Editorial in Contention

Benjamin Abrams, Giovanni Travaglino, Peter R Gardner, Brian Callan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2022

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