Politics and Society 49 (1):43-73 (2021)

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.
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DOI 10.1177/0032329220985748
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