Collective Behavior and Social Movements

The American College of Greece

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Collective Behavior and Social Movements

  • Host University

    The American College of Greece

  • Location

    Athens, Greece

  • Area of Study


  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    SO 1000 LE Introduction to Sociology
    Two additional courses in Sociology

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • US Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    This course will provide a critical introduction to the most important theories that explain the emergence and decline of various forms of collective behavior, such as crowds, rumors, panics, fads, hysterias, social movements and protest participation. Why do people protest? Does protest matter to the political system? What are the issues that mobilize groups to protest, and why do social movements decline? In addition to theories, concepts and perspectives, the course explores the politicalcultural impact of movements locally and globally.

    The study of collective behavior and social movements is the study of collective agency, as social movements arise when people act together to promote or resist social change. In this sense, the field of collective behavior and social movements spans the usual micro-macro divide in sociology. On the micro end, the field overlaps with social psychology, focusing on how people become motivated to collective action as well as on how meanings, regarding the action, are constructed. On the middle level, the field overlaps with the areas of organizations and social networks. On the macro level, the field overlaps with political sociology. As a result, theorizing in the social movements’ area is a synthetic, and increasingly dynamic and interactive exercise which appeals to students across the disciplines.

    As a result of taking this course, the student should be able to:
    1. Examine critically sociological concepts, theories, and research on collective behavior and social movements.
    2. Demonstrate understanding of the conditions that give rise to social movements or types of collective behavior such as protest demonstrations, riots, fad or crazes at particular times and places, and often in “clusters” or “cycles.
    3. Discover what motivatespeople to join social movements, as well as the strategies and tactics that actors use to achieve their goals.
    4. Examine the “framings” through which movement actors communicate their messages.
    5. Analyze themes like leadership, participation, and mobilization.
    6. Demonstrate understanding of the thoughts and feelings of movement participants.
    7. Assess the impact of institutions on movements. 

    In congruence with the teaching and learning strategy of the college, the following tools are used:
    - Classes consist of lectures, discussions of selected issues, showing of video documentaries and in-class illustrations of various issues.
    - Office hours: students are encouraged to make full use of the office hours of their lecturer, where they can address issues and ask questions pertinent to the course material.
    - Use of a blackboard site, where instructors post lecture notes, assignment instructions, timely announcements, as well as additional resources.


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