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State-Social Movements relations in the Andean Region


Admission requirements

The course is open to master students with an interest in the Latin American region. The course is taught in English, unless participants decide unanimously for Spanish. In that case, the powerpoints will be in English, the lectures will be in Spanish and students may choose for English or Spanish for their contribution during the discussions.


In the last decade Latin America has seen the proliferation and empowerment of social movements, from the Zapatista movement in Mexico (in the 90s) to the more recent popular protests observed in Brazil and the student movement in Chili. There has been a growing attention for Latin American social movements for their proven capacity to intervene effectively in the political arena, at local, national and international level. The clear political role social movements have adopted in Latin America, cuestions their conceptualizacion as ‘new social movements’, demanding different theoretical approaches in order to grasp their incidence. At the same time, the academic debate has consistently pointed to the importance of the relation with the state, as the locus of the social movements’ struggles. Indeed, social movements have been key players in the fall and rise of national governments in the region.
The course first introduces the main academic debates on Latin American social movements. Then it takes a ‘dialectical ‘approach to State-Society relations to analyse a series of case studies that illustrate the tensions that are characteristic to the relation between state and social movements: autonomy vs. co-optation, instititutionalized vs. non institutionalized politics, social movements vs. political parties, representative vs. participatory democracy, a.o.
The course is close with an individual paper in which a case study of choice is analysed by one of the tensions presented during the course.

Course objectives

  • To be introduced the main academic debates on Latin American social movements.

  • To comprehend the ‘dialectical’ dynamic that characterizes the relation between social movements and the State.

  • To comprehend the main tensions that define the interaction between social movements and the State.

  • To be able to apply the gained knowledge to the analysis of a case study.



Mode of instruction

Lectures and seminars.

Course Load

10 EC x 28 hrs = 280 hours in total

  • class attendance: 24 hours

  • study of the literature: 75 hours

  • preparation oral presentation: 6 hours

  • Preparation final presentation: 35 hours

  • writing of paper (5000 words): 140 hours

Assessment method

Oral presentation about the literatura material during seminar (pass).
Final presentation on the progress of the analysis of the case study for the writing of the paper (30%)
Final paper of 5000 words, writen under supervisión (70%).

The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.


A resit is only possible in the case that the final grade for the course is a 5 or lower. The components that have been evaluated as insufficient can be resit. The resit for the final presenation entails a short research proposal for the paper of ca. 1500 words. A revised version of the paper can be resubmitted as a resit in case of an insufficient evaluation.

The percentages of the components do not change in the resit.

The papers for the research master should pay more attention to the theoretical framework of their paper and relate the case study to a key debate on Latin American Modernities (discussed in the core courses). To this end, these students will get at least one extra individual meeting focused on theory and a more complex research question.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • providing study materials

Reading list

  • Alvarez, S. et al. (1998) ‘Introduction: The Cultural and the Political in Latin American Social Movements’ en Alvarez et al. , Cultures of Politics and Politics of Cultures. Colorado: Westview Press, pp. 1-29.

  • Bogason, P. y Musso, J.A. (2006) ‘The Democratic Prospects of Network Governance’. American Review of Public Administration, Vol. 36, No. 1, pp. 3-18.

  • Buechler, S. M. (1995) ‘New Social Movement Theories’. Sociological Quarterly, Vol. 36, No. 3, pp. 441-464.

  • Coy, P. G. y Hedeen, T. (2005) ‘A Stage Model of social Movement Co-optation: Community Mediation in the United States’. The Sociological Quarterly, Vol. 46, pp. 405-435.

  • Dagnino, E. et al. (2007) ‘Innovación Democrática en América Latina: Una primera mirada al proyecto democrático-participativo’. Documento presentado en el Seminario Democratic Innovation in the South, San José, Costa Rica, Marzo 5-6 de 2007. (

  • Earle, L. (2013) ‘Drawing the Line between State and Society: Social Movements, Participation and Autonomy in Brazil’. Journal of Development Studies, Vol. 49, No. 1, pp. 56-71.

  • Fleury, S. (2002) ‘El desafío de la gestión de las redes de políticas’. Revista Instituciones y Desarrollo, No. 12-13, pp. 221-247.

  • Foweraker, J. (2001) ‘Grassroots Movements and Political Activism in Latin America: A Critical Comparison of Chile and Brazil’. Journal of Latin American Studies, Vol. 33, No. 4, pp. 839-865.

  • Goldstone, J.A. (2003) ‘Introduction. Bridging institutionalized and noninstitutionalized politcs’ en State, Parties, and Social Movements. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 1-26.

  • Hilmer, J.D. (2010) ‘The State of Participatory’ Democratic Theory’. New Political Science, Vol. 32, No. 1, pp. 43-63.

  • Johnston, H. (2011) ‘The State, Protest and Social Movements’ en States and Social Movements. Cambridge: Polity Press, pp. 1-30.

  • Melucci, A. (1980) “The new social movements: a theoretical approach”. Social Science Information 19: 199-226.

  • Migdal, J.S. (2001) ‘The State in Society approach’ en State in Society. Nueva York: Cambridge University Press, pp. 3-38.

  • Natera Peral, A. (2005) ‘Nuevas estructuras y redes de gobernanza’. Revista Mexicana de Sociología, Vol. 67, No. 4, pp. 755-791.

  • Sørensen, E. (2002) ‘Democratic Theory and Network Governance’. Administrative Theory&Praxis, Vol. 24, No. 4, pp. 693-720.

  • Van Cott, D.L. (2008) ‘Chapter 3. Mayoral leadership and democratic institutional innovation’ en Radical Democracy in the Andes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Yashar, D. J. (2007) ‘Resistance and Identity Politics in an Age of Globalization’. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, No. 610, pp. 160-181.

The complete and definitive literature of the course will be announced in Blackboard before the beginning of the course.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


For questions about the content of the course, you can contact the teacher:
S. Valdivia Rivera

Coordinator of Studies: M.A.G. van Leeuwen MA

Administrations Office: van Wijkplaats


Class attendance is mandatory. Students may miss a maximum of three meetings. Depending on the number of sessions missed, the lecturer may impose complementary assignments in order to meet the requirements of the course.