Social Movements

Social Movements Essay #1

Directions: Please choose one of the following essay topics and write a 5-7 page paper. Your essay should have a main argument (thesis) and be supported by direct evidence from at least 3 assigned texts (i.e., using direct quotations as well as your explanations of concepts). In the paper, you should explain theoretical concepts as though your reader was another student enrolled in a sociology course, but has yet to cover this material.

Explain each concept that helps support your argument, and cite readings directly if you use a quotation or specific example that is not your own. Use as many examples and quotes from the assigned material as possible to support your argument. YOU MAY NOT QUOTE OR COPY MY SLIDES. Power Points are provided to assist you with the material, but the papers should reflect your own analysis of the assigned material.

Format: Papers should be typed in Times New Roman, 12 point font, double spaced with 1 inch margins. Include page numbers. You should provide a work cited page and cite consistently using APA, MLA, or Chicago style throughout your paper. Your heading and title should mimic the heading of this paper assignment, with your name in place of the due date.
Paper Options (choose 1):

What is a social movement?

What are the necessary components for something to be considered a social movement? Explain each of these components and explain why they are necessary for the activity to be considered a social movement.
a. What determines the success of a movement?
b. What contributes to the failure of a movement?
c. What is the goal of a social movement?


the #TakeAKnee campaign a social movement? Why or why not?
a. Introduce, define, and explain the necessary components of a social movement and argue whether or not you think #TakeAKnee should be considered a social movement.
b. What are the frames &counterframes of this movement?
c. How has Nike’s sponsorship of Colin Kaepernick contributed to or detracted from the goals of this movement?
d. What is necessary for the movement to be successful?

Unity vs Specificity.

The Occupy Movement argued that by using “the inclusive framework of the “99%”with no formal list of demands, it was “easy for people to participate.” What were some pros and cons of this structure?
a. What are the necessary components of a social movement? Define, describe, and apply these components to the Occupy Wall Street and argue whether or not it qualified as a social movement.
b. Participants argued that the Occupy movement was “post-identity” movement that did not “deal with ‘isms’”. What are the consequencesof this choice?

4. Recruitment. How are participants recruited into social movements? Drawing from 2-3 different movements we have read about in class, describe the following processes:
a. How did these different movements go about recruiting participants? How are pathways similar or different based upon biographical details and life strategies?
b. What frames were used to sustain their participation? Did all members share the same frame or were there multiple?
c. How were collective identities used to recruit and sustain members?
d. Did the movement build upon other movements and their memberships? To what effect?
e. Was emotion used in recruitment?

Emotions & Social Movements.

Do emotions facilitate or thwart social movement efforts?
a. Choose a social movement to analyze and discuss the different elements that constitute the action as a social movement and outline how emotions have been used.
b. How were emotions tied to frames? Strategies / tactics? Identities?
c. Was the use of emotion calculated and rational or unstructured and spontaneous?
d. What were the consequences of its use?

6. Choose a topic of your own. If you would like to write on another topic, please email me your topic idea by Monday, September 17th and we can discuss its feasibility.

Reading Essay Grading Criteria

I have high expectations for your written work. Your essays will be graded according to their content, structure, use of language, and formatting. I will use the following elements as a guide to evaluate your written essays. Each essay is worth 50 points.

An “A” essay…
• Addresses the topic of the assignment fully and explores each aspect thoughtfully.
• Has a clear and substantial thesis.
• Shows substantial depth, fullness and complexity of thought.
• Expresses ideas clearly and commands the reader’s attention.
• Demonstrates clear, unified, and coherent organization.
• Is fully developed and detailed with ideas supported by persuasive reasons and well chosen examples or references to class material.
• Has a superior style (interesting sentence patterns, smooth transitions between ideas, excellent use of vocabulary).
• Has few, if any, minor errors in grammar, usage, or mechanics.

A “B” essay…
• Addresses and explores each aspect of the assignment in a satisfactory way.
• Has a clear thesis explored adequately in the essay.
• Shows clarity of thought, but may treat the topic simplistically or repetitively.
• Clearly communicates ideas.
• Is adequately organized.
• Is developed with sufficient examples, reasoning, or references for most of the ideas.
• Has an adequate style (some variety in sentence patterns, transitions between most ideas, vocabulary accurate for the most part).

• Has some errors in grammar, usage or mechanics.

A “C” essay:
• Inaccurately responds to or neglects part of the assignment.
• Has a simplistic thesis that may show limited knowledge of the issues.
• Demonstrates a lack of focus or confused, stereotyped, or simplistic thinking.
• May not always communicate ideas clearly.
• Is ineffectively organized.
• May not provide adequate or appropriate details or references to support generalizations, or may provide details without generalizations.
• Has stylistic weaknesses (little variety in sentence patterns, few transitions, imprecise vocabulary).
• Has occasional major errors in grammar, usage or mechanics or frequent minor errors.

A “D” essay:
• Indicates confusion about the assignment or neglects important aspects of assignment.
• Has an unclear or confusing thesis which shows little understanding of the assignment or which demonstrates a misinterpretation of the assignment.
• Demonstrates confused thinking.
• Often fails to communicate ideas clearly.
• Has very weak organization.
• Has very little development of ideas; uses very few examples or references to support points.
• Has an ineffective style (monotonous or fragmented sentence structure, no transitions, simplistic or inaccurate vocabulary).
• Has many repeated errors in grammar, usage or mechanics.

An “F” essay:
• An indication of an inability to comprehend or respond meaningfully to the assignment.
• No thesis or has an incomprehensible thesis.
• Deliberately off-topic.
• An inability to communicate ideas clearly.
• Incoherent organization.
• Incomplete or inappropriate development of ideas.
• Incoherent style (difficulties with sentence structure, pattern of vocabulary errors).
• Pervasive pattern of errors in grammar, usage and mechanics.
If you have any questions regarding my grading process, please feel free to see me.

Last Updated on September 20, 2019