Mobilising Change: Citizens’ Initiatives and Institutional Responses
Course infoSchedule
Course moduleSOW-SCS212
Credits (ECTS)6
CategoryMA (Master)
Language of instructionDutch
Offered byRadboud University; Faculty of Social Sciences; Social and Cultural Sciences;
dr. ir. M. Koster
Other course modules lecturer
dr. ir. M. Koster
Other course modules lecturer
dr. ir. M. Koster
Other course modules lecturer
Contactperson for the course
dr. ir. M. Koster
Other course modules lecturer
dr. L.W.M. Schulpen
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2020
PER1  (01/09/2020 to 01/11/2020)
Starting block
Course mode
Please note: if you do not yet have a master's registration, you are not yet registered for the tests for this course.
Registration using OSIRISYes
Course open to students from other facultiesNo
Waiting listNo
Placement procedure-
  1. You are able to explain, analyse and discuss various aspects of change, citizens’ initiatives and institutional responses, and ensuing debates.
  2. You develop your own critical viewpoints on contemporary dilemmas regarding the mobilisation of change, in relation to concrete events, cases and situations, both in development cooperation and in citizens’ initiatives in postwelfare societies.
  3. You are able to analyse and explain the similarities and differences between the different domains discussed in the course.
  4. You are able to communicate your well-argued understanding of contemporary dilemmas regarding the mobilisation of change both orally and in writing.
In this thematic course you become familiar with debates and dilemmas regarding citizens’ initiatives and institutional responses in different contemporary settings. First, the course problematises the concept of change. What is change? How do inequality and uneven power relations affect, impede or give rise to change? Do we want to contribute to it? And if so, how can we do this? We critically assess the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the notion of active citizenship as possible frameworks for instigating change, both on an individual and a collective level.
Discussing change, we will zoom in on recent developments in two domains:
  1. The increasing role of citizens in development cooperation and the responses by institutional actors. We start from the idea that development cooperation is no longer the prerogative of traditional actors but that citizens (individually and collectively) play a central role. Citizen actions then may range from sharing content on Instagram to sustainable consumerism and from volunteering in the Global South to setting up their own civil society organisation (CSO).
  2. Citizens’ initiatives and responses by the state in European societies. In a context of state withdrawal from many areas of social provision and increasing citizen responsibilization, we look at (voluntary) projects such as food banks, neighbourhood watches, refugee assistance, and social movements. We discuss the shifting state-citizen relationship and its consequences and analyse the tensions between the notions of active citizenship and activism.
 We will discuss, in both domains, the relationships between the state, CSOs and residents in a context of neoliberal governance. What are the arenas around specific projects and what interests play a role? Analysing these arenas and understanding them within the CAOS literature, we will examine questions of representation, professionalisation, informality, inclusion and exclusion, and accountability. At the end of the course, we will discuss similarities and differences between the two domains.
Presumed foreknowledge

Test information
This information will be provided in the course manual, one week before the course starts.

Required materials
All literature (principally: articles or book chapters) will be made available 1 week before the first lecture

Instructional modes
Attendance MandatoryYes

Exact information on this course will be provided in the course manual, one week before the course starts.

Test weight0
Test typeParticipation
OpportunitiesBlock PER1

Test weight0
Test typePresentation
OpportunitiesBlock PER1

Test weight1
Test typePaper
OpportunitiesBlock PER1, Block PER2