Sociology 360:
Social Movements and Community Change

Fall 2020
:: SYLLABUS :: SCHEDULE :: ASSIGNMENTS :: GRADES ::

Notes and Online Resources
Weekly Readings / Viewings

Notes

Introduction to Social Movements

Pre-1970s Social Movements Theory:
Collective Behavior and Social Contagion

Neil Smelser's Value-Added Theory and
Turner & Killian's Emergent Norm Theory

The Politics of Social Movements:
Democracy, Elites, and Mass Society Theory


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lats
"Look at the Sky!" social contagion exercise, Fall 2016


"Carry That Weight" anti-sexual violence protest, Fall 2015


"Singing connected with movements and action is a much more ancient, and, at the same time, more complex phenomenon than is a simple song."
-- Zoltan Kodaly


"There are no globalized, youth-led, grassroots social movements advocating for democratic culture across Muslim-majority societies. There is no equivalent of Al-Qaeda without the terrorism."
-- Maajid Nawaz


"The abolition and suffrage movements progressed when united and were damaged by division; we should remember that."
-- Gloria Steinem


"Fascist movements kill off their critics, literally or metaphorically, while democratic movements value, invite and even welcome criticism."
-- Parker Palmer


"Social movements are at once the symptoms and the instruments of progress. Ignore them and statesmanship is irrelevant; fail to use them and it is weak."
-- Walter Lippmann


"The power of a movement lies in the fact that it can indeed change the habits of people. This change is not the result of force but of dedication, of moral persuasion. "
― Stephen Biko


“It may well be that we will have to repent in this generation. Not merely for the vitriolic words and the violent actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence and indifference of the good people who sit around and say, "Wait on time.” 
― Martin Luther King Jr., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches


“By thinking globally I can analyze all phenomena, but when it comes to acting, it can only be local and on a grassroots level if it is to be honest, realistic, and authentic.” 
― Jacques Ellul, Perspectives on Our Age


“A critical element in nearly all effective social movements is leadership. For it is through smart, persistent, and authoritative leaders that a movement generates the appropriate concepts and language that captures the frustration, anger, or fear of the group's members and places responsibility where it is warranted.” 
― David E. Wilkins, The Hank Adams Reader: An Exemplary Native Activist and the Unleashing of Indigenous Sovereignty

Think Globally Act Locally

“In the case of Tunisia, it was indeed this single act that sparked what had been long-standing active protest movements and moved them forward. But that's not so unusual. Let's look at our own history. Take the civil rights movement. There had been plenty of concern and activism about violent repression of blacks in the South, and it took a couple of students sitting in at a lunch counter to really set it off. Small acts can make a big difference when there is a background of concern, understanding, and preliminary activism.” 
― Noam Chomsky, Power Systems: Conversations on Global Democratic Uprisings and the New Challenges to U.S. Empire


"When the women's liberation movement began, when people began protesting against the Vietnam War, civil rights movement, at the beginning of those movements, the majority of the country was not with them, did not believe in the basic principles of any of those philosophies."
-- Michael Moore


The only way we can challenge Islamism is to engage with one another. We need to make it as abhorrent as racism has become today. Only then will we stem the tide of angry young Muslims who turn to hate. ― Maajid Nawaz

 

 

 

Week 5: Democracy, Mass Society Theory, and the Rise of Totalitarianism

Sept 21-22
5.1) Read Schaeffer, Social Movements and Global Social Change, Chp 1
(Recommended, not required: Schaeffer Chapter 2)
5.2) Read Mass Society Theory from Wiley Online Library
5.3) Read Italy Under Mussolini

Sept 23-24
5.4) Watch: The Path to Nazi Genocide, US Holocaust Museum (40 min)
5.5) Watch: The tragedy of this American moment: Populism, elites, and the 2020 election, BigThink (8 min)
5.6) Watch: Why Socrates Hated Democracy, The School of Life (4 min)

Sept 25-27
Research Paper Concept Map due Friday Sept 25
Complete homework assignment 360A5
Complete Quiz 2 (on Blackboard)
Complete Discussion post (on Blackboard) by Sunday



EXTRA CREDIT OPPORTUNITY:
Questions due by Oct 2 for the extra point

My cousin-in-law, who goes by "Jamie Aileen" on Facebook, is serving as a protest medic in Chicago, Illinois. She has seen first-hand the major protests happening in one of the largest cities in the country, and the direct outcome of police and crowd violence. You can see some of her posts and pictures below.

For an extra point of credit toward your participation portion of the grade, come up with some thoughtful question that you might pose to her. I'll collect all of your questions and send them to her and get back to you with her responses.

Send your question for Jamie to:
reymers@morrisville.edu
using the subject line: JAMIE


THREE: wise protesters avoid parks, plazas, etc. These are spaces MADE for kettling. Demonstrate on large open streets. Stay in motion. If there are side streets, flow around them. You can only kettle protesters if they’re already clumped together.

In San Francisco, Civic Center is a PRIME example of a good kettling location. You can pack thousands of protesters into Civic Center easily without disrupting traffic. Use broad streets like Market or Mission instead. EDIT: a commenter pointed out that streets with long blocks and no alleys (such as Howard and Folsom in SF) are often used to corral protesters - look for streets with escape routes!

FOUR: smart protesters communicate by twitter Instagram etc to keep the protest mobile. If the police are beginning to form a kettle at UN Plaza, protesters can disperse and recombine at Market Street. When they start trying to block Market, flow out and take Mission. Protesters prepare to stay in motion; to break into pieces and reform continuously. They have a backup plan with their friend group for where they will reconvene in case they don't have phone signal.

FIVE: Social distancing is your FRIEND here. If it’s hard to maintain six feet between you and fellow protesters, then your crew is close enough to be kettled! Skedaddle down side streets until you have some space! Remember to set up a meeting point for where you will reconvene with your personal affinity group.

SIX: wise protesters remember to pack some brightly colored street clothes. When they escape a nigh-kettle, they slip into something that doesn’t look “protester-y” and WALK briskly, don’t run, to another location. You’re just an essential worker trying to get home from work, nothing to do with all this, no way. I've seen protesters pack brightly colored polo shirts that look like the worker uniform of certain big box retailers so they can slip it on as a visual excuse.

SEVEN: Except in rare cases - police horses are INCREDIBLY well trained. They move through very crowded spaces full of loud people without spooking. A police horse is VERY unlikely to hurt you. Police horses are broken out in the event of kettling or dispersal maneuvers because they are big and scary. But they are NOT war horses, and a mounted officer is a hell of a lot less useful in the street than an officer on foot. THEIR PRIMARY SKILL IS INTIMIDATION. Be stalwart and brave. Wise protestesrs may run from a phalanx of riot cops. They don’t run away from the horses.
EDIT: but also, don't try to grab a horse, don't try to touch a horse, don't try to get in a confrontation with a horse. The horse won't start a fight with you, but if you start a fight with it, the horse will win. And it might take some of your ribs or the structural integrity of your skull with it.

EIGHT: many protesters carry medical shears, scissors, or wire cutters. That's because the preamble to kettling is often erecting metal barricades across easy flow points. These barricades are usually just held together with zip ties, though! If someone cuts those zip ties, a protester could knock the barricade right over. At Occupy Atlanta, I saw one protester quietly, discretely following behind as the barricades went up ... and snipping the zip ties one by one. He did it while acting like he was still just chatting with friends. This meant the police assumed the barricades were still tied together ... though they were not.
ALSO, sometimes for some reason, some of your comrades might end up with their hands ziptied behind their backs, which can be very inconvenient. Medical shears let you easily free them without risking hurting them. Send a text message to your kinky friend who loves rope bondage - they should definitely own a few pairs of medical shears you can borrow.

NINE: practice PEACE. I don't mean to suddenly hit you with some high-minded pacifism. I mean you must find peace with your fellow protester. Kettling works by pushing people close enough together for long enough that internal fights and arguments break out. A shoving match between protesters can be a great excuse for cops to bust in and "pacify." Practice peace with your protest neighbors. Singing is a great tool for this. Embrace old movement standbys, however corny they are: "This Land is Your Land," "Kumbaya," even. "We Shall Overcome" is the most powerful one and can help you survive almost anything emotionally, but frankly, you should probably let POC start the singing on this one. This song doesn't belong to white folks.

I hope these anecdotes were helpful! If you're going to a protest, make sure to set up a safety call with someone who isn't there that you can check in with to say that you're safe! Mob mentality is a real thing, so decide beforehand what your limits are and what you're unwilling to do. If you put yourself at risk, do it strategically, not for ego!

Love and light to all of you. Stay safe. Be powerful.
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"...To understand the changes of many personal milieux we are required to look beyond them. And the number and variety of such structural changes increase as the institutions within which we live become more embracing and more intricately connected with one another. To be aware of the idea of social structure and to use it with sensibility is to be capable of tracing such linkages among a great variety of milieux. To be able to do that is to possess the sociological imagination." -- C. Wright Mills, The Sociological Imagination (1959)