chapter  2
22 Pages

Inventions of the Social Movement

WithCharles Tilly

Imagine an eighteenth-century voyage investigating variations in contention. You sail from London to Boston to Charleston during the turbulent year of 1768. Instead of a tourist guide—the great guide-making pioneer Karl Baedeker, after all, was not born until 1801!—you carry an atlas of contentious gatherings (CGs). In a contentious gathering, a number of people (let us say ten or more) gather in a publicly accessible place and collectively make claims on others outside their number, claims that if realized would affect those others’ interests (Tilly 1995: chap. 2 and appendix). The claims can run from physical attacks to pleas for mercy to expressions of political support.