Module Identifier IP34820  
Academic Year 2007/2008  
Co-ordinator Dr Jeroen W Gunning  
Semester Semester 1  
Course delivery Lecture   17 x 1 hour lectures  
  Seminars / Tutorials   5 x 1 hour seminars  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essay  40%
Semester Exam2 Hours  60%

Learning outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to.

1. Evaluate the theoretical and conceptual difficulties of studying an Islamist movement such as Hamas.
2. Demonstrate an understanding of the main theoretical strands within social movement theory, Islamism studies and 'terrorism' studies and situate them within the broader fields of Political Studies and International Relations.
3. Critically discuss different theoretical accounts of the creation and evolution of social movements, Islamist movements and violent movements.
4. Evaluate the applicability of social movement theory, Islamism studies, and 'terrorism' studies to the study of Hamas, and, through this, to Islamist, social or violent movements more generally.
5. Demonstrate, through written work and in seminars, an ability to apply these theoretical perspectives to the specific case of Hamas.
6. Explain the wider political and socio-economic factors against which Hamas emerged and evolved, with a particular emphasis on developments within Palestinian society, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wider region.
7. Demonstrate an ability to situate the evolution of Hamas within relevant wider global trends.

Brief description

This module will discuss different conceptual accounts of the formation, evolution and transformation of social movement organizations, Islamist movements, and organizations using political violence and apply these theoretical perspectives to the case of Hamas. It will explore the strengths and weaknesses of different conceptual approaches and their concomitant methodologies as they apply to Hamas, and Palestine-Israel studies more generally, and use the case of Hamas as a prism for studying wider developments both in the region, and globally. It will consider changes in the international system, including the global resurgence of 'political religion', the end of the Cold War, globalization, the War on Terror, and the internationalization of social movements, and what effect these may have had on a movement such as Hamas.


1 Introduction: Themes, definitions, controversies
2 Context: Islamist resurgence, Arab-Israeli conflict, Palestinian politics
3 Explaining Islamist movements
4 Explaining Islamist violence
5 Islamism and Social Movement Theory (SMT)
6 Themes and methodological issues
7 Origins of Hamas
8 Evolution of Hamas
9 Framing, Ideology and Political Opportunity Structure
10 Authority and decision-making within Hamas
11 Hamas, Political Violence and the Peace Process
12 Hamas and Democracy
13 Hamas in Elections
14 Hamas and Religion
15 Hamas and Modernity
16 Concluding Thoughts: Hamas in Power and Studying Hamas
17 Student Conclusions and Q&A

1 Explaining Islamist movements   
2 Explaining Hamas   
3 Framing, Ideology and Political Opportunity Structure   
4 Hamas, Decision-making and the Peace Process: Role Play   
5 Hamas and Democracy   
6 Hamas and Religion


This module aims to provide students with an understanding of the development of Hamas, and through this with the key theoretical and methodological debates in the fields of Palestine-Israel studies, social movement theory, Islamism studies, and terrorism/political violence studies (both traditional and critical), and how they relate to developments in the social sciences more generally.

Module Skills

Problem solving Independent project work and problem solving will be one central goal of the module; the submission of an essay will require that students develop independent research skills as well as problem solving skills. The need to research and prepare seminar presentations will also enable students to develop independent project skills. The ability of students to solve problems will be developed and assessed by asking them to: adopt differing points of view; organize data and estimate an answer to the problem; consider extreme cases; reason logically; construct theoretical models; consider similar cases; look for patterns; divide issues into smaller problems. A final examination will ensure that an assessment of students' ability to work alone can be undertaken.  
Research skills The submission of an essay will reflect the independent research skills of students. The need to locate appropriate research resources and write up the results will also facilitate research skills. Research preparation for a seminar presentation will also enable the student to develop independent project skills. A final examination will ensure that an assessment of students┬┐ ability to work alone can be undertaken.  
Communication Students will learn how to present their ideas both verbally and in writing and how to how to present their arguments most effectively. They will understand the importance of information and clear communication and how to exploit these. They will know how to use the many sources of information available and how to use the most appropriate form of communication to best advantage. They will learn to be clear in their writing and speaking and to be direct about aims and objectives. They will learn to consider only that which is relevant to the topic, focus and objectives of their argument or discussion. Seminars will be run in groups where oral discussion and presentations will form the main medium of teaching and the emphasis throughout the module will be on student participation and communication.  
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management but within a context of assistance from both the convenor and fellow students alike. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own research and to exercise their own initiative, including searching for sources, compiling reading lists, and deciding (under guidance) the direction of their essay and presentation topics. The need to conduct a seminar presentation and to meet an essay deadline will focus students' attention on the need to manage their time and opportunity resources well.  
Team work Seminars will consist in part of small-group discussion where students will be obliged to discuss as a group the core issues related to seminar topics. Such class room debates and discussions are a vital component of the module learning experience.  
Information Technology Students will be expected to submit their work in word-processed format. Also, students will be encouraged to search for sources of information on the web, as well as seeking sources through electronic information sources (such as Web of Science and OCLC). Students will also be expected to make use of the resources that will be available on the Blackboard VLE.  
Application of Number N/A  
Personal Development and Career planning The discussions in particular will help to develop students' verbal and presentation skills. Learning about the process of planning an essay and a presentation, framing the parameters of the projects, honing and developing the projects and seeing through to completion will contribute towards their portfolio of transferable skills.  
Subject Specific Skills Students have the opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of subject specific skills that help them to understand, conceptualize and evaluate examples and ideas on the module. These subject specific skills include: - Collect and understand a wide range of data relating to the module - Ability to evaluate competing perspectives - Demonstrate subject specific research techniques - Apply a range of methodologies to complex historical and political problems  


This module is at CQFW Level 6