Between the Lines

Between the Lines

40 years of books without bosses, 1977-2017

Conform, Fail, Repeat

How Power Distorts Collective Action

By Christopher Samuel  

Conform, Fail, Repeat

$22.36 – Available for purchase on October 18th, 2017

Anti-globalization activists have done little to slow capitalism’s global march. Many of the gains made by decades of identity-based movements have been limited to privileged subgroups.The lesson of these movements is clear: struggle for change is essential, but the direction of change matters considerably.

Like movements of the past, current social movements such as Black Lives Matter, Idle No More, and the growing anti-Trump movement, must navigate a path between reformism and radicalism, pragmatism and idealism, capture and independence.

In Conform, Fail, Repeat, Christopher Samuel uses Pierre Bourdieu’s central “thinking tools” to show how power and domination force movements into a no-win choice between conformity and failure. With special attention to North American LGBTQ politics and the G20 protests in Toronto, Conform, Fail, Repeat shows how Bourdieu’s work can give movement observers as well as participants new tools for tracking and avoiding the pitfalls of conformity and failure.

  • Paperback / softback, 224 pages
  • ISBN 9781771133371
  • Coming October 2017


To the extent that it challenges the dominant assumptions of social movement theory as well as prevailing views on power and oppression (rooted in the work of Michel Foucault and Judith Butler), this work will likely generate considerable debate.

– E. Reader

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 A troubled relation: Critical Theory and Social Movement Research
Chapter 2 Habitus Conforms, Habitus Fails
Chapter 3 The violence of 'better': collective identity and symbolic power
Chapter 4 There is no way: tactic and antinomy
Chapter 5 Suffering and Justice
Chapter 6 New stakes: symbolic capital and symbolic democracy

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