International relations

Global Resistance: Contesting Capital and Coloniality

Module code: L7090S
Level 6
30 credits in spring semester
Teaching method: Seminar
Assessment modes: Essay, Coursework

This module will introduce students to key events in the recent trajectory of resistance to global order-building, and locate contemporary "global resistance" in historical context.

You will explore the main concepts and theories used to make sense of resistance by scholars, but also by those engaging in struggles themselves (including Marxist, post-structuralist, decolonial and feminist approaches). We will also consider the different political subjects that have been hailed as the locus of emancipatory or revolutionary struggle (e.g. the "anti-globalization movement", the "global working class" or the "multitude").

Rather than assuming that resistance is straightforwardly emancipatory, the module will interrogate the variegated politics of resistance, the ways in which anti-systemic struggles may become entangled in relations of power and the various modes of intervention geared toward repressing, managing or disciplining dissent.

The module will also consider these issues in relation to thematic debates cross-cutting various manifestations of "global resistance": the concept of solidarity and the racialised and gendered politics of resistance. These issues will be explored through discussion of specific instances of dissent to world ordering, including:

  • the global summmit protests of the early 21st century 
  • the emergence of the influential Zapatista movement in Mexico
  • international trade unionism
  • peasant and indigenous struggles over land
  • the more recent phenomena of Occupy Wall Street and anti-austerity protests in Europe.

Module learning outcomes

  • Develop a systematic and critical understanding of the key conceptual debates around the theory and practice of resistance in world politics.
  • Situate understandings of "global resistance" in broader debates around power, capitalism, colonialism
  • Demonstrate a coherent and detailed knowledge of the theoretical and political challenges associated with resistance to capital and coloniality
  • Apply research skills to the analysis of case studies of political dissent