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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Politics

Undergraduate Course: Social Movements and Collective Action in the Middle East (PLIT10128)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course examines the role of social movements and collective action in the politics and international relations of the Middle East.

It explores a range of themes and case studies from the region and engages with broader social science debates on contentious politics.
Course description The course examines the role of contentious politics in the politics and international relations of the Middle East. It explores how movements of people challenge, reinforce and create new centres of authority in the region. The main theories of IR tend to ignore or downplay non-state political phenomena, or else focus on how social movements channel or localise Western norms. The Middle East has traditionally been singled out as a region with a weak civil society that produces 'bad' norms, such as sectarianism or 'jihad'. The Arab uprisings challenged this assumption and prompted scholars to reconsider the societal sources of democratic transition - as well as authoritarian relapse - in the region. They also prompted reconsideration of how social movements and other forms of collective action influence regional and international orders. In this course, we will assess the literature on contentious politics and use examples from the Middle East to engage with broader debates. Themes covered include social movements and geopolitics; globalisation and regionalisation; the sociopolitical role of intellectuals; religion and gender-based mobilisation; sectarianism; and the notion of public (and counterpublic) spheres. We will examine a range of case studies, such as Arab anti-colonial movements and their legacies; trajectories of Palestinian and Kurdish struggles for statehood; the Israeli settler movement; the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement; secular and Islamic feminist movements in Egypt and Iran; popular uprisings in Egypt from 2011 to 2013; and sectarian mobilisations in Iraq and Syria.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Introduction to Politics and International Relations (PLIT08004) OR Politics in a Changing World: An Introduction for non-specialists (PLIT08012)
It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed Politics of the Middle East (PLIT10036) OR Modern Middle Eastern History B: Postwar Independence and Conflict (IMES08037)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 4 Politics/International Relations courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses. As numbers are limited, visiting students should contact the Visiting Student Office directly for admission to this course.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2021/22, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  40
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 11, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 11, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Short essay, 1500 words (30%)
Long essay, 3000 words (70%)
Feedback Essays will be returned with feedback within 15 working days of submission.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of diverse forms of collective action and social movements in the Middle East, as well as a critical understanding of how relevant social science theories approach issues related to contentious politics.
  2. Critically apply International Relations and other social science theories to cases of collective action and social movements in the Middle East
  3. Demonstrate ability to compare and contrast Middle Eastern social movements in different countries, with an understanding of the importance of historical, cultural, geographical and other contexts.
  4. Use findings from study of contentious politics in the Middle East to inform broader debates on social movements and collective action.
Reading List
Beinin, Joel, and Frédéric Vairel. Social Movements, Mobilization, and Contestation in the Middle East and North Africa. Stanford University Press, 2011.

Chalcraft, John. Popular Politics in the Making of the Modern Middle East. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 2016.

Moghadam, Valentine M. Globalization and Social Movements Islamism, Feminism, and the Global Justice Movement. 2nd edition. Globalization. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2012.

Tilly, Charles, and Sidney Tarrow. Contentious Politics. Oxford University Press, 2015.

Tripp, Charles. The Power and the People Paths of Resistance in the Middle East. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills By the end of the course students should have strengthened their skills in:
1. Critically analysing and applying theories of contentious politics, particularly to cases in the Middle East.
2. Communicating orally their own ideas on contentious politics, and engaging constructively with those of their peers.
3. Working independently, and in consultation with others, to identify and scope an area of research and devise research questions on topics related to collective action and social movements
KeywordsPolitics,Middle East
Course organiserDr Ewan Stein
Tel: (0131 6)50 4264
Course secretaryMr Daniel Jackson
Tel: (0131 6)50 8253
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