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This study uses Tilly's concept of repertoires of contention as a lens to examine the utilization of eight distinct contentious tactics, ranging from nonviolent…
This study uses Tilly's concept of repertoires of contention as a lens to examine the utilization of eight distinct contentious tactics, ranging from nonviolent demonstrations to rebellion. Using an original dataset on Latin America, I develop a measure of tactical fractionalization of 62 contentious campaigns in Latin America, and I find that, consistent with theory, the range of tactics within campaigns is limited, compared to the range of tactics found in the country or region as a whole. Second, an examination of the sample shows that the eight contentious tactics tend to coincide into three separate repertoires of contention: protest, strikes, and rebellion. Finally, I analyze two conflicting theories on the selection of contentious tactics: Tilly's regime theory and Lichbach's substitution model. The prevalence of the three repertoires depends a great deal on the regime type in place, the level of primary school enrollment (measuring state capacity), and the generalized level of repression. These variables were all suggested by Tilly's regime theory. Contentious challengers show no sign of shifting tactics in response to repression of that tactic in the past, which contradicts the substitution model.
In recent years, the Internet has increasingly served as an important tactical tool for protest campaigns, arguably contributing to a restructuring of the repertoire of…
In recent years, the Internet has increasingly served as an important tactical tool for protest campaigns, arguably contributing to a restructuring of the repertoire of contention. This study analyzes a recent case of Internet-backed activism, focusing on the ongoing transnational mobilization against the Free Trade Area of the America's (FTAA) initiative. The Hemispheric Social Alliance, a coalition of hundreds of civil society organizations across the Western hemisphere opposed to the free market underpinnings of the FTAA, has employed Internet technologies to communicate, strategize, educate and pressure state authorities in an effort to promote an alternative social-developmental vision. This case of transnational contention has important implications that go beyond the Americas context. The organization of groups transnationally, combined with Internet communication and coordination strategies, suggests that popular political protest has begun to look considerably different from the time when state boundaries contained much political discourse and action.
This paper presents a theoretical definition of protest that overcomes the bifurcation of politics and culture in mainstream social movement research. The model is…
This paper presents a theoretical definition of protest that overcomes the bifurcation of politics and culture in mainstream social movement research. The model is grounded in a study of drag performances, which have a long history in same-sex communities as vehicles for expressing gay identity, creating and maintaining solidarity, and staging political resistance. Extending Tilly’s concept of repertoires of contention, we propose the term “tactical repertoires” to refer to protest episodes, and we identify three elements of all tactical repertoires: contestation, intentionality, and collective identity. We combine social constructionist perspectives on gender and sexuality, the social movement literature, and writings in performance studies to understand how drag performances function as tactical repertoires of the gay and lesbian movement. We argue that because they are entertaining, drag shows illuminate gay life for mainstream audiences and provide a space for the construction of collective identities that confront and rework gender and sexual boundaries.
In his later works Charles Tilly extended his analysis of contention by scrutinizing the dynamics of contentious performances and the enactment of identities through them…
In his later works Charles Tilly extended his analysis of contention by scrutinizing the dynamics of contentious performances and the enactment of identities through them. Complementing these investigations he analyzed the centrality of trust networks in sustained challenges to authority. On a somewhat detached track Tilly developed an examination of reason giving in social life and more particularly the ways in which people do critical transactional work through stories, often with the assessment of credit and blame. In this chapter, we quilt these various pieces to offer an analysis of how storytelling is vital to the construction of trust and blame in contentious performances, both in the face of threat and opportunity. We explain how these later works on storytelling, identities, and trust can be integrated fruitfully with his many writings on contention to expand the analysis of its culture dimensions. We draw on three years of field work with a chapter of the Voice of the Faithful, an organization of Catholics that formed in the wake of the priest sexual abuse crisis, to exemplify this integration of Tilly's work. Using data from field notes and interviews we demonstrate how chapter members engage in the telling standard stories of origin, legacy and transformation, and trust in their pursuit of change and in maintaining internal solidarity. We conclude that our integration of Tilly's later work can be added to other perspectives on narrative to broaden the cultural analysis of contention.
The chapter introduces a methodological approach to analyzing visual material based on Erving Goffman's frame analysis. Building on the definition of dominant frames in a…
The chapter introduces a methodological approach to analyzing visual material based on Erving Goffman's frame analysis. Building on the definition of dominant frames in a set of visual material, and the analysis of keying within these frames, the approach provides a tangible tool to analyze contextualized visual material sociologically. To illustrate the approach, the chapter analyzes visual representations of social movement contention in two local contexts, the cities of Lyon, France, and Helsinki, Finland. The material was collected during ethnographic fieldwork and consists of 505 images from local activist websites. The analysis asks how femininity, masculinity, and gender/sex ambiguity key visual representations of different aspects of contentious action, such as mass gatherings, violence, protest policing, and performativity. Strong converging features are found in the contents of the frames in the two contexts, yet differences also abound, in particular in the ways femininity keys different frames of contention in visual representations. The results show, first, that the visual frame analysis approach is a functioning tool for analyzing large sets of visual material with a qualitative emphasis, and second, that a comparison of local activism through visual representations calls into question many general assumptions of political cultures, repertoires of contention, and cultural gender systems, and highlights the importance for sociologists of looking closely enough for both differences and similarities.
Hunger strikes have a long history in efforts to achieve social change but scholars have made few comparative, empirical, or theoretical contributions to understanding…
Hunger strikes have a long history in efforts to achieve social change but scholars have made few comparative, empirical, or theoretical contributions to understanding their dynamics and connections in the social movement and nonviolent action literature. We examine hunger strikes from 1906 to 2004 with a comparative perspective, elaborating on its use as a tactic of nonviolent change. Using data assembled from the New York Times, Keesing's Worldwide Online, and The Economist we analyze how, when, where, and why hunger strikes occur, and by whom they have been utilized to seek change. In general, findings reveal that hunger strikes over the last century have been widespread phenomena that are typically small, brief, and relatively successful tactics against the state. Several themes emerge regarding hunger strikes including their appeal to the powerless and emergence when few political opportunities exist, their significance for third-party mobilization, and the role of emotions in the protest dynamics. Taken together, the power struggle involving the hunger strike is an important example and extension of “political jiu-jitsu” as presented by Sharp (1973).
The study aims to investigate a relevant topic, but still underestimated by sociological studies: animal advocacy, namely, the organized interest in non-human animals'…
The study aims to investigate a relevant topic, but still underestimated by sociological studies: animal advocacy, namely, the organized interest in non-human animals' life, rights and well-being. The Italian case is discussed, with a twofold objective: to highlight the evolution of some repertoires of contention and to use this study to analyze the changes of contemporary collective mobilizations and their relation with the modernization process.
The analysis is based on an online survey (704 responses nationwide), 24 semi-structured interviews with relevant members of groups and associations and a protest event analysis. Furthermore, a vast empirical archive and some academic studies concerning Italian animal advocacy in its historical dimension have been consulted.
The paper underlines the current specificities of Italian animal advocacy, compared to past decades. The great importance assumed by personal action frames and repertoires of contention emerged as characterizing elements. Activism is always more individual and less related to collective organizations: the central role of veganism and of the internet as protest tool is underlined. Both the increasing possibilities offered by better discursive opportunities structure, but also the possible incorporation of more radical frames within consumer market dynamics emerged from the interviews and the survey.
The phenomenon of animal advocacy (and, more generally, the activities of contemporary social movements) is contextualized within some typical characteristics of modernity, looking both at structural “opportunities” (e.g.: the diffusion of post-materialist values) and “constraints” (e.g.: veganwashing operations). Based on previous definitions coming from social movements studies and following a debate hosted by this journal, the role of collective organizations and especially the centrality assumed by individual activism is critically analyzed, evaluating the new possibilities, but also the possible negative sides. Not only cultural changes, but also political and legal contexts matter. In this sense, both a focus on Italy and more general reflections on western modernities are proposed, trying to go beyond animal advocacy and reflecting on social movements and collective mobilizations more widely.
The extent to which opposition movements engaged in contention are able to broaden the scope of their struggle has garnered the attention of scholars of ethnic conflict…
The extent to which opposition movements engaged in contention are able to broaden the scope of their struggle has garnered the attention of scholars of ethnic conflict, social movements, and contentious politics alike. The ability to broaden the scope of contention is known as scale shift. It is of paramount importance in cases of ethnonationalist movements, given the nature of their claims and the oppressive and repressive sociopolitical setting in which they are often situated. Our study advances social movement theory by developing a more nuanced understanding of the process by analyzing rich historical evidence from a failed attempt of scale shift: the case of Israeli-Arab 1976 Land Day. Utilizing Tarrow and McAdam's (2003) model, we analyze scale shift and its constituent mechanisms of brokerage and diffusion as they operate across different political opportunity structures and encounter different levels and types of repression. Based on our findings, we modify the model by highlighting a set of intermediary mechanisms, namely individualization, segmentation, resource restriction, exclusion, co-optation, defection, and internalization/externalization. We argue that these intermediary mechanisms largely account for the failure of scale shift in the specific repressive settings of the Arab minority in Israel.
The paper seeks to offer a consideration of the adequacy of the concept of abeyance in accounting for women's movement processes in non‐social movement organisations in…
The paper seeks to offer a consideration of the adequacy of the concept of abeyance in accounting for women's movement processes in non‐social movement organisations in periods characterised by quiescence rather than insurgence.
The article is primarily conceptual.
By extending the political process school of social movement theory, which relies heavily on visible activism to explain movement success, to include the new social movement approach, it is contended that underlying processes of change, associated with the values and affiliations of those involved in non‐social movement organisations, become clearer. Less visible processes are identified through the variable rhythms and multiple, discontinuous experiences of women's movement supporters characterised as concealed adherents, informal networkers, and fellow travellers who can include male supporters.
Limitations: as the paper is primarily conceptual, there is a need to develop the practical implications beyond those mentioned below. Implications: there is a need to reorient research into organisational change to take fuller account of social movement processes.
It is recognised that the literature on organisational and managerial change in non‐social movement organisations needs to take account of the differing experiences and potential strategies of those likely to be affected.
Originality of the paper lies in the use of insights drawn from the field of political sociology to enrich understanding of gender and organisational change.
A spate of nonviolent youth movements has recently demanded political change in the postcommunist region. Though these challenger organizations shared similar…
A spate of nonviolent youth movements has recently demanded political change in the postcommunist region. Though these challenger organizations shared similar characteristics, some of them were more successful than others in mobilizing citizens against nondemocratic regimes. This chapter argues that analysis of tactical interactions between social movements and incumbent governments provides a partial explanation for cross-country variations in youth mobilization. The empirical analysis focuses on youth movements in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Serbia, and Ukraine. The study traces how movement strategies and state countermoves affected the level of youth mobilization. This research contributes to social movement literature by analyzing tactical interactions in hybrid regimes, falling somewhere between democracy and dictatorship, and adds to civil resistance scholarship by comparing cases of successful and failed mobilization.