The Laboratory on Contentious Politics






Director:  Assoc. Prof. Seraphim Seferiades This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Laboratory on Contentious Politics (previously ‘Contentious Politics Circle’) is an interdisciplinary network of scholars, researching, theorizing and writing about collective action and social movements and their constant interaction with state policies. Composed of academics, recent PhDs and PhD candidates from Greece and abroad (as well as interested graduate students), it is based at the Panteion University of Social and Political Science, Athens (Department of Politics & History) and co-operates actively with the Contentious Politics Working Group of the Committee on Political Sociology (joint member of the International Political Science Association –IPSA, and International Sociological Association –ISA). Since 2008-09, it operates a yearly seminar on the political sociology, the culture and history of collective action bringing together original contributions on a variety of topics –including, among other themes, the impact of the recent Eurozone crisis on political contention. The laboratory also organizes conferences, workshops and other special events. The volume Violent Protest, Contentious Politics and the Neoliberal State (Ashgate, 2012), is the product one such successful conference, held in Athens back in 2009.


Laboratory on Contentious Programmatic Statement

Emergent supranational —‘multi-level’— governance structures, dense multipurpose, transnational networks, and fading territoriality (even when contradicted by resurgent localism) combine to transform the environment within which contemporary collective action is undertaken. In the early 21st century, and contrary to what used to be the case only a few years ago, contentious claims and discourse (or framings) are transmissible almost instantaneously. Assessment of these developments, however, raises more questions than answers. Although categorical (and mutually contradictory —glowing or gloomy) verdicts are in no short supply, most scholars approach the new environment as a puzzle. As Charles Tilly put it back in 2004,
[Will] the twenty-first century finally bring social movements to the long-dreamed culmination of People Power across the world?
[Will] technologies of communication such as text-messaging mobile telephones … provide the means for activists and ordinary people to shift the tactical balance away from capitalists, military leaders, and corrupt politicians? Or, on the contrary, [is the recent upsurge in collective action] … merely … the last churning of popular politics in the wake of globalisation’s dreadnaught?
Seeking a holistic appraisal of contemporary circumstances in a historical perspective, this Research Laboratory seeks to inspire original work —mainly (though not exclusively) within the booming Contentious Politics tradition— to explore topics such as:

Aspiring equally to theory formation/adjudication and empirical documentation expected to illuminate a wide range of cases drawn from both the global north and the noticeably less known south, the Laboratory will organise conferences, panels at international conferences and special events leading to publication in academic journals and edited volumes. It will also seek ways to build a global data bank of protest events open to scholars internationally, whilst also considering the possibility of starting a specialised journal.



Edited by Seraphim Seferiades, Panteion University, Greece and Hank Johnston, San Diego State University, USA, © 2012 – Routledge
Series : The Mobilization Series on Social Movements, Protest, and Culture


This volume of cutting-edge research comparatively analyzes violent protest and rioting, furthering our understanding of this increasingly prevalent form of claim making. Hank Johnston and Seraphim Seferiades bring together internationally recognized experts in the field of protest studies and contentious politics to analyze the causes and trajectories of violence as a protest tactic. Crossnational comparisons from North America, Britain, France, Germany, Greece, Iran, Thailand, and elsewhere contribute to the volume's theoretical elaboration, while several case studies add depth to the discussion. This title will be of key importance to scholars across the social sciences, including sociology, political science, geography and criminology. Johnston and Seferiades's exciting book is a significant contribution to the study of rioting and violent protest in the contemporary neoliberal state.
Contents: Preface; Section I Theoretical Perspectives: The dynamics of violent protest: emotions, repression and disruptive deficit, Seraphim Seferiades and Hank Johnston; Protest movements and violence, Frances Fox Piven; The outcomes of political violence: ethical, theoretical, and methodological challenges, Lorenzo Bosiand Marco Guigni; Age cohorts, cognition, and collective violence, Hank Johnston. Section II Regional Perspectives: France, Germany, and United Kingdom: Political violence in Germany: trends and exploration of causes, Dieter Rucht; The 'unusual suspects': radical repertoires in consensual settings, Mario Diani; The riots: a dynamic view, Donatella della Porta and Bernard Gbikpi. Section III Comparative Perspectives: Protest and repression in democracies and autocracies: Europe, Iran, Thailand, and the Middle East 2010–2011, Jack A. Goldstone; Contemporary French and British urban riots: an exploration of the underlying political dimensions, David Waddington and Mike King; The volatility of urban riots, Marilena Simiti. Section IV The Greek December, 2008: The Greek December, 2008, Hank Johnston and Seraphim Seferiades; Along the pathways of rage: the space-time of an uprising, Loukia Kotronaki and Seraphim Seferiades; Radical minorities, a decade of contention and the Greek December 2008, Nikos Lountos; Bibliography; Index