Collective system-supporting inaction: A conceptual framework of privilege maintenance

Susanne Täuber*, Catherine Moughalian

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
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Recent protest movements such as #MeToo exposed that institutional change initiatives targeting harassment and discrimination have so far failed to achieve equity. We propose that this is because such policy initiatives fail to account for the motivation of those privileged by inequality regimes to maintain and perpetuate these systems. Addressing gaps in collective action scholarship, we introduce a normative framework conceptualising the inaction of dominant groups as system-supporting behaviour to preserve the status quo. System-supporting inaction is a central and highly effective technique used by dominant group members to hinder processes of change and preserve their power, and it often preludes escalation to violent backlash over time. Building on sociological models of inequality and power, we develop a conceptual model that accounts for the group dynamics associated with collective system-supporting (in)action. We propose an agenda for future research that focuses on resistance to change as a means of maintaining privilege.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1128-1142
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number7
Early online date19-Sept-2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2022


  • collective resistance to change
  • inequality regimes
  • inequality reproduction
  • power and privilege
  • system-supporting inaction

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