Sociology Department and the NGO and Social Change Major


Sociology Department and the NGO and Social Change Major




(Revised 13 February 2017)

Sociology Department and the NGO and Social Change Major

21 May – 12 June 2017

(New York City from 21 – 28 May – Washington, DC, from 28 May – 12 June)

Program Director:

Dr. Joseph M. Palacios, Lecturer, Sociology Department

/ 202-905-7340


Based primarily in Washington, DC, home to major international aid and economic programs and their U.S. affiliates, this four-week program examines the effects of global NGOS on national policies and international problem-solving, with particular focus on emerging issues of social justice in the context of migration, religious fundamentalism, civil war, international crime, climate change, and economic stagnation and decline. In studying both the foundations and changing landscape of global NGOS and their relation to U.S. public policy and strategies, students will a gain deeper understanding of how this landscape raises new questions of development, environment, health, finance, creative industries, intellectual property, Internet freedom, and the free flow of information and persons across borders. An organizing theme and major focus will be on emerging strategic policy and practices that international NGOS are deploying related to the major social changes around the world and their effects on public policy and practices in the United States.

TheNGOS IN GLOBAL CONTEXTprogram offers students behind-the-scenes visits to UN agencies, international organizations, and NGOs based in Washington, as well as New York City; access to public officials; and, insights into NGO processes, policies, and strategies. Students will also network with practitioners and academic experts through workshops, simulations, trips, cultural activities, discussions, and classroom lectures.

TheNGOS IN GLOBAL CONTEXTcounts asfour (4) creditsfor USC students. Students in the NGO and Social Change major may use this course as fulfillment or extension of the Practicum (SOCI 450) requirements.


  • Develop an understanding of what NGOs and Non-Profits are, what they do, how they are organized and how they relate to civil society, government, and the economy.
  • Develop a critical understanding of globalization, global society, and transnationalism.
  • Develop a grounding in Social Movement theory and methodology, as well as Political Opportunity Structure theory.
  • Provide a practical and hands-on framework and experience in international, national, and local NGOs and their inter-connections.


The following are the key elements of that structure the course:

  1. At the end of Spring Semester 2017, there will be a two-day intensive seminar at USC to review the purpose and requirements of the course, to get acquainted with all the participants, and to share the expectations of all of the participants. Prior to the two-day seminar students should submit information regarding the following:
  2. What is your topical interest related to NGOs?
  3. Are there particular NGOs in DC and New York that you want to visit?
  4. Are there particular cultural activities you would like to experience?
  5. Other interests you may have in DC and New York?
  1. Five days in New York City and three weeks in Washington, DC, involving a daily one-hour seminar on the readings for the day and expectations for morning and afternoon visits to DC-based U.S. national and international NGOs, so that the students can address the following while they are visiting the NGO. There will also be excursions to New York City NGOs. The NGO visits will address the following questions:
  2. What is the history and the mission of the NGO?
  3. What is the need that the NGO is fulfilling and who are the people the NGO serves?
  4. How does the NGO frame its opportunities for change?
  5. How does the NGO frame its mission and what are the discourses they use, such as structural change, charity, political, religious, ethical, social justice, etc.?
  6. What are the ‘deliverables’ of the NGO?
  7. How does the NGO intersect and relate to international NGOs and local U.S. issues/needs?
  8. What NGOs does the NGO connect to other international centers and organizations?
  1. At the end of the course, there will be a one-day intensive seminar to review what the students experienced and for each student to give a short presentation on what his or her final paper or project will be about.


  1. Prior to arrival in New York City and Washington, DC, students will select a specific research question that corresponds to the purpose of the program. The research proposal will be submitted by 5 May 2017 and will include: the research issue and a specific research question; a literature review of the issue; a statement regarding what international NGO is related to the issue and question; how the issue has both a U.S. and an international NGO relationship; and what you hope to explore while in DC, particularly agencies and persons that can useful for the research. During the time in Washington the goal is to help each student make the connections related to their proposals and to design lectures and experiences to fulfill these needs. Each student will prepare a PowerPoint Presentation of their research or equivalent by 14 June, 2017 in order to receive a grade for the course. (50% of the final grade.)
  1. Attendance at one-day intensive seminar at USC at end of the Spring Semester 2017.
  1. Attendance and active participation at the daily seminar and the NGO experiences in NY and DC. (20% of the final grade.)
  1. Submission of a weekly reflection paper based on the thematic question of the week. (5 reflection papers worth 6% each for a total of 30% of the final grade.)


The program costincludes travel insurance, double or triple occupancy rooms,some meals, and some administrative expenses. Each student is responsible for their own transportation to and from Washington, most meals, and other individual expenses not necessarily associated with the program.

The program cost for 2017 is estimate below.

  • Airfare: $400—$500
  • DC Housing: $675 ($37 per day, 16 days, $83/14% tax)

At the present time housing will be at George Washington University’s Foggy Bottom location, which is in walking distance to most of the NGO sites that we will visit.

  • NY Housing: $277 ($235/week, $42/18% tax)

At the present time housing will bethe Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, which is close to subway and bus lines we will visit. Midtown Manhattan is a 30 minute subway ride from Pratt.

  • Meals: $600 ($25 per day, 24 days)
  • Inclusive Travel Expenses (New York to DC): $50
  • NY and DC Public Transportation, Taxis, Uber: $200














F Below 64

Regardless of exam and assignment grades, I reserve the right to lower your final grade for excessive absences. I also reserve the right to adjust final grades upward on the basis of strong class participation.


  1. Communication Etiquette:
  • E-Mail: When you send e-mail to Professor Palacios you must have a title in the e-mail, a salutation, clear information on what you are asking, and a signature. I will not respond to you if any of these elements are missing. Please, no text messages.
  • Professor Availability: I am available during my office hours. Outside of office hours students can reach me by either e-mail or phone during normal business hours (9:00am – 5:00pm) Monday through Friday. Do not expect an e-mail or phone response beyond those hours nor on weekends.
  1. Plagiarism Safeguards:

Students agree that by taking this course all required papers may be subject to submission for a Textual Similarity Review to SafeAssign (a Blackboard service) for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers will be added as source documents in the SafeAssign reference database solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of such papers in the future. Use of the SafeAssign service is subject to the terms of use agreement posted on the SafeAssign site.

  1. Cheating, Obscene Conduct, etc., Consequences:
  • Cheating, plagiarism (including plagiarism in a student publication), or engaging in other academic dishonesty.
  • Dishonesty; forgery; alteration or misuse of college documents, records or

identification; or knowingly furnishing false information to the District.

  • Unauthorized entry upon or use of college facilities.
  • Lewd, indecent or obscene conduct or expression on college-owned or controlled property, or at college sponsored or supervised functions.
  • Engaging in expression which is obscene, libelous or slanderous, or which so incites students as to create a clear and present danger of the commission of

unlawful acts on college premises, or the violation of lawful college

regulations, or the substantial disruption of the orderly operation of the


  • Persistent, serious misconduct where other means of correction have failed to bring about proper conduct.
  • Unauthorized preparation, giving, selling, transfer, distribution, or publication, for any purpose, including commercial, of any contemporaneous recording of an academic presentation in a classroom or equivalent site of instruction, including, but not limited to, handwritten or type- written class notes, except as permitted by any district policy or administrative procedures.

Students are guaranteed the rights of due process when charged with a violation of conduct standards. Copies of the Academic Dishonesty Sanctions Guidelines are available online at:

  1. Disabilities Accommodation:

If you believe you have a disability, then you should contact the office of the Disability Services and Programs (DSP) at 3601 Watt Way, Grace Ford Salvatori Hall, 120, (213.740.0776) for further information. This is the campus office responsible for reviewing documentation provided by students with disabilities and for determining reasonable accommodations in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the College’s policies.


Bebbington, Anthony J., Samuel Hickey, and Diania C. Mitlin, editors. 2007. Can

NGO’s Make a Difference? The Challenge of Development Alternatives. New York: Zed Books.

Lang, Sabine. NGOs, Civil Society, and the Public Sphere. 2014. New York:

Cambridge University Press.


DeMars, William E. 2005. NGOs and Transnational Networks: Wild cards in world politics. London and Ann Arbor, MI: Pluto Press.

Eliasoph, Nina. 2013. The Politics of Volunteering. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Keck, Margaret E., and Kathryn Sikkink. 1998. Activists Beyond Boundaries. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Lichterman, Paul. 1996. The Search for Political Community: American activists reinventing commitment. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press.

Ritzer, George, and Paul Dean. 2014. Globalization A Basic Text. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Black.

Swidler, Ann and Susan Cotts Watkins. 2009. “’Teach a Man to Fish’: The

Sustainability Doctrine and Its Social Consequences”. World Development.



9:00-10:00amDaily Seminar

10:30am-12:00pmMorning NGO Visit


2:00-3:30pmAfternoon NGO Visit

3:30-4:30pmCoffee and Discussion

5:00pmEvenings Free or Cultural Outing


Late April: One-Day Intensive Seminar at USC

May 20/21: Travel to New York City

May 21/22: Getting to know NY

WEEK 1, May 22-28: New York City

Thematic: Basics of NGOs and Role in Civil Society, Government, and Economics; International NGOs and Policy-Making, Development Issues

Background: Globalization Theory

Background: Civil Society Theory

Reading: LANG, Chapters 1 through 5

May 27-29: Memorial Day Three Day Weekend

May 28: Travel to Washington, DC

May 29: Memorial Day, Getting to know DC

WEEK 2, May 28-June 3: Washington, DC

Thematic: Challenges Facing NGOs, “NGOization,” and Advocacy Role

Background: Social Movement Theory

Reading: BEBBINGTON, Chapter 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

WEEK 3, 4-10 June: Washington, DC

Thematic: NGO Networks, Governance, and Public Accountability

Background: Networking Theory

Reading: LANG, Chapters 6 and 7

BEBBINGTON, Chapters 6 through 16

June 9: One-day intensive integration seminar with individual student presentations of their research followed by a dinner celebration in DC.

June 12: Final Grade Submission

June 12/13: Return to Home Locations


NGOs Global Context, 2017