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Power to the People: Social Movements, Activism and Grassroots Organising

Although we are witnessing a rise in protest across the globe, social movements, activism and grassroots organizing have a long history. All forms of domination, oppression or exclusion eventually face collective contention through protest and/or bottom-up alternative structures. However, each protest wave also raises new power-related questions and discourses, introduces new action forms to contend those in power, and new forms of organization to practice internal democracy. In this course we will explore these kinds of citizen and group-led bottom-up initiatives, as they oppose existing institutional arrangements, and provide alternative perspectives.

  • Programme at a glance
    Mode of instruction: On-campus (3 weeks) 
    Academic dates: Sunday 16 June - Thursday 4 July 2024
    Housing dates: Friday 14 June - Monday 8 July 2024 
    Academic fees:

    Student fee:

    €1750. Read more about what is included in the fees

    Professional fee: 

    €2000. Read more about what is included in the fees.

    Housing fees:

    €875 for a private room with shared facilities. Housing is optional. 

    Read more about university-organised accomodation

    Credits: 6 European Credits. Read more about credits and credit transfer.  
    Early admission deadline:

    Thursday 1 February 2024. Applications will be processed throughout the year on a rolling basis.

    Students who require a Schengen Visa to study in the Netherlands are strongly advised to apply before the early deadline to ensure there is enough time to secure a visa appointment before the programme begins.

    Regular admission deadline: Friday 15 March 2024
    Who is this programme for?                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

    Level: Bachelors, Masters and working professionals

    Background: Students should have an experience in the arts and social sciences, with a particular interest in political science, urban studies, sociology, anthropology and various social movements over time. Working professionals who have experience in the above and would like to continue their education in this field are also welcome to apply.

  • Programme description

    This course offers (1) a critical examination of the concepts of ‘people’, ‘power’, ‘social movements and ‘activism, (2) a historical review of key movements in the last century, and through this, (3) also addresses a broad variety of contentious issues ranging from labour to gender and from globalization to migration. In this three week programme, participants will examine bottom-up initiatives ranging from protest movements to self-organised communities as they to disrupt established top-down institutional control, or propose alternatives to it. 

    Where possible, the course will pay specific attention to the local dynamics of these social movements in the city of Amsterdam. Potential topics include squatters’ movement, LGBTQ activism, a self-organised community of undocumented people, a project on alternative (Black) history, an advocacy organisation for sex workers’ rights, and more. The thread throughout the course are the dynamics between people and institutions, viewed from the former’s perspective to recenter narrative attention on people themselves. 

    The course starts with a thorough overview of social movement theory and work on collective action. Subsequently, we will offer methodological tools to study bottom-up initiatives, after which we will combine the theories and methods to zoom-in on a the range of case studies. 

  • Academic director

    Currently, we are in the final stages of selecting our Academic Director and will announce shortly. In the meantime, feel free to explore the details of the course and submit your applications. 

  • Explore our community

    Want to get to know more about studying in Amsterdam? Follow us on social media and join our summer community. Get a feel for our summer school vibe and our academic and social community, and learn about studying with us through the eyes of past summer school students. 

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Facts & Figures
6 ECTS, 3 weeks
Language of instruction
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