Freedom in Contention

Social Movements and Liberal Political Economy

Published by Lexington Books

Social movements have been implicated in long-term societal transformations, helping bring about political democratization, economic freedom, and social equality. In recent years, movements such as Occupy Wall Street, the Arab Spring, and Black Lives Matter have organized protests, and other contentious activities, against varied injustices in the world today. But what are social movements, how do they work, and what are their impacts upon society? In this landmark contribution, social movement activities and outcomes are understood through the lens of liberal political economy. This approach emphasizes dynamic collective choices within multi-faceted economic, political, and social environments, with the capacity for such choices to promote freedom, equality, and dignity. Inspired by the works of Friedrich Hayek, Elinor and Vincent Ostrom, and James Buchanan, Freedom in Contention illustrates how social movements fluidly organize in often repressive environments, bringing people together in their efforts to audaciously challenge public power and other forms of authority. Using historical and contemporary case studies, this book reveals how advances in human liberty are shaped by the struggles of social movement activists to have their concerns heard and respected. This important book will appeal to social scientists, decision-makers, and people interested in how social movements affect our lives.

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