The politics of alliances. The making and breaking of social movement coalitions. Introduction to the special issue
AutorInnen: Zajak, Sabrina; Haunss, Sebastian Publikationsjahr: 2021
This special issue will focus on processes and mechanisms of the making and unmaking of alliances among different grassroots, civil society, and social movement organizations. The formation of alliances is a key principle and basic mechanism of mobilization and the emergence of social movements. When focusing on why and how alliances emerge, social movement scholars tend to neglect that the making and breaking of coalitions is embedded in and interacting with broader social dynamics of societal fragmentation and convergence. We understand the politics of alliances as a process in which decisions about friends and foes are made and where increased attachment toward one’s group helps to consolidate the constituency and create a feeling of belonging, but by doing so also accentuates antagonism and conflict structures in society, crystallizing interests into opposing fractions. Such dynamics often happen at the same time. Social movements may foster ideological alignment and belonging with some actors while creating more ideological distance towards others – thereby shaping the overall structure of societal relations. The contributions in the special issue build upon existing research on alliances and expands it – focusing on different friends and foes dynamics – in three important aspects: First, they look at how alliance formation interacts with the (re-)making of social boundaries and identities. Second, they address the consequences alliance formation can have across levels and contexts. Third, they explicitly look into cases where alliances fail or dissolve, and thus address the consequences of (un)making alliances.
Keywords: Alliances; coalitions; grassroots movements; social movement organizations (SMOS)doi: 10.1080/14742837.2021.1973890