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A co-opting or less frequently co-optation most commonly refers to action performed in a number of fields whereby an opponent is nullified or neutralized by absorption but there are other distinct senses as well.

Co-optation may also refer to the tactic of neutralizing or winning over a minority by assimilating them into the established group or culture.

The term may refer to an election in which members of a committee
A committee is a type of small deliberative assembly that is usually intended to remain subordinate to another, larger deliberative assembly—which when organized so that action on committee requires a vote by all its entitled members, is called the "Committee of the Whole"...

 (or similar group) vote in order to fill a vacancy on that committee or group. Where a small committee is originally elected using a method of proportional representation
Proportional representation
Proportional representation is a concept in voting systems used to elect an assembly or council. PR means that the number of seats won by a party or group of candidates is proportionate to the number of votes received. For example, under a PR voting system if 30% of voters support a particular...

, a co-option may be thought unsuitable as the newly elected member will then not necessarily represent the interests of the group represented by the vacating member.

Other disciplines

  • In evolutionary biology, co-option or exaptation
    Exaptation, cooption, and preadaptation are related terms referring to shifts in the function of a trait during evolution. For example, a trait can evolve because it served one particular function, but subsequently it may come to serve another. Exaptations are common in both anatomy and behaviour...

     refers to the shift in function of an adaptation.
  • In sociology
    Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

    , co-option refers to a trend or idea being incorporated into mainstream
    Mainstream is, generally, the common current thought of the majority. However, the mainstream is far from cohesive; rather the concept is often considered a cultural construct....

     culture; see also Cultural appropriation
    Cultural appropriation
    Cultural appropriation is the adoption of some specific elements of one culture by a different cultural group. It describes acculturation or assimilation, but can imply a negative view towards acculturation from a minority culture by a dominant culture. It can include the introduction of forms of...