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Activism and Social Change

Student protests, climate strikes, anti-racism rallies and women’s marches are just a few examples of activism today. Large groups of people are finding their way from social media to the streets, campaigning to bring about political or social change in local and international settings. What kind of tactics and strategies do activists employ in articulating interests and claims? And what can we learn from social movement theory about how movements form and how they can be successful in transforming our way of life?

How to apply

Programme at a glance

Academic dates: 5 July - 23 July 2020
Housing dates: 4 July - 25 July 2020
Academic fee: € 1600 read more about what’s included
Housing fee:

€ 600 for a private room with private facilities and a € 75 refundable deposit. For more information, see Housing and practical matters.

Credits: 6 European Credits
Who is this programme for? For current university students (Bachelors) in the arts and social sciences with an interest in urban studies broadly, sociology, anthropology, and social movements over time. Master's students and working professionals are also welcome to apply if they are seeking a theoretical basis.
Academic director: Freek Janssens
Early application deadline: 1 February 2020
Regular application deadline: 1 April 2020

Programme description

In this three week programme, students will examine different forms of protest and resistance and learn about the tactics and strategies of activists and social movements. They will critically apply social movement theory to explain the successes and/or failures of these movements in different social contexts. We will also take advantage of our location and explore Amsterdam as a hotbed for social change in recent history. Participants will learn about the squatter and LGBT movements of the 70s and 80s, the occupy movement (as it occurred globally and in the Netherlands), and the various protest movements that are emerging in Amsterdam today.

Apart from developing a thorough theoretical understanding of classical explanatory frameworks within the field of urban sociology, students will also gain practical research skills by conducting small-scale qualitative research on a current movement in the Netherlands. We will also pay attention to global student protests and the role that universities can play in raising awareness for broad intersectional issues such as climate change, racism and economic inequality.

This programme will be divided into three themes from which to examine the topic of protest and resistance, including relevant weekly excursions in Amsterdam and the Netherlands to highlight past and ongoing social movements. We will begin each week from classical approaches, and critically engage with theories at hand. During the middle of the week, guest lecturers and an excursion to a relevant site will help participants understand the complexity of the issues at stake. At the end of each week, participants will collect their findings and record them to build on our "own", better version of the theoretical frameworks that we encounter throughout the programme in a day-long seminar session. 

Get in touch with us at or call +31 (0)20 525 3776.

Activism and Social Change
Mode Short-term
Credits 6 ECTS, 3 weeks
Language of instruction English
Starts in July