Theorizing the Standoff

Contingency in Action

Theorizing the Standoff

This book combines original theoretical analysis with real life case studies to examine the nature of the standoff. The author explores seven actual standoffs between anti-state groups and organizations of law enforcement (six from the United Staes and one from Peru), and the archetypal patterns of human action and cognition that move us into and out of these highly charged situations. Evoking original ideas about time, space and appropriate or anticipated action, she develops a theory of the fundamental existential indeterminacy of social life and the role improvisation can play in preventing violent outcomes.


"Wagner-Pacifici has offered us a cabinet rich in terms and the parameters of a new program by which to understand social action as a dramatic genre." Contemporary Sociology 30, 3 action as a dramatic genre


Best Book Award 2001 - Joint Winner