Alternativity as Freedom: Exploring Tactics of Emergence in Alternative Forms of Organizing

Sara Dahlman, Erik Mygind du Plessis*, Emil Husted, Sine Nørholm Just

*Corresponding author for this work

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This article proposes that being alternative is not a question of adhering to certain principles or applying certain practices, but rather a question of freedom. It does so by exploring three empirical cases of alternative organizing, namely the sustainable fin-tech start-up SusPens, teachers of mindfulness meditation, and the UK minor party Independents for Frome. The article first identifies a common trajectory, according to which alternative organizing usually begins with a rejection of the dominant socio-economic order. However, in seeking to increase their impact on the world, alternatives are often appropriated by the very order they were meant to depart from. On that basis, we explore how freedom can be articulated and enacted as emergent tactics that break free from this common trajectory and constitute alternativity as the ‘other’ within the existing order; in the cracks and crevasses that evade (discursive) regulation and where liberties can be taken. More specifically, we identify three emergent tactics of endurance, germination, and reiteration and discuss what they may teach us about organizing for freedom in the 21st century.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHuman Relations
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)1961-1985
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Published online: 24 Feb 2022.


  • Alternative organization
  • Freedom
  • Mindfulness
  • Political parties
  • Sustainable finance

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