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  • Cited by 3
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
November 2021
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Book description

Based on extensive data and analysis of sixty contentious episodes in twelve European countries, this book proposes a novel approach that takes a middle ground between narrative approaches and conventional protest event analysis. Looking particularly at responses to austerity policies in the aftermath of the Great Recession (2008–2015), the authors develop a rigorous conceptual framework that focuses on the interactions between three types of participants in contentious politics: governments, challengers, and third parties. This approach allows political scientists to map not only the variety of actors and actor coalitions that drove the interactions in the different episodes, but also the interplay of repression/concessions/support and of mobilization/cooperation/mediation on the part of the actors involved in the contention. The methodology used will enable researchers to answer old (and new) research questions related to political conflict in a way that is simultaneously attentive to conceptual depth and statistical rigor.


'True methodological breakthroughs are rare in any field of study. But in Contentious Episodes in the Age of Austerity, Abel Bojar et al. have given us just that. All scholars concerned with the dynamics of contention will need to take account of the exciting new methodology - ‘contentious episode analysis’ - clearly and compellingly sketched in this groundbreaking book.'Doug McAdam, Ray Lyman Wilbur Professor of Sociology, Stanford University

'Finally, a book that methodologically and systematically places the interactional dimensions of contention centrally in its focus! This book boldly cuts new ground, and in doing so, opens up new possibilities for analysis by allowing us to compare contentious interactions within and across episodes.'Mark R. Beissinger, Henry W. Putnam Professor of Politics, Princeton University

'The book breaks new ground in the study of social protest. First, there’s a comprehensive take on diverse and contentious European protests against harsh austerity after the Great Recession. Even more, the authors pioneer a new approach by considering the interaction of authorities and different challengers in a series of distinct episodes. It’s a new classic.'David S. Meyer, Professor of Sociology and Political Science, University of California, Irvine

'Every so often, social scientists invent new ways to measure and analyze social movements, most of which, however, have a very short half-life. But growing out of ‘protest event analysis,’ the stock-in-trade of students of contentious politics since Tilly’s innovations in the 1970s, Bojar, Gessler, Hutter, and Kriesi have produced incremental improvements that amount to a new method - ‘contentious episode analysis.’ Applied to a major comparative dataset, and combining semi-automated and intelligent human coding, their innovations promise a major innovation for the study of contentious politics.'Sidney Tarrow, Author of Power in Movement and Movements and Parties: Critical Connections in American Political Development

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