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COMM 130F Social Movement Communication

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Social protest and organizing for collective action are ongoing communicative practices that fundamentally influence the political, cultural, and economic institutions of our society. According to sociologist Herbert Blumer, social movements can be viewed as collective enterprises to establish a new order of life. Communication theorist Herbert Simons refers to social movements as organized and sustained efforts at securing preferred outcomes by groups at the margins of society. This semester we will devote our attention to how these group efforts and enterprises are constituted, and how their outcomes secured (or defeated) through symbolic action and interpretive processes. Lectures, readings, discussions, and assignments are intended to familiarize you with the history and scope of social movements in the United States, and with the communication strategies and tactics movement activists employ to organize volunteers and supporters, attract favorable media and public attention, petition the government for the redress of grievances, and defeat their opposition.