Political change and opposition
Course infoSchedule
Course moduleSOW-SOB2040
Credits (ECTS)6
CategoryB2 (Second year bachelor)
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byRadboud University; Faculty of Social Sciences; Sociology;
PreviousNext 1
dr. S. Azabar
Other course modules lecturer
R.A. Kollar, MSc
Other course modules lecturer
prof. dr. C.H.B.M. Spierings
Other course modules lecturer
prof. dr. C.H.B.M. Spierings
Other course modules lecturer
prof. dr. C.H.B.M. Spierings
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2023
PER4  (08/04/2024 to 12/07/2024)
Starting block
Course mode
Registration using OSIRISYes
Course open to students from other facultiesYes
Waiting listNo
Placement procedure-
We designed the course in such a way that after active participation in this course, you should be able to:
  • reproduce and explain on Inglehart’s Modernization and Postmodernization theory;
  • reflect upon the interrelatedness of political, cultural, economic and technological change; and
  • understand and explain topical political issues from a perspective of societal change.

Rising populism, protest, de-democratization, social media, woke campaigns, voter fraud, referendums, polarization, citizen’s juries, rewriting colonial histories, new parties, terrorism, religious revival – it seems as if we are in the midst of a political storm. Constantly, power relations and political configurations are changing, for better or worse, and these changes certainly rouses opposition.

The funny thing is that it might seem that these are the most challenging and hectic times in recent history, but actually the current developments are part of larger economic, cultural and technological patterns. Often, they echo distant developments, and they can be understood much better if one takes a few steps back. And that is what we will do in this course: learn to take a few step backs and consider how politics of today is part of larger cultural, economic, and technological developments.

Which topical issues we discuss is to a large extent up to you. Of course, there are some perimeters: (a) it should be about politics, from a sociological perspective and (b) our focus will be on Western industrialized societies (mainly, the Netherlands in comparative West-European perspective). Having that said, the larger perspective taught in this course is applicable to any region or society, and we are happy to accommodate side steps from the main focus.

The last years this lead to discussing the following themes:
  • new parties
  • political participation
  • conspiracy thinking
  • LGBTIQ+ politics
  • social media
  • electoral systems
  • representation: gender & ethnicity
  • polarization
  • Islam in politics

This course connects to SDG 5, Gender Equality; SDG 10, Reduced Inequalities; SDG 16, Peace and justice.
This course is taught at a general bachelor's level. It is designed to be challenging, but of course putting in the expected 168 hours (for a 6 credit course) should on average be sufficient for learning a lot (and passing the course).

With authorization of the relevant board of examination the examination could be lifted to a master level. It is up to the individual user to arrange this, not the course coördinator, but we very much welcome motivated students!

Presumed foreknowledge
Given the level of self study, you should be able to plan that at a weekly base. Otherwise, we do not requite specific skills or knowledge.
Test information
A multiple choice exam (which focuses on application too, not just reproduction) should be passed (5.5),
The first half of the course is focused on reading and discussing the book. (How often do you get the chance to really read an academic book and discuss it with fellow students as part of a course? Great fun!). This does imply, however, that until we arrive at the topical lectures, the course is not lecture-based. Partaking in the discussion sessions is not mandatory, but highly recommended. Therefore we suggest you check whether our course schedule fits your agenda. In the same vein, throughout the course you need to plan time for reading, otherwise the sessions are far less effective. Roughly 8 to 10 hours self study a week is expected.
Required materials
Next to be book, of which we read most chapters, about seven or eight additional chapters/articles will be part of literature. These are based on the themes that are selected during the course and will thus be announced at a later moment. Via either the RU library or Brightspace they will become available.
Title:Modernization and postmodernization: Cultural, economic, and political change in 43 societies.
Author:Ronald Inglehart
Publisher:Princeton university press.

Instructional modes
Type of instructional modeLecture

Sustainability certificate


Test weight1
Test typeDigital exam with ANS
OpportunitiesBlock PER4, Block PER4