Contemporary Social Movements in Latin America

10 ECTS Credits – Spring Term

Compulsory for students undertaking the Latin America pathway; optional for other students.


This module examines the role of social movements and collective action in raising the standard of human rights in Latin America. Although orientated around social movements active today, the module also considers the history of different forms of popular mobilization for a contemporary context. Sessions will be thematic, and lectures will approach each theme from the perspective of a single country case study in order to provide in-depth engagement with specific challenges. External speakers involved in social movements or NGOs will be invited to some sessions to provide students with first-hand experiences of some of the issued covered in the module. The preparatory material foregrounds the perspectives of activists, often through video. This module is recommended for any student interested in working with or researching social movements; despite the focus on Latin American countries all lectures have international relevance. All students are very welcome to audit.


The objectives of the module are to:

  1. Introduce students to analytical approaches to social mobilisation and how such approaches can inform the work of human rights practitioners;
  2. Give students an overview and understanding of social movements and civil society organisations in Latin America, and the relationship between the work of social movements and human rights;
  3. Offer insights into the work of human rights practitioners on/in Latin America and its relation to social mobilisation efforts.


Weekly Lectures 

Students are also welcome to discuss their projects and ideas for their assessments in weekly office hours.


  • 3,000 word essay = 70% of the total grade
  • Group presentation = 20% of the total grade
  • Seminar participation = 10% of the total grade