Building: VMP 5 Floor: 2 Room: 2098
The scholarship on political contention, mobilisation and conflict is heavily indebted to the intellectual legacy of Charles Tilly. While his ideas have inspired an extensive literature on dynamics in the Global North, a number of scholars have also made use of his ideas to examine cases on the African continent.
With this panel, we wish to explore in what ways adopting a Tilly-inspired lens may deepen our understanding of contentious politics in African states. Episodes of contention in Africa vary in outcome: while some are associated with escalation to violence and civil war, others yield processes of non-violent bargaining that reshape the social contract. Evaluation of outcomes also depends on the time perspective. Across Africa in recent years, protests against issues such as electoral fraud, rising commodity prices, foreign influence, and resource extraction practices have occurred through various forms of organisation, expressing a range of ideas about justice and the good society. Given how such protests shape political legitimacy and authority, we need better to grasp how they emerge and evolve, what messages they express and under what conditions they escalate into political violence.
We invite papers that draw on Tilly’s ideas in order to make sense of these questions as applied to contemporary Africa. The aim is to take stock of recent work on Africa in the Tillyan tradition, and explore how this research agenda can be taken further.