SOAS University of London

Academic Summer School at SOAS

The Politics of Protest, Development and Social Change (2020 entry)

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Programme Description 

This course provides a critical introduction to the history, nature and impact of global protest. It analyses how social movements, NGOs and other civil society organisations have interacted and influenced each other and how they have globalised. It interrogates the notion of development as economic growth, assesses the critiques against NGOs as alternatives to state-led development models and considers the concept and use of humanitarian intervention in diverse geographical contexts.

For more information, please see the course handbook:  The Politics of Protest, Development and Social Change Handbook (pdf; 156kb)  

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the course, the student should possess:

  • A critical understanding of the key theoretical debates on social movements and NGOs, including an understanding of the various roles these forces play in processes of development and social change.
  • An understanding of the nature and history of social protest since the 1960s.
  • An understanding of the relationships between NGOs and a range of other development actors, including the state, and knowledge of how these relationships have evolved.
  • A capacity to identify, understand and critique a range of theoretical approaches for understanding contemporary social movements, and apply these approaches to practical case studies.


This course is worth 15 credits in the UK system. 15 credits is equivalent to 4 credits in the US system and 7.5 ECTS in the European system. If you intend to transfer credit to your home institution, please check the requirements with them before you apply. We will be happy to assist you in any way we can, however please be aware that the decision to transfer credit rests with your home institution. 

Current SOAS students selecting this course as an open option module will not be charged the tuition-fee. For further information and assistance, please contact

"I was not expecting such in-depth and thought-provoking discussion, and to feel in such a safe and supportive place to voice my opinions. Both Jay and Feyzi's knowledge and passion for the course, their own experiences with protest, really inspired me. They are both amazing people and made everyone feel like their ideas were valuable. If you have a desire to make political change in the world, SOAS will challenge and nurture that passion." - Jessie (The Politics of Protest, Development and Social Change, 2019)


For more information, please fill out our enquiry form

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings

Start of programme: 29 June – 17 July 2020

Mode of Attendance: Full-time

Entry requirements

  • A university student or a graduate at the time of attending the summer school, and 18+ years of age. Professional experience can be acknowledged as equivalent to a university qualification.

Featured events

3 weeks

Tuition Fees 2020

Credit assessed: £1,750

Non-assessed: £1,600



Programme structure:

Week 1: Social movements and development

  • Social movements, states and civil society
  • Neoliberal development and the resurgence of NGOs
  • Contemporary protest and the question of democracy

Week 2: Crisis, humanitarian intervention and the power of labour

  • Imperialism, humanitarianism and anti-imperialism
  • Trade union renewal and social movement unionism
  • Labour organising and the future of work

Week 3: The politics of protest and change

  • Climate crisis and the global climate justice movement
  • Migration, borders and refugees
  • Protest, organisation and the left
  • What kind of social change?

In addition to regular lectures and tutorials, the course will offer a range of activities relating to the academic content to support and enhance learning objectives (e.g. a visit to the protest archives, a walking tour etc.). The Summer School office will arrange various social activities throughout the three weeks. On specified Fridays there will be a range of optional events and workshops for students to get involved with, providing a taste of SOAS life on campus and nearby places of interest.

Advance Reading Materials:

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Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. If you are a current student you can find structure information on the previous year link at the top of the page or through your Department. Please read the important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.

Teaching and Learning

Teaching & Learning

Course Convenor:

Dr Feyzi Ismail

Feyzi has degrees in Philosophy and Social Policy, and completed her PhD in Development Studies at SOAS, where she conducted research on the relationship between NGOs and the left parties in Nepal. She has taught at UCL in Geography and at Goldsmiths in Media, Communications and Cultural Studies. Her research interests include social movements and popular protest, alternatives to neoliberalism and imperialism, labour and migration, and politics and development in Nepal and South Asia. She is on the executive committee of the Britain-Nepal Academic Council and the editorial board of the journal Capital & Class. 

Contact hours:

50 hours (lectures, tutorials, activities). The course will be delivered Monday - Friday over the 3 weeks.

Core hours:

Monday - Friday, 10am-3pm. In addition to regular lectures and tutorials, each course is composed of a range of activities relating to their academic content (e.g. museum visit, company visit etc).


Assessment will be in the form of an essay (70%) and a presentation (30%).

If you have opted to study for credit, you will be required to complete all course assessments. Should you complete the assessments with success, you will receive a transcript confirming your marks and credits. If you have not chosen to study for credit, you will be exempt from any course assignments and not receive a mark. 

Fees and funding

Tuition Fees

Credit-assessed: £1,750

Non-assessed: £1,600

Application fee

A one-off, non-refundable application fee of £40 will be charged to cover administration costs. Please visit the SOAS online store to make your application fee payment.


10% early-bird discount when you apply by 31 March

10% discount if you apply for two courses over 6 weeks

15% discount for SOAS Alumni (including Academic Summer School alumni)

20% discount for our partner institutions

Other discounts are available for groups. Please contact us for more information.


For more information, please see our accommodation page.

Academic Summer School Ambassador Scholarship 2020

The SOAS Academic Summer School is delighted to offer six tuition-fee waiver scholarships to passionate students with a desire to make a difference in the world.

The scholarships will cover the tuition-fee for one Academic Summer School course in 2020. 

Application Deadline: 2020-03-13 00:00

For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section


How to Apply

To secure your place on the Academic Summer School, please apply using our application form.

Once you have paid the £40 application fee and submitted the online application form, you will be informed as to whether you have a place on the summer school within 5 working days. Please do not pay your tuition fee prior to having received your offer letter.

Please see our Ambassador Scholarship page for details regarding scholarship application.

Application Deadline

Applications for the Academic Summer School close on 25th May 2020.

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