Repertoires of Contention

Charles Tilly

in Regimes and Repertoires

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print September 2006 | ISBN: 9780226803500
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226803531 | DOI:
Repertoires of Contention

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This chapter presents a discussion on the repertoires of contention. We can capture some of the recurrent, historically embedded character of contentious politics by means of two related theatrical metaphors: performances and repertoires. Repertoires vary from nonexistent to weak to strong to rigid. Each position on the continuum identifies a different relationship between the familiarity of a previous performance and the likelihood that it will again appear in a similar situation, ranging from no relationship to perfect repetition. Strong or rigid repertoires imply great embedding of contention in previously existing history, culture, and social relations. The effects of incremental changes in repertoires identify intertwined strands of change in contentious repertoires, attributable to the internal history of struggle, transformations of regimes, alterations of social structure and culture outside the government, and their interaction. Tracing causal connections between regimes and repertoires requires a serious historical and comparative effort.

Keywords: repertoires; contention; contentious politics; incremental changes; performances; regimes

Chapter.  11901 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative and Historical Sociology

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