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Abstract

In France, in 2009–2010, on several occasions, managers announcing redundancies were held hostage by workers. Public opinion polls show widespread support for the ‘bossnappers’, while the State did not taken action against them. Employing the insights of new institutionalism and social movement theory, this article explains the legitimization of such radical, illegal action through the notion of a permissive ideational environment resulting from a tradition of trade union militancy, pre-existing concerns over globalization and more recent fears of, and government and trade union responses to, globalization and the current economic crisis.