SWOA 735
WORK: 410-706-7927
HOURS: MON. 4-6 P.M.; FRI. 12:30-2 p.m. OR BY APPOINTMENT



This course will examine theories of social action and the methods and processes used by challenging groups to bring about social change. Close attention will be paid to the causes and crystallizations of protest; the genesis, growth and sustenance of social movements; strategies and tactics to achieve social goals; and the institutionalization of social change. Where appropriate, current and historical examples of major social movements will be studied in terms of their theoretical foundations or operational mechanisms. Different models of social action will be examined. Attention will be paid to the needed skills to bring about social change. Students will engage in class projects in order to experience macro level social change interventions.


A. Knowledge
1. To assess the variety of methods used to bring about social change.

2. To assess the historical roles played by various social movements and the role of organizers in creating and sustaining collective action.

3. To assess the theoretical and interdisciplinary foundations of the broad movements for social reform and social change in the United States.

4. To assess the differential experiences of social movements which stem from their focus upon the issues of race, sex, social class, age, sexual preference, ability, religion or power.

B. Skills
1. To analyze a social movement regarding its organizational structure, decision-making processes, goals, underlying ideology, strategy and tactics.

2. To work with existing social movement organizations in cooperative efforts to improve existing social services or bring about broader social change.

3. To identify issue analysis, advocacy, lobbying, direct action and coalition building as they apply to the establishment and maintenance of efforts at social reform or social change.

4. To apply critical consciousness to both academic and practice situations and to engage in ongoing reflection on one's practice.

C. Attitudes
1. To compare the different approaches organized groups have adopted in their efforts to promote social reform and social change.

2. To evaluate the role social work activists have played historically and currently in the creation and sustenance of social movements.

3. To respect different approaches to learning and practice situations and a heightened sense of self-awareness regarding one's own style of learning and responding to practice situations.

4. To be confident as a social change agent in a variety of settings.

D. Outcomes

Upon completion of the course, the graduate can:

1. Apply theory and knowledge of the history of the profession and of movements to enhance one's judgment as a change agent.

2. Perform as part of a multi-disciplinary team engaged in social reform with clarity on what social work brings to the intervention.

3. Draw upon models of social change for appropriate elements in a particular situation and for citizen involvement vehicles.

4. Assess the probability of success in intra- and interorganizational change efforts and in collective action.

5. Employ a repertoire of skills such as lobbying, testifying, public speaking, advocacy, and coalition building.

6. Make appropriate decisions on when to seek out the skill of others or do litigation or investigation.

7. Conduct an issue strategy analysis, make a plan of action, and coordinate roles and leadership with affected groups.

8. Select and execute social action projects and campaigns with respect for differences ranging from homelessness to sexual orientation.


Information sharing, small and large group discussion, role playing, experiential exercises, films, and field trips. All students are expected to be active participants and learners in the classroom setting.


Assigned classroom articles.

Albert, D. (1985). People power: Applying nonviolence theory. Philadelphia: New Society Publishers.

Hayes, K. S. & Mickelson, J. S. (1997). Affecting change: Social workers in the political arena - 3rd Ed. New York: Longman.

Moyer, B. (1987). Movement action plan. San Francisco: Social Movement Empowerment Project.

Moyer, B. (1986). Practical strategist. San Francisco: Social Movement Empowerment Project.

Richan, W. C. (1991). Lobbying for social change. New York: Haworth Press.

Thoreau, H. D. (1970). Civil disobedience. New York: Washington Square Press.

1. Readings/Class Attendance/Summary Analyses

For each reading other than Moyer's, I want no more than a 2-3 page summary analysis of the book and a 1 page analysis summary of an article. State the author(s) major thesis, his or her supporting points, your criticism (if any), and any implications for social action and/or social work. These are due the week after each reading.

2. Social Movement Paper or Social Action Policy Brief
(Idea due Feb. 19, paper due Apr.30)

a) Write a 15-20 page APA style, properly referenced paper on the social movement of your choice. You are to analyze the movement using Bill Moyer's Movement Action Plan, drawing on at least 10 outside sources. All papers are to be grammatically correct, contain no spelling errors, and have no APA reference errors. Please refer to the APA manual as needed. If you need a topic suggestion, please speak to me.

b) Write a 15-20 page policy brief, properly referenced, as described by Richan on pages 168-181. Same ground rules as above.

3. Group/Individual Social Action Project (Due May 9)
During the course of the semester, students will be organized into a social action group(s) and work on influencing and/or solving a local, state, or federal issue or problem. The group will write up a five-page summary of their efforts, and each student will hand in a two-page description of what he or she learned from the effort.

The instructor will grade students in consultation with the student. Grades will be weighted as follows: 15% class attendance, reading, and participation; 15% for the book/article summaries; 50% for the social movement paper, and 20% for the groups social action project. Grades will be assigned according to the standard UMAB system:

A = Excellent B = Good C = Fair D = Poor F = Failure



Pick Group Social Action Project(s)

Required Readings:

Required Readings:

Coover et al.: "The Theoretical Basis for Change," Resource manual for a living revolution. Philadelphia: New Society Publishers, pp. 8-21.

Lipsky: Protest as a Political Resource. American Political Science Review, 62,( ), pp. 1144-58.

Mondros & Wilson: Organizing for Power and Empowerment. New York: Columbia University Press. Ch. 10, "The Pursuit of Empowerment," pp. 227-251.


Guest Speaker (Tentative)

Required Readings:

Richan: Intro., Chaps. 1-4, pp. 21-104
Richan: Chaps. 5-8, pp. 105-219

*Social Movement paper idea due

Required Readings:
Richan: Chaps. 9-11, Appendix, pp. 221-338

Moyer: Movement Action Plan

Moyer: The Practical Strategist

Required Readings:
Thoreau: Civil Disobedience: Essay Only
Required Reading:
Handouts (ON RESERVE)

Albert: People Power-all

Required Reading:

Hayes Forward, Chaps. 1-3, pp. 1-53

IX. Mar. 26: SEMESTER BREAK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Required Reading:


Required Reading:

Hayes Chaps. 4-6, pp. 57-105

Class field visit to Washington, D.C. (Tentative)

Required Readings:

Hayes:Chaps. 7-9, pp. 107-154

Video: Eyes on the Prize

Required Reading:

*Cooney & Michalowski: Ch. 8, "The Civil Rights Movement," The power of the people: Active nonviolence in the United States. Philadelphia: New Society Publishers,pp. 150-175.


Hayes Chaps. 10-12, pp. 156-196

Video: Making Sense of the Sixties

Required Reading:

*Cooney & Michalowski: Ch. 10, "The Peace Movement," pp. 182-209


Video: Before Stonewall

Required Reading:

Blumenfeld & Raymond: Ch. 6, "History of Lesbian and Gay Movement Politics," Looking at gay and lesbian life. New York: Philosophical Library, pp. 272-319.


*Social Movement or Policy Brief papers due

Required Reading:
Wagner: Radical Movements in the Social Services: A theoretical framework. Social Service Review, pp. 264-284.
Required Reading:





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Albert, D. (1985). People power: Applying nonviolence theory. Philadelphia: New Society Publishers.

Alinsky, S. (1970). John L. Lewis: An unauthorized biography. New York: Vintage.

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Bachmann, S. (1984-85). Lawyers, law and social change. Lawyers and Social Change, XIII(1), 1-50.

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Chafetz, J.S. Dworkin, A.G. (1986). Female revolt: Women's movements in world and historical perspective. Totowa, NJ: Rowan & Alanheld.

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