Reviewed by: Cheryl LaGuardia, Research Librarian, Widener Library, Harvard University
In the Aims and Scope section of the journal website, Contention is identified as “a scientific journal which aims to offer a novel contribution to the study of social protest. The journal intends to advance knowledge about a comprehensive range of collective actions, social movements and other forms of political and social contention. Its main purposes are to offer a multidisciplinary forum to scholars from different fields and to bridge the gap between them, within and across the social sciences and humanities.” This same page also notes that, “Contention is directed to a varied audience, including scholars and students from the arts and the social sciences, and in general to individuals with a scientific and applied interest in the topic of social protest and collective actions” and that “Contention welcomes contributions from all scholars, including postgraduate students.”
A look at the editorial board shows that a number of its members are Ph.D. candidates and recent graduates of university, as well as a number of emeriti faculty. A check of the OnlineFirst section of the journal, where online articles usually appear before being published in print, revealed no articles. A look at the Current Issue, Vol. 3 Issue 2 – April 2016, included an introductory piece, “Politics, Consumption or Nihilism: Protest and Disorder After the Global Crash,” which noted that “the first of these issues [Vol. 3 Issue 1] concentrated on the riots in England following the global financial crash of 2008, this second issue focuses on the social movements that emerged in this context.” Other articles following up on that theme in the issue include, “Negotiating the Resistance: Catch 22s, Brokering and Contention Within Occupy Safer Spaces Policy,” “Social Movements and Social Policies: Political Challenges Under Austerity in the UK,” “Rage and Protest: The Case of the Greek Indignant Movement,” “2012 Quebec Student Protests: Some Observations on Motives, Strategies and their Consequences on the Reconfigurations of State and Media Discourses,” “The Cartographies of Protest,” and “Pacifying Disruptive Subjects: Police Violence and Anti-Fracking Protests.” These articles are certainly aimed at an academic audience, and at an audience studying European protest movements and methods.
The journal site includes a Links section, linking to Related Open-Access Journals (the Journal of Social and Political Psychology and Papers on Social Representations) as well as to Research Centers & Groups (Center for the Study of Group Processes and Kent Adult Research Unit). The journal includes a simple search system.
Scholarly researchers in protest studies will probably be better served at this point by Routledge’s Social Movement Studies: journal of social, cultural and political protest, but that’s a pricey title ($1,080.00 combined subscription per year to institutions for print & online eds., effective 2016). It will be worth keeping an eye on Contention to see if its open access content and quality improve sufficiently to compete with the Routledge journal.