London, United Kingdom

The Politics of Protest, Development and Social Change

online course
when 29 June 2020 - 10 July 2020
language English
duration 2 weeks
credits 15 EC
fee GBP 1200

This online course provides a critical introduction to the history, nature and impact of global protest. It analyses how social movements, NGOs and other civil society organisations have interacted and influenced each other and how they have globalised. It interrogates the notion of development as economic growth, assesses the critiques against NGOs as alternatives to state-led development models and considers the concept and use of humanitarian intervention in diverse geographical contexts.

The course also discusses the role of labour and labour organising alongside social movements and explores the extent to which movements are posing a challenge to neoliberal development. Finally, it examines both the theoretical basis for social movement and NGO strategies for social change as well as their practical implications, and draws on a number of case studies, including the explosion of the climate justice movement, and advances ideas about what kind of development and social change is possible.

A theoretical consideration of social movements and their relationships to neoliberalism is an important theme for students of Development Studies. The case studies will complement the theory, providing students a comprehensive overview of the conditions of protest in the current global context and the potential for social change. Discussion of the various case studies will equip students with the capacity to analyse questions of strategy in relation to political context and current events. Students will also have the opportunity to discuss and analyse relevant films that examine case studies.

Students will conduct field research by participating in a protest or demonstration in London during the course, and undertaking a short practical exercise, either a photo essay or short video of the protest, which they will present to their classmates in the final tutorials. This exercise highlights the importance of experience and participation, strategy and intervention, in addition to observation and analysis of protest movements.

Course leader

Dr. Feyzi Ismail

Target group

A university student or a graduate at the time of attending the summer school, and 18+ years of age. Professional experience can be acknowledged as equivalent to a university qualification.

Course aim

On successful completion of the course, the student should possess:

- A critical understanding of the key theoretical debates on social movements and NGOs, including an understanding of the various roles these forces play in processes of development and social change.
- An understanding of the nature and history of social protest since the 1960s.
- An understanding of the relationships between NGOs and a range of other development actors, including the state, and knowledge of how these relationships have evolved.
- A capacity to identify, understand and critique a range of theoretical approaches for understanding contemporary social movements, and apply these approaches to practical case studies.

Credits info

15 EC
Courses are worth 15 SOAS credits, which is equivalent to 4 credits in the US system and 7.5 ECTS in the European system. If you intend to transfer credit to your home institution, please check the requirements with them before you apply. We will be happy to assist you in any way we can, however please be aware that the decision to transfer credit rests with your home institution.

Fee info

GBP 1200: - Save £200 if you apply by 30th April
- 10% discount if you apply for two courses over 6 weeks
- 15% discount for SOAS alumni (including Academic Summer School alumni)
- 20% discount for our partner institutions

Other discounts are available for groups, please contact us for further information.


The SOAS Academic Summer School is delighted to offer six tuition-fee waiver scholarships to passionate students with a desire to make a difference in the world.

Deadline: 13th March 2020