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A Strategic Approach to the Alliance-Formation Process Between Activists and Legislators in Chile

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 April 2023

Rodolfo López Moreno*
Rodolfo López Moreno is a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Social Conflict and Cohesion Studies (COES) and an associate researcher at the Universidad Diego Portales, Santiago, Chile.


Legislative allies are widely recognized as key to social movement success, but the emergence of their alliance with activists remains understudied. This article proposes a strategic approach to this phenomenon based on the cases of the environmental, labor, and LGBT+ movements in Chile and their allied legislators. According to this approach, an alliance emerges due to two necessary conditions. Movement organizations must display tactical capacity, which signals their adaptability and competence to participate in Congress. And a socially skilled leadership creates the trust required for movement leaders and legislators to cooperate during the lawmaking process. This approach emphasizes that alliances emerge from activists’ strategic efforts to build a social tie, whose effectiveness is mediated by legislators’ expectations and congressional norms. By specifying the strategic dimension of an alliance, this study highlights the capacity of activists to foster cooperative relations with state actors.

Research Article
© The Author(s), 2023. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the University of Miami

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Conflict of interest: The author declares that there are no conflicts of interest.


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