins on all sides (standard in Word). Use only Arial, Verdana, or Trebuchet font. Length: 1,500-1,800 words.

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