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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 15/12/2022 13:38:16

Title of Module: Social Activism and Social Justice

Code: SOCY10033 SCQF Level: 10
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 20 ECTS: 10
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Education & Social Sciences
Module Co-ordinator:Rebecca  Gordon

Summary of Module

Globally, people stand together in struggles to create a better world. Social justice movements refer to forms of collective action that seek to challenge oppression and transform society. The overall objective of this module is to provide students with a theoretically informed understanding of these movements, and historical and contemporary attempts to achieve social justice and social change.

This interdisciplinary module will use an intersectional approach to explore social activism and leadership on issues of social justice globally. It will introduce and examine theories associated with human rights and social justice and leadership – both political and grassroots – alongside theories of social movements and protests. Case studies of particular social justice movements are prioritised with an examination of some important cross-cutting issues. Examples of social movements covered will include anti-capitalist, feminist, racial justice, climate justice, LGBTIA+ liberation, drawing on both historical and contemporary global case studies. 

This module also encourages you to think critically in the face of social injustice. To ask questions like: Who is benefitting from this injustice? What are the basic assumptions at work that allow this injustice to continue? Whose voices are privileged in conversations about this injustice? Whose voices are silenced or left out? How does this affect activism to address these issues?

Module Delivery Method
Face-To-FaceBlendedFully OnlineHybridCHybridOWork-based Learning
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Term used to describe the traditional classroom environment where the students and the lecturer meet synchronously in the same room for the whole provision.

A mode of delivery of a module or a programme that involves online and face-to-face delivery of learning, teaching and assessment activities, student support and feedback. A programme may be considered “blended” if it includes a combination of face-to-face, online and blended modules. If an online programme has any compulsory face-to-face and campus elements it must be described as blended with clearly articulated delivery information to manage student expectations

Fully Online
Instruction that is solely delivered by web-based or internet-based technologies. This term is used to describe the previously used terms distance learning and e learning.

Online with mandatory face-to-face learning on Campus

Online with optional face-to-face learning on Campus

Work-based Learning
Learning activities where the main location for the learning experience is in the workplace.

Campus(es) for Module Delivery
The module will normally be offered on the following campuses / or by Distance/Online Learning: (Provided viable student numbers permit)
Paisley:Ayr:Dumfries:Lanarkshire:London:Distance/Online Learning:Other:
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Term(s) for Module Delivery
(Provided viable student numbers permit).
Term 1check markTerm 2


Term 3


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Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

L1. Students will have a theoretically informed and conceptually grounded understanding of social justice, movements, and activism.

L2. Students will gain a deeper knowledge and understanding of social justice issues and the varied ways that marginalised groups have mobilised to challenge prevailing social attitudes and to demand a redistribution of power and resources and explore their position in relation to these issues.

L3. Students will in a position to apply their knowledge and understanding to develop arguments and critical perspectives on the dynamics of social justice movements and the challenges they confront locally and globally

L4. Students will demonstrate the ability to compare and contrast between case studies in order to generate original, well-researched and evidence-based suggestions to approach one social justice related topic

Employability Skills and Personal Development Planning (PDP) Skills
SCQF Headings During completion of this module, there will be an opportunity to achieve core skills in:
Knowledge and Understanding (K and U) SCQF Level 10.

The specific knowledge and understanding that students gain from this module will be highly relevant and useful in terms of employability and their PDP skills. The module deliberately adopts an interdisciplinary perspective and employers are increasingly interested in such skillsets, especially when applied to highly topical concerns such as social activism and social justice. Students will be equipped with both conceptual and empirical knowledge on such matters and will be able to appreciate and develop responses and approaches to tackle contemporary issues.

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 10.

Students will be required to apply/relate their theoretical and conceptual understandings on intersectionality and social justice for the global case study examples. This applied/practice knowledge and understanding will also be tested through seminar discussions, students’ reflective journal and in the Meet the Activists session at the end of the module. Students will also be expected to apply knowledge and understanding from practice-based work in their Action Plan.

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 10.

For this module, students will be required to draw on several key generic cognitive skills such as sustained and selective attention, as well as logic and reasoning skills and visual/auditory processing skills. These skills will be required for lectures, seminars, and assessment work. Students in seminars, in particular, will be tested on their abilities with regard to critical reading/research skills and ability to present written and oral reports on topics being discussed.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 10.

Students will be tested via three assessments. The essay will demonstrate their ability to communicate and critically engage with complex and contested ideas and theories regarding social justice. The Action Plan will support students’ ability to communicate ideas and recommendations to a policy audience and strengthen their capacity to build a persuasive argument. Finally, the reflective journal will encourage them to engagement in critical self-reflection and the skills of communicating this reflection in a public setting.

Students will need to make full use of ICT resources at their disposal to prepare for seminars and the three assessments.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 10.

Students will work alone for all assessments, with guidance from the module coordinator and wider teaching team. This will involve utilising theory to examine a particular issue of social justice, considering leadership and intersectionality in the development of policy and practice and reflecting on their own engagement with the module. Students will be individually accountable for their submissions. Students will also work with the teaching team in live lectures, as well as with each other in seminar discussions. This will involve group work and discussions which examine global case studies (please see the lecture outline).

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

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Learning and Teaching
Learning Activities
During completion of this module, the learning activities undertaken to achieve the module learning outcomes are stated below:
Student Learning Hours
(Normally totalling 200 hours):
(Note: Learning hours include both contact hours and hours spent on other learning activities)
Lecture/Core Content Delivery24
Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity5
Asynchronous Class Activity8
Independent Study163
200 Hours Total

**Indicative Resources: (eg. Core text, journals, internet access)

The following materials form essential underpinning for the module content and ultimately for the learning outcomes:

There are no core or essential resources for this module, as it covers a wide range of topics and students are encouraged to explore the topics that are most of interest to them. The module has a number of recommended or extended readings.

(**N.B. Although reading lists should include current publications, students are advised (particularly for material marked with an asterisk*) to wait until the start of session for confirmation of the most up-to-date material)

Engagement Requirements

In line with the Academic Engagement Procedure, Students are defined as academically engaged if they are regularly engaged with timetabled teaching sessions, course-related learning resources including those in the Library and on the relevant learning platform, and complete assessments and submit these on time. Please refer to the Academic Engagement Procedure at the following link: Academic engagement procedure

Where a module has Professional, Statutory or Regulatory Body requirements these will be listed here:
In line with the Academic Engagement and Attendance Procedure, Students are defined as academically engaged if they are regularly engaged with timetabled teaching sessions, course-related learning resources including those in the Library and on Moodle, and complete assessments and submit these on time. Please refer to the Academic Engagement and Attendance Procedure at the following link: Academic engagement and attendance procedure
For the purposes of this module, academic engagement equates to the following:
All fulltime students (part-time and distant learning students should check with their programme leader for any queries) are required to attend all scheduled classes and participate with all delivered elements of the module as part of their engagement with their programme of study. Consideration will be given to students who have protection under the appropriate equality law. Please refer to UWS Regulations, Chapter 1, 1.64 – 1.67, available at the following link:

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Supplemental Information

Programme BoardSocial Sciences
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelUG Social Sciences - Sociology & Social Policy
ModeratorNicola Hay
External ExaminerA Tresidder
Accreditation Details
Version Number


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Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
Essay (60%), The researching and writing of a 2500-word essay will require students to draw upon their knowledge and understanding of different forms of leadership and movements for social justice.
Action Plan for an NGO/Social Justice Movement (30%) This second assessment will be a 2000-word action plan that will develop ideas for the formation of an NGO or social justice movement.
Reflective Journal (10%) Throughout the module, students will be asked after each lecture to write up to 250 words in their reflective journal as a post-lecture activity
(N.B. (i) Assessment Outcomes Grids for the module (one for each component) can be found below which clearly demonstrate how the learning outcomes of the module will be assessed.
(ii) An indicative schedule listing approximate times within the academic calendar when assessment is likely to feature will be provided within the Student Handbook.)

Assessment Outcome Grids (Footnote A.)

Component 1
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Essaycheck markcheck markcheck mark 600

Component 2
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Report of practical/ field/ clinical work   check mark300

Component 3
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Portfolio of written work check mark  100
Combined Total For All Components100% 0 hours

A. Referred to within Assessment Section above
B. Identified in the Learning Outcome Section above

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  1. More than one assessment method can be used to assess individual learning outcomes.
  2. Schools are responsible for determining student contact hours. Please refer to University Policy on contact hours (extract contained within section 10 of the Module Descriptor guidance note).
    This will normally be variable across Schools, dependent on Programmes &/or Professional requirements.

Equality and Diversity
Aligned with the overall commitment to equality and diversity stated in the Programme Specifications, the module supports equality of opportunity for students from all backgrounds and with different learning needs. Using Moodle, learning materials will be presented electronically in formats that allow flexible access and manipulation of content (part-time and distant learning students should check with their programme leader for any queries). The module complies with University regulations and guidance on inclusive learning and teaching practice. Specialist assistive equipment, support provision and adjustment to assessment practice will be made in accordance with UWS policy and regulations. The University’s Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Policy can be accessed at the following link:

Our partners are fully committed to the principles and practice of inclusiveness and our modules are designed to be accessible to all. Where this module is delivered overseas, local equivalent support for students and appropriate legislation applies.

UWS Equality and Diversity Policy
UWS Equality and Diversity Policy
(N.B. Every effort will be made by the University to accommodate any equality and diversity issues brought to the attention of the School)

2014 University of the West of Scotland

University of the West of Scotland is a Registered Scottish Charity.

Charity number SC002520.