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POLI 222 Study Guide - Final Guide: Causal Model, Carbon Tax, Southern Democrats


Department
Political Science
Course Code
POLI 222
Professor
Christa Scholtz
Study Guide
Final

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POLI 222: PART 3 Readings, Lectures, and Conference Readings Mallory Allan
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PART 3: Political Demands and Public Policy Process
1. Public and Private Interest Groups:
key questions: where do they come from, how and to what degree are they organized, under what
conditions to they exert influence, and what role do they place in democratic politics?
Schattsneider ! "politics is the mobilization of bias" - a competition between interests
Early literature addresses the role interest groups play/to what degree they exert influence but not where
they come from
Pluralism: view that politics and decision making are located mostly in the framework of the government,
but that non-govt. actors exert influence using their resources
This was a competitive field of literature: basic shared ideas was interest groups were in a
competitive landscape, an equal playing field among groups, wide array of interest organization in
the public sphere
State was seen as neutral arbiter - did not privilege one set of interests over another
Mancur Olson: The Logic of Collective Action (1965)
This answers the question of where interest groups come from in the first place (context was the rise of the
American civil rights movement - he was American scholar). He distinguishes between two types of interest
groups.
Private interest groups: pursue their ability to enjoy private groups
Public interest groups: pursue ability to enjoy public goods
Central problem is that public goods are non excludable/non-rivalrous
-A person cannot be excluded from enjoying the good
-One person's consumption does not mean it decreases the ability of someone else to enjoy it
-There are costs associated with producing public goods; creates the free rider problem: actors acting
upon individual rationality that they will not need to contribute to benefit leads to nobody contributing - a
suboptimal outcome for the collective whole
Olson outlines three types of groups:
1) privileged groups - will gain more than it would cost them to provide the good unilaterally
2) latent groups - any member could withhold his contribution and it would not lead to a noticeable reduction
in the supply of the good
3) intermediate groups - if any member withholds his/her contribution, it is a noticeable reduction in the
supply
Olson also outlines two reasons why larger groups have problems:
1) as the size of a group rises, so do the organizational costs associated with this
2) each member gets a lower share of the same benefits - thus, it is less likely that anybody's benefit of
helping provide the good exceeds the costs
Olson states organization of an interest group will only occur if it brings benefit to the organizer and provides
a microeconomic framework to explain how interest groups are formed; he states economic considerations
are an important factor in this decision, as well as status or prestige pay-offs.
The Functioning of an Interest Group System: Theoretical Approaches
Neo-institutionalism:

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POLI 222: PART 3 Readings, Lectures, and Conference Readings Mallory Allan
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Paul Pross's policy community model
States we should think about an organizational field in a certain way
The closer to the center the more powerful you are, the farther out less powerful you are
Consider the complexity of a policy field, organization is required
Corporatism (interest incorporated):
Interests are organized in a more rigid, elite level structure
More relevant in European/Chinese context than in the Canada
Neo-Marxism:
View that not all groups are able to participate
Interest group politics is about can be reduced to a class based analysis
State is pro-capital, generating tax revenue, health is based on GDP growth
We are deluded to think the state itself is neutral actor
Common critique of interest group politics: democracy in peril
Why are interest groups are bad for our democracy?
1) Free rider problem creates organizational issue for public interest groups to compete in the field with
private interest groups
2) Interest group politics is really about special interests (private groups)
3) Interest group politics is the ability of interest groups to impose private interests on public institutions/
public officials
-The degree of influence is dependent on the amount of resources, so private interest groups are able to
exert more influence
-If we look at it from this perspective, interest group politics is problem, because in a fundamental way it is
no longer a public issue or pubic policy
-Public interest groups may form but they will face more problems with organization and will be weaker than
private groups
-We should be worried of special interest groups capturing our institutions
-We need to monitor interest groups, and create lobbying legislation
There is another perspective: public institutions are the problem
-Public institutions are not representative (unrepresented minorities, don’t speak to the interests of poor
people)
-Political parties are structured in certain ways, which are not neutral
-Interest groups are a way to try and rebalance things
-Interest group politics are the way to get around the issue we have with underrepresentation in political
institutions
2. Social Movements:
key questions: what is the difference between interest groups and social movements? how do they relate?
Defining social movements: there is no one set definition
Some “authoritative” definitions to consider:
1) Sydney Tarrow:
Social movements are collective challenges, based on common purposes, and social solidarities, in
sustained interaction with elites, opponents, and authorities.
2) Charles Tilly:

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POLI 222: PART 3 Readings, Lectures, and Conference Readings Mallory Allan
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Social movements are sustained challenges to power holders in the name of a disadvantaged population by
means of repeated public displays of that population’s numbers, commitment, unity, and worthiness
-For Tilly, taking challenges to the public/visibility is key
"Historically-specific clusters of political performance”
A lack of results or legislative change does not mean a failure
Central to the idea of a social movement is a (sometimes quite) loose coalition of actors, needs to be
displayed in leadership, organization and grassroots activism (an element of the disorganized being
organized)
Post modern idea: social movements are about the formation of new collective identities
From social movement to social network - the media:
-Understanding a movement as a network of actors
-Formal network analysis
-Which actorsmatter”: concept of network centrality
-Internet not just as means of communication but as organizational process
Social movements are also interested in different repertoires of action: not just who but HOW
-Example: the civil rights movement - the march - a particular repertoire of action
-”The sit in” in the American civil rights movement - modified/innovated within the Native Rights movement
-Idea also that these strategies are political innovations and can be adopted by other movements
When are social movements successful? There are different theoretical approaches to this.
Political process/political opportunities model:
There is a political opportunity structure and sometimes opportunities arise, structure opens and a “moment
of opportunity” independent of the movement itself arises. The movement will not get traction until the
structure opens up/changes.
Critique: what is an opening of the structure/political opportunity anyways?
Resource mobilization model: Bulson
A social movement's success has to do with the resources the movement is able to mobilize. This approach
points to the organizational capacity and strength - advertising, time, and the money allocated to the
movement will determine success.
Readings for this section:
Miriam Smith. Identity and Opportunity: The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Movement (ER
60)
-Fundamental change in LGBT rights since 1960s
-The movement challenges social norms
-Not only changing public policies but dedicated to changing dominant hetero-normative codes
-The political process model stresses external opportunities, and the LGBT movement has fit this model -
exploiting external opportunities to reach success despite the fact it is not well-resourced
-Theories that pay attention to culture and identity as well as the political process of mobilization are most
useful to understanding the LGBT movement
1960s:
-Several developments formed backdrop of the modern movement
1964: ASK group founded - advocating for homosexuality and gender education in Vancouver
-1967 Supreme Court upheld criminalization of homosexuality - man imprisoned for engaging in consensual
activities
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