Quiet Politics and the Power of Business
This special issue of Politics and Society titled ‘Quiet Politics and the Power of Business: New Perspectives in an Era of Noisy Politics’ uses and extends Culpepper’s influential concept of “quiet politics” according to which business is able to shape policies and regulations when issues are of low salience to the public and politicians. The special issue is edited by Christian Lyhne Ibsen (FAOS) and Glenn Morgan (University of Bristol).
The issue takes Culpepper’s analysis further in ways that respond to the rise of noisy politics over the last few years, often associated with new strident forms of left- and right-wing populism. Three contributions are made. First, the articles show that salience is not an inherent property of a policy area but is socially constructed. Second, a variety of strategies are described that business uses when trying to keep politics quiet. Third, strategies are affected by the structure of business, which varies across types of capitalism. Future research can use these insights to extend our understanding of the limits, strategies, and dynamics of quiet politics across political economies.
Quiet Politics, Trade Unions, and the Political Elite Network: The Case of Denmark
Pepper Culpepper’s seminal Quiet Politics and Business Power has revitalized the study of when business elites can shape policies away from public scrutiny. This article takes the concept of quiet politics to a new, and surprising, set of actors: trade union leaders. Focusing on the case of Denmark, it argues that quiet politics functions through political elite networks and that this way of doing politics favors a particular kind of corporatist coordination between the state, capital, and labor. Rather than showing macrocorporatist coordination between the two classes and governments, it identifies representatives of business and labor that hold privileged positions in political elite networks. Representatives of segments are found in industries important for the Danish economy, specifically, the exporting manufacturing sector. Being at the core of the network requires not only a key position in the Danish economy but also an understanding that politics is often done best without politicians and voters. The analysis shows that trade union and business association representatives work closely on a wide number of issues through quiet politics, using their extensive network to broker and foster agreement between different stakeholders.
Read the introduction to ‘Quiet Politics and the Power of Business: New Perspectives in an Era of Noisy Politics’ by Christian Lyhne Ibsen and Glenn Morgan.
Read the article ‘Quiet Politics, Trade Unions, and the Political Elite Network: The Case of Denmark’ by Christian Lyhne Ibsen, Christoph Houman Ellersgaard and Anton Grau Larsen.