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Lecture 8

Lecture 8 - Pressure Groups and Social Movements

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Political Science
Joseph Roman

March 4, 2014 Pressure Groups and Social Movements • Why groups organize • The political role of groups • Theories of groups • Political structures governing group’s influence on policymaking The Origins of Pressure Groups • Pressure groups form out of social change and state activities • Aggregate and articulate interests -always voluntary -there to raise issues with governments • Organizing in response to the size and scope of contemporary government • Specialized agencies and the technocratic nature of policymaking today -highly technical -group expertise • Link states with societies • Influence the public and public policy What do Pressure Groups Do? 1. Influence government 2. Usually focus on a single policy area 3. Eschew politics until an issue becomes important to them 4. Avoid involving themselves in elections, though this depends on a country’s electoral laws Types of Pressure Groups 1. Episodic One-time thing 2. Fire brigades Come and go as the issue makes it necessary. Once the issue is resolved, they disappear. 3. Political groups Focus on political action – there for the long haul How Do Pressure Groups Influence Policymaking? • Is the pressure group an insider group or an outsider group? • Insider groups have direct access to government and their concerns often revolve around technical issues -must be careful – could lose its status • Outsider groups have no access to government and they resort to political protests -no access to government -distributing pamphlets, etc. • What political opportunity structures exist? -various levels of government -bureaucracies, legislatures, public opinion, international organizations • Who are pressure groups competing with? -other pressure groups -resources Keys to Success 1. Time – commitment of leadership and membership 2. Resources - money 3. Organizational advantages 4. Membership density 5. Unity of members – group that a collection of members agree to represent The Roles of Pressure Groups in Policymaking • Policymaking as an inherently political act • The state as a central but not dominant player in policymaking • Policy decisions are not made in isolation of broader social forces and interests • Pressure groups develop their agendas around policy specific issues • Emergence of policy networks and the rise of expertise • Rise of policy communities -grouping of government agencies, pressure groups, media, prominent individuals, and academics • The strength or weakness of the targeted government organization Types of Pressure Groups I: Interest Groups • Professional associations • Represent organized labor and business • Seek to shape governments’economic policies in order to advance the interests of their members Types of Pressure Groups II: Cause Groups • Organized around a specific issue and engage in political struggled • Tend to seek to hold governments to account • Conflict with other cause groups is inherent Types of Pressure Groups III: New Social Movements • Concerned with an area of public life • Avoid bureaucratic organization • Anti-political • Counter-cultural • Anti-state • Interests and membership are broadly based • Loose and decentralized structure of membership and networks • Unconventional political tactics • Membership tends to be drawn from educated, middle-class professionals The Formation and Persistence of Social Movements 1. Window of opportunity – there has to be some sort of long standing conflict that needs to be resolved 2. Mobilization 3. Success leads to continued action The Elements of a Social Movement 1. Agroup of people with a conflictual orientation towards an opponent 2. Acollective identity 3. Aset of common beliefs and goals 4. Arepertoire of collective actions – how will they behave to transform public policy and what will they do to change public opinion Explanation of the Causes of Social Movements 1. The classical model • Structural breakdowns precipitate collective action • Yet, discontent doesn’t always lead to outbursts of protest 2. Resource mobilization model • Actors who feel aggrieved marshal their resour
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