New PDF release: Contentious Performances

By Charles Tilly

How will we get inside of renowned collective struggles and clarify how they paintings? Contentious Performances provides a particular method of interpreting such struggles, drawing in particular on incomparably wealthy proof from nice Britain among 1758 and 1834. The publication accomplishes 3 major issues. First, it offers a good judgment and approach for describing contentious occasions, events on which individuals publicly make consequential claims on one another. moment, it indicates how that common sense yields more advantageous motives of the dynamics in such occasions, either separately and within the combination. 3rd, it illustrates its tools and arguments through specified analyses of contentious occasions in nice Britain from 1758 to 1834.

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How large a difference did governmental repression and facilitation make?  Did repertoire changes make it easier for some actors to act or to get results, and harder for others? Some of these questions are easy, some of them difficult, but all are answerable in principle. Yet certain problems remain troubling. Many of them cluster around questions of outcomes and effectiveness. Do innovations associated with successful pressing of contentious claims, for instance, tend to reappear in the next round of claim making?

To be sure, radical innovations sometimes occur suddenly and spread rapidly. The marches and popular assemblies of the early French Revolution adapted features of previous French claim making, but broke substantially with the resistance and rebellion of the earlier 18th century (Markoff 1996a, Tilly 1986). In the American civil rights movement, bus boycotts and sit-ins certainly had precedents, but they multiplied, mutated, and then standardized with impressive speed (McAdam 1999). Rapid changes in political contexts offer more stimuli to radical, rapid innovation in performances.

Street demonstrations therefore vary somewhat in form and content depending on whether social movement activists or workers are staging them. If that is true, it sets a challenging explanatory agenda. For it means we must explain variation and change in Origins, feasibility, and efficacy of individual actions that occur within contentious performances Origins, feasibility, and efficacy of individual interactions that occur within contentious performances Articulation of actions and interactions with each other in the course of contentious performances Origins, feasibility, and efficacy of whole performances Articulation of performances within repertoires In strong repertoires, all of these elements interact with one another.

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