STV4323 – Protest, Mobilization and Revolution

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Choose semester

Course content

When do ordinary people take to the streets, in defiance of powerful actors and authorities? When does their collective action fail and when does it succeed? What methods and sources can political scientists draw on to study contentious politics and its protagonists? This course takes up these and other questions using theories and case studies from comparative politics and political sociology. Lectures and seminar readings range widely in subject matter – from the diffusion of mass protest to the backgrounds of rioters. The emphasis is on familiarizing students with the dynamics of protest and mobilization in a variety of contexts.

Learning outcome


The course aims to provide students with an opportunity to engage with a range of debates surrounding collective protest and mass mobilization. In particular, students will be able to:

  • Account for the origins of the modern social movement, and explore the differences between ‘premodern’ protest and protest in contemporary societies
  • Explain how protest tactics are invented and how they are spread
  • Be familiar with the social conditions that produce activism
  • Be able to assess the relationship between repression and mobilization
  • Know the changing nature of revolution and assess the efficacy of nonviolent tactics
  • Account for the relationship between collective protest and democratization
  • Reflect critically on the uses of terror and terrorism as analytic categories in the study of contentious politics


The course will also provide students with a range of core transferable skills:

  • The capacity to analyse and explain competing theories, concepts, frameworks using empirical evidence
  • The ability to think independently and to address complex problems through the application of different conceptual and analytical toolkits
  • The development and formulation of personal views and arguments, and the ability to present and communicate these concisely to peers
  • The identification and sourcing of secondary literature and primary research material in the relevant area
  • The organisation and time management of assessed and non-assessed work to clear deadlines

General competences

After completing the course, students will be able to demonstrate:

  • Familiarity with a range of empirical research designs used in the study of protest and non-institutional collective action
  • An ability to analyze and interpret research that draws on both qualitative and quantitative methodologies
  • Competence in primary data collection, and in particular, the compilation of event catalogs


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

Students enrolled in other Master's Degree Programmes can, on application, be admitted to the course if this is cleared by their own study programme.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.

Apply for guest student status if you are admitted to another Master's programme.


10 lectures (2 hours each) and 1 seminar (2 hours) for student project presentations.

Compulsory activities

To gain access to the term paper, students must complete two compulsory activities.

1) Reading notes – to be submitted on Canvas.

Students must read and think about all assigned material. Readings are available on Canvas. Prior to each reading, should consult the reading questions that will orient them to the main points we will be drawing out of each text.

For each reading, students should summarize the main point(s) of the argument in one sentence, one sentence on the empirical evidence that the article draws on concepts, and one quote that you find interesting and useful. These reading notes will encourage students to read actively, rather than passively, and will serve as an index to the readings when students review the course material for the term paper.

Deadline for first reading note is before the lecture starts. Information on deadlines can be found in Canvas.

Reading Notes Format:

1) Title and author:

2) Summarize the gist of the piece in your own words

3) Identify the empirical evidence that the piece draws on

4) Useful or interesting quote

Students must submit at least 7 research reading notes.

2 ) Class presentations

Working in pairs (or more), students will take it in turns to present the week’s readings using a Powerpoint template available on the course’s Canvas page (populate the slides for research question, theory, evidence, findings, and reflections).


Term Paper 

  • Students will create their own codebook and collect event data for an episode of protest. 
  • Students will then analyze their data and write up their findings using concepts from the course. 
  • The codebook, event catalogue, and findings will be submitted as one PDF document to Inspera. 
  • Total word count for the codebook and essay is 4,000 words (the event catalogue is not included in the word count).

To prepare for the summative project, we will devote a lecture to locating and coding event data. We will have a seminar at the end of the course where students present and receive feedback on their projects.

Digital examination

The written examination is conducted in the digital examination system Inspera. You will need to familiarize yourself with the digital examination arrangements in Inspera.

Read more about written examinations using Inspera.

Language of examination

You may write your examination paper in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






Spring 2021

This course is not given on a regular basis


Spring 2021

This course is not given on a regular basis

Teaching language