Related Courses

  • Professor James M. Jasper (CUNY Graduate Center): Collective Behavior.

In the 1970s the study of social movements split from, and soon eclipsed, the study of collective behavior. Much was gained, but something also possibly lost, in the transformation. One thing that was eroded was a connection to social psychology and other micro-level research, in favor of large political structures at the national level. By looking at work on various examples of collective behavior, such as sports, religion, or musical events, we should be able to recover some of the roots of political action in face-to-face gatherings

  •  Frances Fox Piven (CUNY Graduate Center): Movements, Interest Groups and Elections in American Politics.

This course will attempt to put it all together, to analyze how social movements, powerful interest groups, and the parties, campaigns and voters which are supposed to be the mainstay of democracy, interact and combine to shape public policy and ultimately American society. To try to gain traction on these big dynamics, we will first consider the paradigms that guide the study of movements, interest group politics and elections, each considered separately. Then we will select a number of turning points in American political development in which the distinct forces mobilized in movements, interest groups, and elections were activated to gain state power and determine policy outcomes. I want especially to consider the interaction, of movements and elections, of elections and moneyed interests, for example. Citizens United and the Tea Party are new, but the dynamics they generate when they conflict or combine are not.

  •  Professor Caroline W. Lee (Lafayette College): Democracy 2.0: Movements and Markets in the Participation Economy.

The tide of declining civic participation seems to be turning. Facebook groups, cellphone polling, and Twitter revolutions have given everyday people a chance to share their opinions at formerly unheard-of scales. But some worry that “Democracy 2.0” has become big business. Is all of this engagement really about empowerment? This first year seminar explores the economic and political potential of participatory technologies from the standpoint of emerging research on the entanglement of social movements and markets.

  •  Professor Irving Leonard Markovitz (CUNY Queens College and Graduate Center): Globalization and Its Critics.

Did “globalization” cause the Arab Spring? Are the internet, texting, Facebook and Google the major new forces for democracy in the developing world?  Were the credit default swaps, sub-prime mortgages, and derivatives based on the new institutions of global capitalism, responsible for the near descent into depression of 2008? First-wave writers about globalization offered a bewildering array of answers to questions such as: What is “Globalization?” Who benefits? Are there “victims?” Can it be stopped? A second wave of intellectuals has gone beyond these questions to better understand the enduring structures, institutions and processes of a new global era. Spurred in part by the deepest global downturn since the “great depression,” a new set of scholars now asks with renewed fervor if the processes of globalization are reversible, if we are in a phase of “de-globalization,” and if we are in a terrifyingly intensified period of growing inequality. This seminar will inquire into whether globalization is simply another name for historical trends of long duration, interdependence, internationalization, imperialism, neo or post-imperialism, or something qualitatively new. Does globalization advance “real” democracy, or “lite” democracy, which like “lite beer” looks and smells like beer but has no body and is a shadow of the real thing? Is it true that globalization means that the conditions of life of most people in the world will worsen, not improve in our lifetimes? Why is it that “democratization” does not necessarily mean less inequality? What has happened to the promise of “civil society”? What are the paradoxes of Neo-Liberalism? We will examine studies that see globalization as the construction of diverse forms of network power; as new institutions of democratization that come from “the globalization of accountability”; and as a new form of capitalism that has produced more goods and services than any previous economic system of production and yet has great difficulties overcoming crisis of financial instability and of equitable distribution. [Syllabus]

  • Professor Jillian Schwedler (CUNY Hunter College and Graduate Center): Protest and Dissent.

This course explores ideas and practices of political protest and dissent through a range of cases drawn from around the globe and utilizing comparative methods. Why do people protest?  Against whom or what is protest directed?  To achieve what ends?  What forms of protest are employed?  While political activism, marches, riots, strikes, and other tried-and-true forms of protest are easily recognizable, what are the other ways in which individuals and groups might register or express political dissent?  What makes a particular act of protest or dissent political?  We will utilize a wide range of sources—including scholarly writings, memoirs, primary documents, films, music, art, and more—to examine protest and dissent activities in a wide range of contexts. [Syllabus]