From Göran Therborn, The Ideology of Power and the Power of Ideology

Any regime can produce its own social consent by presenting all outright opposition with impossible odds. Such consent may not involve a widespread sense of representation among the ruled, but it need not be based on massive fear. It could instead be rooted in resignation, deference, and
accommodation — which, in many or most bourgeois-democratic countries, are
probably more important components of consensus than is a sense of representation.

There are other ways to experience a “sense of representation” that have nothing to do with formal politics but which also protect the existing political status quo.

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