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Part 2: Powers in Movement
v. Acting contentiously
BY:
SIDNEY G. TARROW
OUTLINE
I. The Repertoire of Contentions
II.Disruptions
III.Violence
IV.Contained Collective Action
V. Challenges
The repertoire of contention offers movements three broad types
of collective action – disruption, violence, and contained behavior
TYPE MEANING
Violent Ones The most dramatic form, are the easiest to initiate, but under normal
circumstances, they are limited to small groups with few resources who
are willing to exact damage and risk repression.
Disruptive Ones Break with routine, startle bystanders, and leave elites disoriented, at
least for a time. It is the source of much of the innovation in the
repertoire and of the power in movement, but it is unstable and easily
hardens into violence or becomes routinized into convention.
Contained Ones Offer the advantage of building on routines that people understand and
that elites will accept or even facilitate. There is lack of excitement.
First, it provides evidence of a
movement’s determination. By sitting,
standing, or moving together
aggressively in public space,
demonstrators signal their identity and
reinforce their solidarity.
Second, disruption obstructs the routine
activities of opponents, bystanders, or
authorities and forces them to attend to
protesters’ demands. Finally, disruption
broadens the circle of conflict.
DISRUPTION
In The Politics of Collective
Violence (2004), Charles Tilly
arrayed collective violence into
seven major categories
according to the degree of
coordination among actors and
the salience of the short-run
damage inflicted. In public space,
demonstrators signal their
identity and reinforce their
solidarity.
VIOLENCE
Coordinated through a process that
resembles the “contracts by
convention” outlined by Russell
Hardin in his work on collective action
(1982), they involve at least the tacit
coordination of participants’ implicit
expectations (Schelling 1960: 71).
And because they require relatively
little commitment and involve low risk,
they can attract large numbers of
participants.
CONTAINED
COLLECTIVE
ACTION
lack of excitement.
challenges
Every polity draws lines between collective action
that is forbidden, permitted, or facilitated (McAdam
et al. 2001).
The decline in innovation is that disruption depends on
maintaining a high level of commitment among participants.
This can seldom be sustained for very long, especially when
police are determined and elites are united.
What is it
about protest
performance
that makes it
appealing to
organizers of
contentious
politics?
First, protest performances add
amusement or excitement to public
politics;
Second, they help solidarity to
grow through the interaction of the
“performers” in protest actions. But
the most important reason they are
appealing is that they disrupt the
routines of life in ways that
protesters hope will disarm, dismay,
and disrupt opponents.

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Powers in Movement: Acting Contentiously by Sidney Tarrow

  • 1. Part 2: Powers in Movement v. Acting contentiously BY: SIDNEY G. TARROW
  • 2.
  • 3.
  • 4.
  • 5. OUTLINE I. The Repertoire of Contentions II.Disruptions III.Violence IV.Contained Collective Action V. Challenges
  • 6. The repertoire of contention offers movements three broad types of collective action – disruption, violence, and contained behavior TYPE MEANING Violent Ones The most dramatic form, are the easiest to initiate, but under normal circumstances, they are limited to small groups with few resources who are willing to exact damage and risk repression. Disruptive Ones Break with routine, startle bystanders, and leave elites disoriented, at least for a time. It is the source of much of the innovation in the repertoire and of the power in movement, but it is unstable and easily hardens into violence or becomes routinized into convention. Contained Ones Offer the advantage of building on routines that people understand and that elites will accept or even facilitate. There is lack of excitement.
  • 7. First, it provides evidence of a movement’s determination. By sitting, standing, or moving together aggressively in public space, demonstrators signal their identity and reinforce their solidarity. Second, disruption obstructs the routine activities of opponents, bystanders, or authorities and forces them to attend to protesters’ demands. Finally, disruption broadens the circle of conflict. DISRUPTION
  • 8.
  • 9. In The Politics of Collective Violence (2004), Charles Tilly arrayed collective violence into seven major categories according to the degree of coordination among actors and the salience of the short-run damage inflicted. In public space, demonstrators signal their identity and reinforce their solidarity. VIOLENCE
  • 10.
  • 11.
  • 12.
  • 13.
  • 14.
  • 15.
  • 16.
  • 17.
  • 18.
  • 19.
  • 20.
  • 21.
  • 22.
  • 23.
  • 24. Coordinated through a process that resembles the “contracts by convention” outlined by Russell Hardin in his work on collective action (1982), they involve at least the tacit coordination of participants’ implicit expectations (Schelling 1960: 71). And because they require relatively little commitment and involve low risk, they can attract large numbers of participants. CONTAINED COLLECTIVE ACTION
  • 25. lack of excitement. challenges Every polity draws lines between collective action that is forbidden, permitted, or facilitated (McAdam et al. 2001). The decline in innovation is that disruption depends on maintaining a high level of commitment among participants. This can seldom be sustained for very long, especially when police are determined and elites are united.
  • 26. What is it about protest performance that makes it appealing to organizers of contentious politics? First, protest performances add amusement or excitement to public politics; Second, they help solidarity to grow through the interaction of the “performers” in protest actions. But the most important reason they are appealing is that they disrupt the routines of life in ways that protesters hope will disarm, dismay, and disrupt opponents.

Editor's Notes

  1. Modern forms of contention are aimed at demonstrating a claim, either to objects of the claim, to power holders, or to significant third parties.
  2. Social protest as performance was already becoming evident in the French Revolution, when forms of dress and public display became politicized.
  3. With the development of mass media and the growing role of states and third parties in determining the outcomes of protest, the performance of political contention became both routine and professional.
  4. The very term we use to designate orderly marches through city streets – the “demonstration” – is itself a performative term.
  5. I. Three broad types of collective actions
  6. Table: These actions combine to different degrees the properties of challenge, uncertainty, and solidarity.
  7. At the core of contention is the power to disrupt through the invention of innovative ways of performing protest. After reading the ppt: Disruption need not threaten public order, but it can profoundly affect social and cultural expectations. Consider the essentially performative nature of hunger striking, “The hunger strike is the expression of an indignation which is aimed, through shock, to interrupt the ordinary course of things” – to disrupt normality. (let them view the print screen)
  8. Protesters have also invented new forms of direct action, which, instead of demonstrating a claim in public, perform protest by directly attacking the issue at hand. Ecological groups have perfected these forms of direct action. For example, tree sitters in the American Northwest protest clear-cutting by camping out in trees for more-or-less long periods. Gandhi’s followers protested the British occupiers’ monopoly of textile manufacture by weaving cloth on hand-held looms
  9. Intro: Violence is the most visible trace of collective action, both in contemporary news coverage and in the historical record. Easiest to initiate. Sidney Tarrow used the concept of Charles Tilly about violence, where arrayed collective violence into seven major categories according to the degree of coordination among actors and the salience of the short-run damage inflicted.
  10. This graph places six forms of collective violence on this grid, above the larger category of “individual aggression,” in which the degree of damage inflicted may be great, but coordination is absent. Tilly’s six forms bleed into one another but can be distinguished as follows: brawls – highly violent but involving low levels of coordination – are attacks between individuals in groups in a previously nonviolent gathering; examples include barroom fights or battles at sporting events.
  11. opportunism – at a slightly higher level of coordination – is when individuals shielded from social control use damaging means to pursue forbidden ends, as in examples of looting after natural disasters, gang rape, or revenge killing.
  12. opportunism – at a slightly higher level of coordination – is when individuals shielded from social control use damaging means to pursue forbidden ends, as in examples of looting after natural disasters, gang rape, or revenge killing.
  13. scattered attacks – less violent and slightly more coordinated than the first two forms, these occur when, in the course of nonviolent interaction, like a party conference or a march, some participants engage in damaging acts, like sabotage, assaults on government agents or arson.
  14. scattered attacks – less violent and slightly more coordinated than the first two forms, these occur when, in the course of nonviolent interaction, like a party conference or a march, some participants engage in damaging acts, like sabotage, assaults on government agents or arson.
  15. broken negotiations – higher on the coordination scale but less certain to result in actual violence– occur when agreements cannot be reached or when negotiations break down between opponents, one of whom escalates the conflict by threatening violence, as when demands for change in a government by military leaders lead to a military coup.
  16. broken negotiations – higher on the coordination scale but less certain to result in actual violence– occur when agreements cannot be reached or when negotiations break down between opponents, one of whom escalates the conflict by threatening violence, as when demands for change in a government by military leaders lead to a military coup. 1989 Philippine coup attempt The most serious coup d'etat against the government of Philippine President Corazon Aquino was staged beginning December 1, 1989, by members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines belonging to the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) and soldiers loyal to former President Ferdinand Marcos. Metro Manila was shaken by this Christmas coup, and they almost seized the presidential palace. It was completely defeated by the Philippine government by December 9, 1989.
  17. coordinated destruction – both very violent and highly coordinated – occurs when persons or organizations that specialize in coercive means deliberately undertake a program of damage to others: examples include war, many forms of terrorism, and genocide.
  18. coordinated destruction – both very violent and highly coordinated – occurs when persons or organizations that specialize in coercive means deliberately undertake a program of damage to others: examples include war, many forms of terrorism, and genocide.
  19. violent rituals – at the top of the scales of coordination and the certainty of violence – occur when an organized actor follows a culturally known script to inflict damage as it competes for priority with others, as in the lynching of “uppity” African Americans in the Old South or in gang rivalries. Note that although the incidental forms of violence that Tilly charts in the lower part of Figure 5.2 are most widespread, it is the coordinated forms of violence – such as guerilla movements, terrorism, and civil wars – that make their mark in the history books. Yet even these major episodes demonstrate the importance of incidental or opportunistic violence, as we will see from a rapid survey of the recent literature on civil war.
  20. violent rituals – at the top of the scales of coordination and the certainty of violence – occur when an organized actor follows a culturally known script to inflict damage as it competes for priority with others, as in the lynching of “uppity” African Americans in the Old South or in gang rivalries. Gang violence refers mostly to the illegal perpetrated by gangs against civilians, other gangs, law enforcement officers, firefighters, or military personnel. Throughout history, such acts have been committed by gangs at all levels of organization. Modern gangs introduced new acts of violence, which may also function as a rite of passage for new gang members Note that although the incidental forms of violence that Tilly charts in the lower part of Figure 5.2 are most widespread, it is the coordinated forms of violence – such as guerilla movements, terrorism, and civil wars – that make their mark in the history books. Yet even these major episodes demonstrate the importance of incidental or opportunistic violence, as we will see from a rapid survey of the recent literature on civil war.
  21. violent rituals – at the top of the scales of coordination and the certainty of violence – occur when an organized actor follows a culturally known script to inflict damage as it competes for priority with others, as in the lynching of “uppity” African Americans in the Old South or in gang rivalries. Founded in 1866, the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) extended into almost every southern state by 1870 and became a vehicle for white southern resistance to the Republican Party’s Reconstruction-era policies aimed at establishing political and economic equality for blacks. Its members waged an underground campaign of intimidation and violence directed at white and black Republican leaders. Though Congress passed legislation designed to curb Klan terrorism, the organization saw its primary goal–the reestablishment of white supremacy–fulfilled through Democratic victories in state legislatures across the South in the 1870s. After a period of decline, white Protestant nativist groups revived the Klan in the early 20th century, burning crosses and staging rallies, parades and marches denouncing immigrants, Catholics, Jews, blacks and organized labor. The civil rights movement of the 1960s also saw a surge of Ku Klux Klan activity, including bombings of black schools and churches and violence against black and white activists in the South. Note that although the incidental forms of violence that Tilly charts in the lower part of Figure 5.2 are most widespread, it is the coordinated forms of violence – such as guerilla movements, terrorism, and civil wars – that make their mark in the history books. Yet even these major episodes demonstrate the importance of incidental or opportunistic violence, as we will see from a rapid survey of the recent literature on civil war.
  22. violent rituals – at the top of the scales of coordination and the certainty of violence – occur when an organized actor follows a culturally known script to inflict damage as it competes for priority with others, as in the lynching of “uppity” African Americans in the Old South or in gang rivalries. Note that although the incidental forms of violence that Tilly charts in the lower part of Figure 5.2 are most widespread, it is the coordinated forms of violence – such as guerilla movements, terrorism, and civil wars – that make their mark in the history books. Yet even these major episodes demonstrate the importance of incidental or opportunistic violence, as we will see from a rapid survey of the recent literature on civil war.
  23. Intro: Most modern forms of contention have become part of a repertoire that is generally known and understood. After ppt: These are the major appeals of contained forms of contention such as the strike and the demonstration.
  24. Disruption: So determined were its leaders to gain political influences that they turned the movement into a mass membership organization and lost its disruptive power. faced by determined police and unified governments, the marginal members of social movements – usually in the majority – tend to slip back into private life, leaving the field in the hands of the most militant activists, who are more likely to choose violence than to maintain an uncertain relation with authorities. Violence: For example. We can find all three in authoritarian China. The Chinese Communist authorities facilitate official or sponsored protests, similar to those that erupted after the accidental bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade by American planes in the Balkan Wars. But the Chinese government also forbids mobilization across social sectors or geographic areas, because it threatens the central control on which Communist Party power is based. On the other hand, small-scale or local protests are often tolerated, both because they are often directed at local authorities whom the central government likes to monitor and occasionally see punished for corruption, and because protests reveal where dissent is brewing and where problems can be addressed (O’Brien ed. 2008; O’Brien and Li 2005) But where violence occurs or is even likely, this gives authorities a mandate for repression (Eisinger 1973) and turns sympathizers away.