The relationships between social movements and civil society on the one hand, and the corporate world on the other hand, are often shaped by conflict over the domination of economic, cultural and social life. How this conflict plays out, in current as well as in historical times and places, is the central question that unites the papers in this special issue. In this essay, we review the differences and points of contact between the study of social movements, civil society and corporations, and offer an agenda for future research at this intersection that also frames the papers in the special issue. We suggest that three research areas are becoming increasingly important: the blurring of the three empirical domains and corresponding opportunities for theoretical integration, the institutional and cultural embeddedness of strategic interaction processes between agents, and the consequences of contestation and collaboration. The papers in this special issue are introduced in how they speak to these questions. © The Author(s) 2013.