What the recovery movement tells us about prefigurative politics

Melinda Beckwith, Ana-Maria Bliuc, David Best

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)
255 Downloads (Pure)


The concept of prefigurative politics has re-emerged following recent worldwide uprisings, such as the Occupy movement, to which this concept has been applied. In applying a contemporary analysis to prefigurative politics, we explore the contribution of community-based recovery groups to the recovery movement, a socio-political movement in the fields of mental health and addiction treatment. We argue that collective action in recovery groups is derived from the formation of an opinion-based social identity and results in alternative approaches to unmet needs, creatively addressing these identified needs through the utilisation of personal, social and collective resources within an emerging recovery community. To illustrate our argument, we provide examples of community-based recovery groups and the approaches they use in addressing the identified needs of their recovery community. We conclude with an analysis of what community-based recovery groups and the wider recovery movement can contribute to a contemporary understanding of prefigurative politics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)238-251
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Social and Political Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 2016


  • recovery
  • social identity
  • collective action
  • mental health
  • addiction


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