Contention and social order: The historical relation between political and social riot dispositives
(2022) European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology
The relation between political contention and social order is a fundamental field of sociological inquiry. This article puts forward a dispositive perspective on the relation by analysing its constitution in concrete objects of control. Focusing on the object of riots, I uncover a significant change at the turn of the nineteenth century. Before the change, political and social riot dispositives were both mutually exclusive and in danger of transforming into each other. This meant that riots were sites in which the relation between contention and social order was negotiated. This negotiation was brought to a halt by a new relation. Consequently, political and social riot dispositives could coexist on the condition that riots became a liminal object. This article contributes to our empirical knowledge on the link between political and social dispositives and opens up a new perspective on the general relation between contention and social order. © 2022 European Sociological Association.
Contention; dispositives; Foucault; riots; social order