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co-optation A term devised by Philip Selznick (see TVA and the Grass Roots 1949
), to refer to a political process found especially in formally democratic or committee-governed organizations and systems, as a way of managing opposition and so preserving stability and the organization. Non-elected outsiders are ‘co-opted’ by being given formal or informal power on the grounds of their élite status, specialist knowledge, or potential ability to threaten essential commitments or goals.