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Canada (509,327)
POL101Y1 (1,148)
Lecture

Feb 14 2011

4 Pages
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Department
Political Science
Course
POL101Y1
Professor
Nelson Wiseman
Semester
Winter

Description
*Feb 14th Guest Speaker Interest Groups p51* Major issues involving the political role of interest groups in Canada o Interest groups have come rather lately to become a subject of study o Operate primarily behind closed doors along the corridors of power o 1970-present, research has expanded very rapidly - has become possible to provide overviews of the interest group system - Does the interest group system in Canada provide an alternative avenue for citizen representation and participation in addition to that of parties and the electoral process, and that of the media? - Are interest groups effective communication of policy issues and of public concerns to the political parties and leading government officials? - Are interest groups composed of narrowly-based elites who promote unequal competition and priority access to political decision-makers for a few privileged groups? Or do they represent a broad spectrum of the population in such lobbying activity? - Do interest groups provide effective support for government officials in implementing and winning public approval for government policies and legislation? - How significant an impact has the lobbyist registration act (initially passed in 1988 and subsequently amended on several occasions) had on regulating and reforming interest group behaviour in Canada? Definitions and types of Interest Groups - Definition - An interest group is an association of individuals designed to promote the economic, socio, and cultural activities and interests of individual members of society by means of some sort of collective activity. - A political interest group is any association organized to promote the interest of its members through the exercise of influence on government decision makers and on public policy - Types of interest groups o Institutionalized vs. issue oriented interest groups o Critique of Pross' typology (Burt 1990) - pay attention to the ideas, attitudes of social change provided by interest groups rather than the structure of the interest group itself o Extension of typology to include some of the more interesting new types of interest groups - such as charter based groups, public interest groups Framework of analysis for studying and evaluating interest group behaviour - Major structural factors shaping these perspectives: US presidential congressional "separation of power" system versus Canadian cabinet - parliamentary "fusion of power" system and their relation to interest group behaviour - Competing perspectives on interest groups in Canada: o 1) Presthus' Elite accommodation perspectives (1973,1974) § Most significant features (Thorburn chapter 5) § Relation to 3 major strategic elites: executive legislative, bureaucratic and private sector leaders (see: diagram) § The close clientele relationship between the elite groups § The pattern of mutual accommodation and exchange o 2) Pross "Functional communication" (Post-pluralist) perspective 1975, 1986, 1992 § 3 principle functions of interest groups: 2 way information and communication function, legitimation function, regulation and administrative function § Institutionalized - groups that possess organizational continuity and cohesion, high human and financial reso
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