Jiří Navrátil: Outline of a theoretical typology of antisystemic actors

ISPO-WP-2008/5  

Category of antisystemic actors is relatively often employed in political science. The aim of this paper is two-fold. First, it criticizes contemporary usage of "antisystemicity" as too self-contained analytical concept. In order to demonstrate this, two key theoretical traditions of the term - G. Sartori's classification of party systems and world-systemic ("wallersteinian") research of international political economy and its challengers - are described, analyzed and mutually compared. Their understanding of antisystemic protest is depicted in order to show some shortcomings and inadequacies of their usage of this category. Second, the paper strives to theoretically and formally unfold, integrate and further develop the concept of antisystemic contention in order to clarify the modes of its usages for socio-political reality. This inquiry consists of analyses of three key factors of antisystemic collective action - i.e. its object, subject and relations inbetween. The analysis of object is basically grounded in Luhmann's neofunctionalist theory of modernization. Based on systems theory analysis of society, paper proceeds to grasp a subject-actor as a general and case insensitive category, thus connecting existing concepts of antisystemic political subjects. Further analyzed dimension of antisystemic protest are its goals and forms of action, but also its penetration by politics and economy. In conclusion, a general three-dimensional typology of antisystemic collective action is drawn from preceding analyses and offered as a methodological tool for empirical research of political contention.

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