< Back to main page

Social Movements and Community Change - SOCI 360

SOCI 360 - Morrisville State College
Prof. Kurt Reymers

Reading/Video Assignments:

These assignments ask you to reflect on the readings and video assigned to read/watch weekly and answer the questions related to each assignment. They will be due on Friday at 5pm, unless otherwise indicated.

I recommend copying and pasting these questions into a Word or Google doc, then IMMEDIATELY save it to your computer with a good name (soci360-hw1.doc, for instance). Use the resources to write your answers and then copy and paste them back into an email to me (reymers@morrisville.edu).
IMPORTANT: Use the subject line "360A#" when you send me the email (the first will be 360A1, the next assignment will be 360A2, etc.).

Week 13: Racial Supremacy, Nationalist, and Conservative/Reactionary Movements (360A13)

On The Power of Identity, Chp 3, The Patriot Movement (Castells 1998)
1. In what way are the "Patriot" movements the antithesis of the establishment trend of a "new world order"?
2. What is "the most vital piece of equipment in the Patriot's arsenal", according to the KMTF (Klanwatch/Militia Task Force), and why is it so valuable?
3. Who are the enemies and targets of the militia movements?
4. Who are the "Patriots", in terms of demographic characteristics and social categories?

On Neo-Nazis Clash with Antifa Resistance During D.C. March (NowThis 2020, YouTube, 4 min)
1. What is the name of the neo-Nazi group identified in the video?
2. What is the group's perspective on race, according to its own manifesto?

On The Patriot Movement website (contemporaneous), thepatriotmovement.com (WARNING: False Information and Conspiracy Theory ahead!)
1. How easy or difficult is it to tell who the actual author(s) is/are of the website?
2. What is the Patriot Movement websites' perspective on COVID-19? Does it sound reasonable compared to that of medical science (https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/why-herd-immunity-is-dangerous-as-a-covid-19-strategy)?

On A Pro-Trump Militant Group Has Recruited Thousands of Police, Soldiers, and Veterans (Giglio, April 2020, The Atlantic)
1. What occupation did militia organizer Stewart Rhodes have before creating the Oathkeepers in 2009?
2. Give some examples of the types of legal orders the Oathkeeper members vowed to resist.
3. In what ways has President Trump inspired Oathkeepers and other "Patriot" militias to action?
4. Complete this sentence based on the quote from the article: "____________ are on-ramps to activism."
5. According to the author, will it be clear when a civil war breaks out? What is your opinion on the question?

On Nationalism vs. Patriotism (Reich 2019, YouTube, 4 min)
1. According to Reich, what emotion is "Trump's nationalism" rooted in?
2. According to Reich, what characteristics exemplify "true patriots"?

On the Progress-Regress Cycle (Weinstein 2010, Social Change, 3rd ed)
1. What are the three theories covering the evolution of social change over time?
2. Which theory do you think best represents the reality of social change over time?


Week 12: Identity Movements and the Fourth Wave of Civil Rights (360A12)

On The Early History of the Black Lives Matter Movement (Nevada Law Review, Chase, 2018)
1. What incident was the catalyst which began Black Lives Matter?
2. What factors link Black Lives Matter to the Civil Rights movement?
3. How and why did the BLM message spread so quickly?
4. What are the implications of BLM's self-proclaimed identity as "not your grandfather's civil rights movement"?

On She co-founded Black Lives Matter. Here’s why she’s so hopeful for the future (National Geographic, Hartigan, July 2020)
1. What gives Garza hope amidst continued protests, the pandemic and the faltering economy?
2. What is the significance the Garza gives to the fact the BLM was founded by three women?

On How Black Lives Matter fits into the long history of American radicalism (Vox, Illing, July 2020)
1. How can BLM be seen as a "radical social movement" and is it a revolutionary or reformist movement?
2. What other historical movements does Kazin see BLM as an extension of?
3. What factors does Kazin warn will undermin e a successful social movement?

On the BLM website BlackLivesMatter.com
1. How would you characterize the BLM home page, in terms of its motivations and message?

On The woman behind ‘Me Too’ knew the power of the phrase when she created it — 10 years ago, (Washington Post, Ohlheiser, 2017)
1. Who started the #MeToo movement, and when/why was it started?
2. How did Burke (and others) respond to the viral success of the #MeToo hashtag?

On #MeToo: A timeline of events (Chicago Tribune, N.A., Sept 2020)
1. Name some of the major public figures who have been caught up in the #MeToo movement between 2017-2020?
2. In your opinion, in what ways is the #MeToo a "radical social movement"? What are it's ultimate goals and what forces oppose this movement?

Week 10: Cultural Framing and the Environemntal Movements (360A10)

On Edwards, Chapter 4, Cultural Framing Theory / Contentious Politics
1. How does Edwards define "framing"?
2. Why is the media a particularly important institution when it comes to framing analysis?
3. Is there an importance to the place of emotions in framing theory? If so, why? If not, why not?
4. What is the "contentious politics" frame?

On Castells, The Power of Identity, Chp 3, The Environmental Movement
1. What are the five categories of environemental movements according to Castells?
2. What are some of the principles of the "deep ecology" frame on the environment and our relation to it?
3. What is the relationship of environmentalist activists and the institutions of science and technology?
4. How have environmentalists harnessed the media effectively in framing their issues?

On How the First Earth Day Started a Movement (People's Climate March, 2017)
1. When was the first Earth Day, who did it (and did it not) include, and how did it galvanize a longer lasting environmental movement?
2. What was the relationship of Earth Day to the business community and how did that change the movement?

On When The Earth Moves (Outrider Fdn., 2020)
1. How did the environmental movement have an effect on the American political process?
2. What is the role of young (and old) people in the environmental activism of today?

Week 9: Political Processes and the Anti-War Movement (The 60s and 70s) (360A9)

On Edwards, Chapter 4, Political Process Theory
1. In the classic debate between Gamson and Gladstone, which do you think better explains social movement success: internal factors (leadership, organization, skill, SMO tactics) or external factors (political opportunities that emerge from crisis moments in history)?
2. What do the authors of the Political Process Theory (PPT) of social movements mean by referring to the "political opportunity structure" to discover the ‘favourable contexts' for collective action? Give an example.
3. What are the three factors that come together in defining how social movements arise and may (or may not) succeed?

On the Vietnam War - History.com
1. How and when did the Vietnam War protests start?
2. What famous boxer resisted the draft by becoming a "conscientious objector"?
3. When and where did the most prominent anti-war protest demonstration take place, and what other important movement leader also supported the anti-war
cause that year?
4. What socio-political events occurred in 1968-1973 that inspired further demonstrations and increasing participation in the anti-war movement?

On Making Sense of the Sixties (documentary video, 2010)
1. What was the country's opinion(s) of the Vietnam War and the anti-war movement in 1968 and how did the movement itself change from 1968-1971?
2. What was the significance of Kent State in 1970?
3. What were the goals and strategies of the "Weathermen," an anti-war spin-off group who took to violence to "fight the system"?

On Ten years since the biggest anti-war protest in history
1. What was the biggest anti-war protest in history and where did it take place?


Week 8: The Women’s Rights Movement, Part 2-The Return of Feminism (1960s and 70s) (360A8)

On DellaPorta Chp 3, The Symbolic Dimensions of Collective Action
1. What term is used to refer to a system of ideas that motivate action, according to DellaPorta? Define.
2. How do the ideas of "materialism" and "post-materialism" relate to Maslow's hierarchy of needs?
3. What is one critique of thinking of movements as being either "materialist" or "post-materialist"? Explain.

On What was the Second Wave Feminist Movement? DailyHistory.org
1. What impact did World War II have on the role of women in economic institutions? What happened after the war?
2. What are the two branches of feminism described in the article?

On Origins of Second-Wave Feminism, Columbia Univ.
1. What were the two "streams" of second-wave feminism that came out of the black civil rights and worker's movements and how did they differ?

On The feminist and civil rights movements: Two fights for equality in the 1960’s, Brookings Institution
1. What is the speaker (Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton) discussing in this brief video?

On Third Wave Feminism, ThoughtCo
1. For what specific constituencies did third wave feminists speak?

On Naomi Wolf: Third Wave Feminism (BigThink)
1. What differences in 'style' did third wave feminists bring to the women's movement?
2. How does Wolf answer the question, "Does feminism respect the hijab?"

Week 7. Resource Mobilization and Civil Rights (360A7)

On Resource Mobilization (Edwards and Gillham, Wiley-Blackwell)
1. What is the definition of an SMO (social movement organization), according to Edwards and Gillham (taking from McCarthy and Zald 1977 article "Resource mobilization and social movements: A partial theory")?
2. What four different means of access to resources exist for SMOs?
3. What five different types of resources are available for SMOs to utilize and organize?

On Edwards, Chapter 3 - Resource Mobilization Theory
1. What is RAT or Rational Action Theory?
2. What is the "collective action problem" of "free-riders"?
3. What three factors precipitate action of a social movement?

On Civil Rights Movement Timeline
1. Which important 1954 Supreme Court ruling undid the "separate but equal" segregation ruling of Plessy vs. Ferguson in 1896?
2. What 1964 law was achieved through the protest and non-violent action of the civil rights movement and what did the law do?

On Crash Course in U.S. History: Civil Rights
1. What and by whom was the "Mystery Document" that John (thankfully) guessed (and thus did not get shocked)?
2. What was Rosa Parks' history of social movement activism prior to sitting at the front of the bus and starting the famous Montgomery Bus Boycott?

On History of Civil Rights
1. When was the NAACP founded and when, in relation, was the Ku Klux Klan particularly active?
2. What event in 1957 directly motivated increasing action in the Civil Rights movement?

Week 5. Democracy, Mass Society Theory, and the Rise of Totalitarianism (360A5)

On Social Movements and Global Social Change, Chp 1
1. What is the state of republics over the past 200 years?
2. What is the difference between denizens, subjects, and citizens?
3. Describe and give an example for each of the aspiring, altruistic, restrictionist types of social movements.

On Mass Society Theory from Wiley Online Library
1. What is the basic idea of mass society theory of social movements?
2. Who do mass movements appeal to, according to the theory?
3. What is the state of the theory in terms of its operationalization (has it been tested and is it widely accepted as empirically valid)?

On Italy Under Mussolini
1. Who were the Blackshirts?
2. How did Mussolini's rule impact ordinary Italians?

On The Path to Nazi Genocide
1. How did Hitler and the National Socialist (Nazi) party come to power?
2. In what ways was the Nazi regime founded upon a racist and restrictionist political movement?

On The tragedy of this American moment: Populism, elites, and the 2020 election
1. In what ways were/are "populists" being manipulated for political purposes in the 2016 and 2020 elections?

On Why Socrates Hated Democracy
1. Why is it not a good idea, according to Socrates, to trust the masses to choose a leader?

Due Sunday, Sept 27
Send as PLAIN TEXT (no attachments, please) to reymers@morrisville.edu using the
Subject Line: 360A5


Week 4. Emergent Norm Theory and the Women's Suffrage Movement (360A4)

On Locher Chp 3 - Emergent Norm Theory
1. Define and describe the premises of the Emergent Norm theory of collective behavior.
2. Explain the sociological theory of Symbolic-Interactionism and why Emergent Norm theory fits into this persepctive.
3. What are the six conditions necessary for the development of a crowd?
4. Into what types/categories do Turner and Killian classify collective behavior participants?

On History.com Women's Suffrage
1. When and where did the women's suffrage movement in the United States begin?
2. What norms and laws of the time did women have to overcome in order to achieve their agenda?
3. Discuss "progressivism" in the context of the emergent norm theory -- what arguments and tactics did women's suffrage activists use to win their cause?

On Crash Course in World History: Women's Suffrage
1. What social (norm) changes were taking place between 1890 and 1920 (the Progressive Era) for women that impacted the fight for suffrage?
2. List at least two significant historical figures in the suffrage movement and their accomplishments.
3. What does N.A.W.S.A. stand for?

On the Iron-Jawed Angels excerpts:
Parade Scene:
Turner and Killian would characterize the drunken men who attacked the women's suffrage parade as what type of collective behavior participant?
Jail Scene: In what way do the actions of Alice Paul, the activist who is force-fed, represent an ego-committed collective behavior participant creating conditions of permissiveness in the jail cafeteria?
Analysis Video: Who was Ida B. Wells and what was her objection to the Progressive era suffrage movement?

"When you're alone you can make any choice you want. But when someone loves you, you lose that right. I won't give anything away until we have it all." Do you agree or disagree with this statement (written by the screenwriters, not directly attributed to Alice Paul)?

Due Sunday, Sept 20.
Send as PLAIN TEXT (no attachments, please) to reymers@morrisville.edu using the
Subject Line: 360A4

Week 3. Value-Added (Structural Strain) Theory and the Labor Movement (360A3)

On Locher Chapter 4: The Value-Added Theory
1. How does the value-added theory relate to social contagion theory?
2. Where does the term "value-added" come from and what does it really mean?

3. What are the six steps of the value-added process of social movement development?
4. What is one big drawback of or problem with value-added theory?

On "The Communist Manifesto" (abridged version):
1. What are the names given to the two groups in conflict described in The Communist Manifesto and what are their respective social positions?
2. How do Marx and Engels characterize the relationship between workers and machines?
3. Marx and Engels say that "The theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence." What is that sentence and what does it mean in the context of their social conflict theory?

On the "It's History" YouTube video (The Worker's Rights Revolution):
1. What were some of the conditions of working class England in the 19th century?
2. How does the rise of a middle-class in the industrialized world affect workers in other nations, particularly the developing world?

On the "City Rising" YouTube video (The History of Worker's Rights):
1. What is the "informal economy?"
2. How was the role of government with respect to markets and business redefined in the 1980s?

Due Sunday, Sept 13.
Send as PLAIN TEXT (no attachments, please) to reymers@morrisville.edu using the
Subject Line: 360A3


Week 2. Moral Panics and Witch Hunts - Collective Behavior in the Past (360A2)

On Locher Chapter 1:
1. What is "collective behavior"?
2. What does Locher say about individuals who belong to groups that are exhibiting collective behavior?
3. Describe the "contagion theory" of collective behavior.
4. List four major theories of collective behavior that attempt to explain Social Movements.

On Locher Chapter 2:
Briefly describe LeBon's contagion theory.
2. Briefly describe Park's contagion theory.
3. Briefly describe Blumer's contagion theory.
4. What are the drawbacks and problems of contagion theory?

On videos:
1. How do moral panics represent collective behavior? Give at least two examples from the videos.

Due Sunday, Sept 6.
Send as PLAIN TEXT (no attachments, please) to reymers@morrisville.edu using the
Subject Line: 360A2


Week 1. Introduction to Social Movements (360A1)

On the OpenSTAX Textbook Chapter 21:
1. What is the definition of a social movement, according to the text?
2. What are some of the causes of social change?

On the Toby Chow "Social Movements" video:
1. What factors make up a social movement rather than merely a social group or category?
2. What metaphors and examples can be used to explain social movements?
3. How can social movements affect one’s personal psychology?
4. How can it become a problem when confront the norms of society?

On the Lee "Four Types of Social Movements" video:
1. What are the four different types of social movements and along what four dimensions do they differ?
2. Give an example of each type of social movement and explain that example.

Due Sunday, Aug 30.
Send as PLAIN TEXT (no attachments, please) to reymers@morrisville.edu using the
Subject Line: 360A1



Music Interpretation Assignments:

Music Interpretation Due Dates:

MI#1: due NO LATER THAN Thursday Sept 17

MI#2: due NO LATER THAN Thursday Oct 15

MI#3: due NO LATER THAN Thursday Nov 12

MI#4: due NO LATER THAN Thursday Dec 3

In reflecting on the class topics, it’s not hard to come up with an example of a social movements that has been related to in music. For this portion of the class grade, you will be asked to periodically complete a short reaction to the weekly reading assignments in the form of a “music interpretation.” These music interpretations involve you finding a song that you can interpret using the topics related in the assigned readings/videos. This reaction should include the lyrics of the song in question and an interpretation of how the meaning of the song relates to the movements we’re studying each week written as a brief, but concise (at least 250 word) description posted on the course Blackboard page. Students are required to submit four music interpretations in total, which should be spread throughout the course.

GO TO THE BLACKBOARD PAGE TO ADD A MUSIC INTERPRETATION (click link on left menu) and select "Create Journal Entry"

Here's an example of what a music interpretation might look like: 

Worker's rights have been a social movement for over a hundred years, and it still is relevant because we are still in a period of capitalism which pits owners of capital against the workers who actually create stuff. The labor/owner divide is certainly more complex than class warfare ideas often portray, but it's clear that musicians are still writing and thinking about it. Back in the 70s there was a band called Rush (the drummer, Neil Peart, got pretty famous for being an amazing player as well as lyricist for the band). His lyrics are really intellectual and often speak to social issues and movements. On their album called Hemispheres, he wrote a song called "The Trees" which is a metaphor about the divide between owners and workers. Here are the lyrics and a link to the song: 


There is trouble with the trees
For the maples want more sunlight
And the oaks ignore their pleas

The trouble with the maples
(And they're quite convinced they're right)
They say the oaks are just too lofty
And they grab up all the light
But the oaks can't help their feelings
If they like the way they're made
And they wonder why the maples
Can't be happy in their shade

There is trouble in the forest
And the creatures all have fled
As the maples scream 'Oppression!'
And the oaks just shake their heads

So the maples formed a union
And demanded equal rights
'The oaks are just too greedy
We will make them give us light'
Now there's no more oak oppression
For they passed a noble law
And the trees are all kept equal
By hatchet, axe and saw

"The Trees", Rush, 1978

Clearly, this song is discussing the ownership (Oak) and working (Maple) classes. "Sunlight" in the first stanza represents the rights and resources (money, time, fair conditions, etc.) that the workers (Maples) want, and the owners (Oaks) don't want to give for the sake of reducing profits. "Oppression!" and the Maples forming a union clearly is a reference to the kind of Communist call for class consciousness and for the workers of the world to "unite" (see Marx and Engels, The Communist Manifesto)! But the last stanza reveals how the author, Neil Peart (b.1952-d.2020), felt about the prospects of labor (the Maples) winning their struggle; in order to have the kind of equality where all the trees will get sunlight, they would be subject to "trimming" the forest -- ALL the trees would suffer from "hatchet, axe, and saw" (for Communist equality to rule, both workers and owners would suffer). 

Okay, now go and find your own song about labor/management, worker's rights, Capitalism and Communism, or a similar issue referred to in our class in the past few weeks. Can't wait to listen and read your interpretations! Best, Dr. K




Social Movement Research Paper:

The Research Paper will be broken down into four assignments as detailed below and due on the following dates:

STEP 1: Social Movement Concept Paper Assignment:

CHOOSE A TOPIC: Write a 2-page (500-word) concept paper with the title in the form of a question, a paper which clearly describes a social movement that you want to research. (Use the introductory notes and this Wiki page to get some ideas of what movements you might choose from). Narrow your topic as specifically as possible and discuss how the movement is related to the experience of its participants as well as how a sociologist might use one or another social theory to understand the movement (see Week 1 notes, readings). Briefly discuss how the movement meets the definition of having a motivation, becoming organized, and the level of social transformation it seeks. What type of movement is it (see Week 1 notes, readings)? The paper should clarify its relevance to you, the main question that is important to you, a thesis statement regarding the main idea about how you want to discuss the movement (this should be summarized as the title question for your paper), and briefly discuss where you might find sources of information to answer your research question and clarify your thesis question.

You should:
(1) save your work as a PDF file (for MS Word use the "Save as..." feature; for Google Docs, "Download as..."), with the
(2) filename starting with your LAST NAME-RP1, then
(3) attach the PDF file to me in an email (reymers@morrisville.edu) with the subject line reading 360RP1.

Worth 5% of course grade
Due Friday Sept 25


STEP 2: Social Movement Citations and Outline Assignment:

Use the library resources available to you to collect more research on the social movement you have chosen to write about in your concept paper.

See my "Research" page for further advice and assistance.
See my "Citations" page for further advice and assistance.

See my "Outlines" page for further advice and assistance.

Here are some other good library reference help guides and source material ideas:
- Wiley Online Library
- Academic One-File
- Opposing Viewpoints

- How to find articles from library databases
How to find newspaper articles
- How to cite sources (APA style)
- How to evaluate sources
- How to contact the library
(Thanks to Professor Fry for sharing these resources from her SOCI 250 course).

Next, create a detailed and annotated outline of your paper that:

(1) uses the same or a similar title as your concept paper,
(2) identifies a clear and logical thesis related to your topic movement,
(3) expressly links to your research citations discovered in your library work,
follows a logical argument from beginning to end to tell your reader why you have come to the conclusion to which you have come (supporting your thesis argument), and
(5) includes a first draft of your references page noting all sources you expect to use in the paper (we use APA style in sociology).

You should:
(1) save your work as a PDF file (for MS Word use the "Save as..." feature; for Google Docs, "Download as..."), with the
(2) filename starting with your LAST NAME-RP2, then
(3) attach the PDF file to me in an email (reymers@morrisville.edu) with the subject line reading 360RP2.

Worth 5% of course grade
Due Friday Oct 23 30


STEP 3: Social Movements Paper Rough Draft Assignment: (due Friday Nov 13)

Using your outline and references and responding to my critiques of those previous assignments, write a rough draft of your paper. I recommend outlining a structure that relates the content of your research on the movement you have chosen to study to a theoretical understanding of collective behavior and social movements we have studied in class through readings and examples. Utilize a definition and ideas about social movements (from Locher, Blumer, Smelser, Turner and Killian, Edwards, Della Porta, Castells, etc.) to reflect on the specific movement you are studying and tie that to a narrative of (story about) the movement. Develop (or rephrase) your thesis question to reflect particular characteristics of the movement you are interested in and then tie it to the theoretical concepts (e.g. relative deprivation, structural strain, mass society, resource mobilization, framing, identity protection, etc.) that help to illuminate the principles and meaning of the movement in a larger social context. Discuss how specific institutions are affected by the social movement in question and what the outcome was/may be. You should refer to AT LEAST 5 (five) unique research sources in your paper.

The paper must conform to the following stylistic guidelines:
At least 1500 words (approximately 5-7 pages), typed, 1” margins, double-spaced, 10-12 point standard font and using APA-style format. Include a title page and abstract in APA format (include running header). Include a References page as the last page of the paper. Any charts, tables, formulas, or illustrations should appear in an Appendix section before the references page and referred to in the text by number (e.g. "see Appendix 1, Appenmdix 2, etc."). Use this "sample paper" as a guideline for style.

The paper should be submitted in electronic format (save and send as PDF format ). Use your LAST NAME as the first part of the file name in the file you send to me attached to an email (for example, Reymers-SOCI360-RP3). Email your final paper to reymers@morrisville.edu.

Due date extended to Thursday Nov 19 (PDF by email)


- RP#4 FINAL Draft due Friday Dec 4

Instructions TBA