The Meaning of Contention

Abrams, Benjamin; Travaglino, Giovanni A.; Gardner, Peter R. and Callan, Brian. 2022. The Meaning of Contention. Contention: The Multidisciplinary Journal of Social Protest, 10(2), pp. 83-101. ISSN 2572-7184 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Contention is everywhere nowadays, permeating the fabric of society and constituting an important element of many different social relationships. It is also a central topic across a wide range of social scientific disciplines. Following the most contentious decade in over a century, scholarship on the topic of “contention” is booming. Nonetheless, we still lack a conceptual approach to “contention” as a general academic term beyond the bounds of the study of “contentious politics.” What is the meaning of contention? Drawing on a decade of editorial and research work on contention, this article surveys the profound breadth and variety of academic research on the topic, ranging from politics, psychology, and sociology to material culture, criminology, and beyond. We outline the common conceptual thread across these various areas, where “contention” generally indicates conflictual collective contests concerning competing claims.

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Publisher: Berghahn Journals Section: Contention


collective action, collective contention, contentious politics, definition of contention, social movements

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Social, Therapeutic & Community Engagement (STaCS) > Unit for Psychotherapeutic Studies


1 December 2022Published
1 November 2022Accepted

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Date Deposited:

22 Nov 2022 09:21

Last Modified:

23 Nov 2022 14:25


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