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Cooptation and non-cooptation: elite strategies in response to social protest
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Government.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5921-0983
2019 (English)In: Social Movement Studies, ISSN 1474-2837, E-ISSN 1474-2829, Vol. 18, no 4, p. 444-462Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The risk of cooptation – of being absorbed by powerful elites without gaining new advantages – is an important concern in studies of social movements and social change. Through cooptation, elites undermine movements by stripping them of their credibility as agents of change. This paper aims to explain why, despite its powerful rationale, cooptation does not occur more frequently. Building on political process theory and relational sociology, it demonstrates that cooptation appears rational only on the condition that cooperation is valued lower than political domination. But elite-movement interaction may result in mutually strategic relationships that are conditional on each side’s recognition of the other’s interest. Two empirical cases illustrate this possibility: the US Civil Rights Movement and Latin American participatory budgeting. In both cases, the actors involved chose a strategy of "mutually assured autonomy" over cooptation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 18, no 4, p. 444-462
Keywords [en]
Co-optation, power, social movements, protests, autonomy
National Category
Political Science Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-384047DOI: 10.1080/14742837.2019.1577133ISI: 000467981100004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-384047DiVA, id: diva2:1318737
Available from: 2019-05-28 Created: 2019-05-28 Last updated: 2019-06-20Bibliographically approved

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