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The European Union and Beyond

Charles Tilly's Legacy for Research on Political Contention in African States

Contentious Politics
Political Participation
Social Movements
Political Sociology
State Power
Panel Number
Panel Chair
Ingrid Samset
LUC The Hague, Leiden University
Panel Discussant
Joschka Philipps
University of Basel

25/08/2018 11:00 - 12:40
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.

Paper List

Title Details
Applying Tilly’s Theories on Political Change to Africa: Opportunities and Limitations View Paper Details
Coercion-Contention Processes and Citizenship in Africa View Paper Details
Contentious Politics from a Class-Based Perspective: Social Struggles in Burkina Faso View Paper Details
State-Movement Interaction in Tunisia: Insiders and Outsiders View Paper Details
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