Have been on one of my periodic reading binges, this time on social movements and networks.
And on ‘agentic deadlock’, which I will discuss shortly (from a wonderful paper by a Keele PhD candidate).
For now though, this one has been rattling around my neurons.
Social Movement Organisations/Lobbyists/Non-governmental organisations are very prone to mistake “access” to the decision makers for “influence”. Mark Steel has a wonderful quote about this, which I turned into a youtube video.
If you’re running a ‘top-down’ hierarchical outfit, that needs to be able to justify its existence to donors/guilty middle-class people with cheque books, then you need to be seen to be talking to the ‘right’ people. So when someone from the government/local authority/etc invites you to sit on an “advisory panel” you say yes. You get to look important (and maybe even to kid yourself that you are). THEY get to say that they have consulted widely and broadly, and use you as a fig leaf if they have to. They don’t have to show that you’ve had any influence. If it suits them, they’ll give that impression.
Meanwhile, you’re spending all your time schmoozing, and refraining from rocking the boat. And the wider ‘movement’ beyond – well, they’re only little people, aren’t they.