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Challenging Authority: The Historical Study of Contentious Politics

Michael P. Hanagan
Leslie Page Moch
Wayne te Brake
Volume: 7
Copyright Date: 1998
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 320
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  • Book Info
    Challenging Authority
    Book Description:

    As long as there have been formal governments, there has been political contention. Where political studies tend to focus on either those who rule or those who are ruled, the essays in this volume call our attention to the interaction between these forces at the very heart of contentious politics. Contributors: Risto Alapuro, Anton Blok, William Christian, Sonia De Avelar, Roger V. Gould, Marifeli Pérez-Stable, Robert M. Schwartz, Marc W. Steinberg, Carl Strikwerda, Sidney Tarrow, Marjolein ‘t Hart, Charles Tilly, Kim Voss, Andrew Walder, R. Bin Wong.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-8892-0
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Michael P. Hanagan, Leslie Page Moch and Wayne te Brake
  4. Introduction Challenging Authority: The Historical Study of Contentious Politics
    (pp. ix-xxx)
    Michael P. Hanagan, Leslie Page Moch and Wayne te Brake

    As long as there have been formal governments, there has been political contention. At bottom, political contention involves the interaction between those who occupy positions of governmental authority, that is, the rulers of a political domain, and those who are effectively subject to their authority, the subjects or citizens of that domain. These interactions between rulers and subjects can, of course, take an enormous variety of both routine and exceptional forms; they entail a complex interplay of political claims and counterclaims, involve difficult choices ranging from compliance to resistance, and betray a variety of attitudes including cooperation, resignation, condescension, and...

  5. Part I Networks, Identities, and Claim Making

    • Chapter 1 Political Identities
      (pp. 3-16)
      Charles Tilly

      Though William Cobbett acted the proper British patriot during his Canadian military service of 1784–91 and played Tory loyalist during his Philadelphia exile of 1792–1800, he soon thereafter turned toward a radical critique of Britain’s ruling class. During the surge of working–class action and mobilization for political reform that followed the Napoleonic Wars’ ending in 1815, hisPolitical Registerand other writings transmitted radical messages across Britain. In a vivid dramatization of his claimed political genealogy, Cobbett carried Thomas Paine’s bones from America to England on his return from another American exile in 1819. He advised popular...

    • Chapter 2 The Riding of the Black Lad and Other Working–Class Ritualistic Actions: Toward a Spatialized and Gendered Analysis of Nineteenth–Century Repertoires
      (pp. 17-35)
      Marc W. Steinberg

      In almost countless publications Charles Tilly demonstrates how repertoires of contention were slowly transformed from largely parochial, informal, and patronized action to a claim making focused in mass action that was more consciously public, formal, national, and autonomous (1982, 25; see also 1986a, 1995b). Tilly shows how the rising concentration of power in the modern nation–state, rapidly expanding urbanization, and the ever widening grip of industrial capitalism effected massive changes in the opportunities for and ways in which ordinary people gave voice to grievances. Focusing on only one small parcel of territory—the industrial towns in the area of...

    • Chapter 3 Political Networks and the Local/National Boundary in the Whiskey Rebellion
      (pp. 36-53)
      Roger V. Gould

      Having understood that networks of social relations and shared collective identities are instrumental in mobilizing people for collective action, a few scholars are beginning to explore the third edge of this triad: the link between collective identities and networks. Rather than seeing network ties as stockpiles of a fungible resource that movement entrepreneurs can use in recruitment much as they would leaflets or loudspeakers, we are starting to see thatpatternsof ties inform individuals’ judgments about the collectivities or political groupings to which they and others belong (see especially, Padgett and Ansell 1993; Bearman 1994; Gould 1993, 1995a, 1996)....

    • Chapter 4 Collective Protest and the Waning of the Communist State in China
      (pp. 54-72)
      Andrew G. Walder

      The spectacular collapse of European communist regimes in the fall of 1989 immediately brings to mind images of large street demonstrations in Leipzig and Prague and the storming of Communist Party headquarters in Bucharest. These instances of defiance are linked in our historical memory with Poland’s earlier Solidarity movement—which mounted a remarkable nationwide challenge to the party–state in 1980–81 and which eventually triumphed after a decade of repression—and we have already woven a historical narrative in which collective protest and popular resistance take center stage. In this narrative the story line is the triumph of “society”...

    • Chapter 5 Artisans and Revolution in a Finnish Country Town
      (pp. 73-88)
      Risto Alapuro

      The criticism leveled at the purposive image of revolution maintains that, rather than focusing on deliberately revolutionary efforts, one should mainly analyze conjunctures that bring together separately determined processes and actions. In this view the context is nearly all, and it definitely includes the international environment of the state in crisis. From this perspective it is no wonder that revolutionary intentions have commonly developed only in the course of the challenge itself (see, e.g., Skocpol 1979; Aya 1990).

      The abortive Finnish revolution in 1917–18 seems to constitute an extreme case supporting the conjunctural view of revolution. For the challengers...

  6. Part II Repertoires of Political Contention

    • Chapter 6 Bandits and Boundaries: Robber Bands and Secret Societies on the Dutch Frontier (1730-1778)
      (pp. 91-106)
      Anton Blok

      Banditry has been defined as the easiest form of rebellion because it is the most difficult for states to counteract, especially in mountainous frontier zones where central authority is weak (Wallerstein 1974, 141–42; Braudel 1973, 745–46). A case in point is the so-calledBokkeryders,who in three successive episodes between 1730 and 1774 operated in the hinterland of Maastricht—the border area between the Dutch Republic, the Duchy of Gulik, and the Austrian Netherlands. It took the local authorities in these fragmented territories well over forty years to come to terms with a form of banditry that easily...

    • Chapter 7 Six Hundred Years of Visionaries in Spain: Those Believed and Those Ignored
      (pp. 107-119)
      William A. Christian Jr.

      Visions at Lourdes, Fatima, and Medjugorje are part of a long series in Europe that began before the existence of Christianity and continues to the present day. For Spain we can document the existence over the past 600 years of lay visionaries claiming to have messages for the public. The kinds of seers, what they say they saw, and the messages that they say they heard vary systematically in different periods. A clear lesson of this variation is that what we know about visionaries and visions is severely controlled by prevailing notions about who can be believed and what can...

    • Chapter 8 Beyond the Parish Pump: The Politicization of the Peasantry in Burgundy, 1750–1850
      (pp. 120-135)
      Robert M. Schwartz

      If scholars continue to investigate when and how peasants in France came to share a common interest in national politics, it is partly because they embrace a key article of the Gallic faith: France is a country of wondrous regional diversity. It follows, then, that rural politicization was bound to vary by region. In keeping with that faith, this chapter examines the evolution of village politics in Burgundy during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It provides further support for the view that the politicization of the peasantry, at least in certain regions, had advanced significantly by the 1840s (cf. Weber...

    • Chapter 9 Claim Making and the Framing of Defeats: The Interpretation of Losses by American and British Labor Activists, 1886–1895
      (pp. 136-148)
      Kim Voss

      Recently more and more scholars have called for a cultural analysis of social movements (Mueller 1992; Johnston and Klandermans 1995; Buechler 1993; Emirbayer and Goodwin 1995). Dissatisfied with the structural tilt of the resource mobilization and political process perspectives, students of social movements have increasingly begun to ask questions about how movements are affected both by the culture of the larger society in which they exist and by the internal cultures of movements themselves.

      To date this cultural turn has been long on exhortation and critique and short on research and theory construction. Yet in the end, only research and...

    • Chapter 10 The Changing Horizons of Tax Resistance in Chinese History
      (pp. 149-164)
      R. Bin Wong

      This abbreviated account by William Martin comes from the 1890s and captures a kind of event, a very large one in this case, enacted numerous times across much of China since the eighteenth century. Collective opposition to the payment of taxes was a modest drama of several acts. A common sequence began with a group of people, sometimes numbering fewer than 100, presenting petitions that protested collection practices to officials. The failure of officials to respond adequately according to the expectations of the people set the stage for violent actions: attacks on the offices and homes of the bureaucrats. The...

  7. Part lll Constellations of Political Opportunity

    • Chapter 11 Reflections on Historical Possibility: Cuba, 1956–1961
      (pp. 167-181)
      Marifeli Pérez–Stable

      Two months afterThe Diplomatpublished this upbeat forecast, “a disastrous revolution” struck the “Beautiful Island.” Reading these words in the 1990s one might wonder (as, for that matter, one might well have wondered even in the early 1960s) if the editors of this slick magazine, targeted at a thennascent upscale international audience, had their heads buried in a deep hole in the ground. In the fall of 1958 few observers could have reasonably doubted that Fulgencio Batista’s days were numbered. A revolutionary situation unequivocally gripped the island: The opposition movement claimed exclusive rights to state power; an overwhelming majority...

    • Chapter 12 Gender Inequality and Women’s Empowerment in Latin America
      (pp. 182-196)
      Sonia De Avelar

      Of all the aggrieved populations in the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), women have never been accounted for in official historiography. This “hidden history” might very well be described as one of resilience. In it we would find a rich array of both successful and unsuccessful entrepreneurship, a broad spectrum of contentious issues, and a wide variety of conflicts lost to view. Still, we would find that most of the time women’s interests are forced to the margins by tight, exclusionary political settings and institutional arrangements and that this political marginality reduces the prospects of changing an...

    • Chapter 13 Rules and Repertoires: The Revolt of a Farmers’ Republic in the Early–Modern Netherlands
      (pp. 197-212)
      Marjolein ’t Hart

      Since the publication of Charles Tilly’sFrom Mobilization to Revolution(1978c), the terminology of repertoires of collective action has become a familiar feature in social history. Repertoires, the range of actions from which political contenders choose, are an integral part of a “political culture.” This political culture is by no means a static entity, as ideas and claims develop in the unfolding of the action. Past experiences and macroeconomic structures are strong determinants of the repertoire, but a choice of action does always exist. The preferences depend upon several factors, among others the opportunity to act together, for which homogeneity...

    • Chapter 14 Capitalists, Immigrants, and Populists: The Impact of Social Conflict and the State on the Origins of World War I
      (pp. 213-227)
      Carl Strikwerda

      It is only natural, perhaps, that we want to believe that great changes had equally great causes. World War I was undoubtedly a watershed in world history: The Great Depression, Nazism, communism, World War II, and the Cold War are unthinkable without it. Determining the underlying causes of this great event, however, presents a daunting challenge. In searching for an underlying cause of the war, industrialization with all its attendant ripple effects would seem to be the prime candidate. Yet the relationship between the long–term social transformation of industrialization and the outbreak of the short–term but equally momentous...

    • Chapter 15 Fishnets, Internets, and Catnets: Globalization and Transnational Collective Action
      (pp. 228-244)
      Sidney Tarrow

      Hidden behind the headlines on the savage war in the former Yugoslavia in the summer of 1994, a conflict was roiling the waters of the Bay of Biscay.¹ It pitted Spanish fishermen against their French and British competitors over fishing rights, with environmental issues and questions of national sovereignty in the background. AsThe Europeandescribed it:

      The conflict was one that was becoming familiar in these days of depleted stocks of Atlantic fish: The Spanishboniteros(tuna men) accused the French of using nets bigger than those permitted by European Union (EU) regulation, the French insisted that their nets...

  8. Bibliography
    (pp. 245-272)
  9. Contributors
    (pp. 273-276)
  10. Index
    (pp. 277-284)