Contentious Politics

Book Info

  • Length: 260 pages
  • Trim size: 6" x 9"
  • Rights: World

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Revolutions, social movements, religious and ethnic conflict, nationalism and civil rights, and transnational movements: these forms of contentious politics combine in Charles Tilly's and Sidney Tarrow's Contentious Politics. The book presents a set of analytical tools and procedures for study, comparison, and explanation of these very different sorts of contention. Drawing on many historical and contemporary cases, the book shows that similar principles describe and explain a wide variety of struggles as well as many more routine forms of politics. Tilly and Tarrow have written the book to introduce readers to an exciting new program of political and sociological analysis.

To view Power Point slides of the last undergraduate course of Charles Tilly (with Ernesto Castaneda) in Spring 2007, which are related to his Paradigm book with Sidney Tarrow, Contentious Politics, please click here.

  • Introduces comparative politics "from the bottom up," showing the experiences of ordinary citizens interacting with institutions of government.
  • Presents a set of analytical tools that students can use to do their own studies of political struggle around the world.
  • Compares groups, movements, and conflicts cross-nationally and historically.
  • Clearly shows the connections and differences among revolutions, coups, social movements, civil wars, resistance to authoritarian regimes, nationalistic movements, and many other forms of popular protest--linking them to politics within the halls of government.
  • Provides dramatic, comprehensible presentations of conflict episodes and evidence.
  • Methodological appendices neatly sum up concepts, methods, and conflicts presented in the book.
  • Presents all, including the author's influential theories and those of others, accessibly for the undergraduate.
  • Contains more than 30 charts, graphs, tables and photos.
  • All told, the book's vibrant narrative integrates all forms of political action--formal and informal--into a vivid introduction for students.

Author Info

Charles Tilly was Joseph L. Buttenwieser Professor of Social Science at Columbia University, and author of fifty earlier books. Just before his death, he was honored with the Social Science Research Council's prestigious Albert O. Hirschman Prize. A founding friend of Paradigm, Tilly is author of several other Paradigm books including most recently, Explaining Social Processes.

Sidney Tarrow is Maxwell M. Upson Professor of Government and Professor of Sociology at Cornell. His latest books are The New Transnational Activism (Cambridge University Press, 2005) and (with Donatella della Porta, eds.) Transnational Protest And Global Activism (Rowman and Littlefield, 2004).


“Among many things about the book, I especially like how the book gives students all they need to do their own research, including some great suggestions at the end.”
Charles D. Brockett, Sewanee: The University of the South

"Two leading scholars have joined their considerable forces to assemble a conceptual framework for the study of contentious politics. A wonderful tool that should be in the toolkit of anybody who sets out to study contention, collective action, and politics."
Bert Klandermans, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, author of The Social Psychology of Protest and (with Nonna Mayer) Extreme Right Activists in Europe; editor of Methods of Social Movement Research

“In this clearly written and highly accessible book, two of the world's leading scholars of social movements offer a theoretically innovative approach to the study of political conflict, suggesting clear guidelines for the rigorous exploration of contentious politics and illustrations from around the globe. The authors present an original research program that will help students to think critically about the origins and nature of various forms of contentious politics and to make connections between seemingly disparate types of political conflict. This is a wonderful teaching tool for courses in social theory, theory construction, political sociology, and social movements.”
Ron Aminzade, Professor of Sociology, University of Minnesota

“This precious little book offers not only new illustrations but new ideas destined to open new debates on social mechanisms in social movements.”
Donatella della Porta, European University Institute

“A state of the art guide to analyzing conflict from two grand masters. There is no finer tool for teaching students to understand the causes, processes, and outcomes of diverse forms of political contention.”
Jack A. Goldstone, Hazel Professor of Public Policy, George Mason University

“This stimulating introduction to the study of contentious politics by two leading scholars is clearly written, loaded with interesting examples, and richly suggestive of new lines of inquiry. It is an excellent tool for enticing students to explore an exciting area of research.”
Suzanne Staggenborg, Professor of Sociology, McGill University

“The extensive knowledge of the outstanding scholars Tilly and Tarrow is masterly condensed in Contentious Politics. This new intellectual journey of both authors is based upon a simple and familiar triad of features of social life: contention, collective action and politics. The permanent confrontation between concepts and social events makes the text an interesting and insightful as well as historical and fact based contribution. The book is an indispensable guide to the study of political science and international relations.”
Roberto Dominguez, Department of Government, Suffolk University

Contentious Politics is an excellent treatment of social movements: it is readable, yet sophisticated; straightforward but with lots fascinating detail; relevant and also scholarly. Congratulations to the authors on this marvelous book!"
John C. Green, University of Akron

Contentious Politics lays out a methodology that students of contention can follow to analyse instances of contentious politics in a systematic fashion…Tilly and Tarrow provide the reader with the tools to systematically disaggregate instances of contentious politics to figure out how they work and how they compare to each other.”
Canadian Journal of Sociology Online

“Tilly and Tarrow’s concepts are meant to be explanatory as well as descriptive…a primer for students of contentious politics and, as such, can help researchers standardize and facilitate comparative research. A valuable manual for those seeking comparable and parallel modules in apparently discrete an disparate historical circumstances....this book could help focus, frame, and delimit research. Recommended.”
–-D. Ashley, University of Wyoming, in CHOICE

“Written by two DOC authors…[t]his book expounds some important new ideas about the varieties of protest in a manner entirely readable by undergraduates…This is a masterful exposition of a grand argument that should interest all historians concerned with protest.”
--Michael Hanagan, in Journal of Social History

"Sociologists and political scientists who are moving their students toward undergraduate research on political participation, electoral politics and protest, social movements and revolution will find Contentious Politics indispensable."
--Karen Beckwith, The College of Wooster


List of Figures and Boxes

Chapter 1: Making Claims

Chapter 2: How to Analyze Contention

Chapter 3: Regimes, Repertoires, and Opportunities

Chapter 4: Contentious Interaction

Chapter 5: Mobilization and Demobilization

Chapter 6: Social Movements

Chapter 7: Lethal Conflicts

Chapter 8: Contention in Composite Regimes

Chapter 9: Contention Today and Tomorrow

Appendix A: Concepts and Methods
Appendix B: Streams, Episodes, Mechanisms, and Processes
About the Authors

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