Pressure Groups

Overview

Pressure Groups are an increasingly important feature of the political landscape and they are active on many levels, local, national or European. They reflect a diverse compass of interests from the well-known (the National Farmers' Union) to the less familiar (the Zip Fastener Association) and interact with a wide range of political players in different parts of the political system: parties, the media, government and parliament. They are involved at every stage of the political process, from raising issues and ...

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Overview

Pressure Groups are an increasingly important feature of the political landscape and they are active on many levels, local, national or European. They reflect a diverse compass of interests from the well-known (the National Farmers' Union) to the less familiar (the Zip Fastener Association) and interact with a wide range of political players in different parts of the political system: parties, the media, government and parliament. They are involved at every stage of the political process, from raising issues and agenda setting to policy implementation and monitoring.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780748624393
  • Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
  • Publication date: 6/22/2007
  • Series: Politics Study Guides Series
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 5.40 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Duncan Watts is the editor at the Politics Association Resource Centre and has been an examiner in history and politics.

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Table of Contents

List of boxes viii

List of tables x

Introduction 1

The growth and extent of group activity 2

The proliferation of groups 3

Some matters of definition 6

Movements 7

Political parties and pressure groups 10

Why groups matter 13

Studying pressure groups: theoretical perspectives on group power 14

1 Classifying Pressure Groups 28

Opening observations 29

The sectoral approach 29

Protective and promotional groups 30

Insider and outsider groups 33

Summary 41

2 How Pressure Groups Operate 44

Groups and the access points they employ 45

The traditional outlets used by pressure groups 46

Alternative outlets 57

Summary 62

3 Pressure Group Resources and Success 66

Determinants of group influence across the world 67

The determinants of group effectiveness in Britain 68

Key factors in group influence 70

Group resources 70

Group access to and contacts with decision-makers 78

The political circumstances and climate 81

4 Trends in Group Activity since 1979 86

The explosion of group activity 87

Pressure groups under the Conservatives, 1979-97: a changing scene 90

The 1997 Labour government and group activity 92

Developments and trends in the British Green Movement since 1979: a case study 98

5 Protest Politics and Direct Action 110

The meaning of direct action 111

The growing popularity of direct action 113

Direct action in practice: some case studies 119

Recent trends reviewed 126

Is direct action legitimate in a democracy? 128

6 Pressure Groups and the Devolved Legislatures 135

General considerations 136

The growth of group activity in Scotland since devolution 136

A new style of Scottish government:consensus and consultation 138

The Scottish Civic Forum 143

Consultation with the Scottish Executive in practice 144

The reactions of different categories of Scottish pressure groups 147

Case studies: the experience of two influential Scottish pressure groups 149

Criticisms of group activity in Scotland 152

Assessment of group activity in Scotland 154

Pressure groups and the Welsh National Assembly 158

Pressure groups in Northern Ireland 160

7 Lobbying the European Union 166

Why pressure groups lobby in the European Union 167

Why the amount of lobbying has increased in recent years 171

How pressure groups lobby in the European Union and the institutions they target 173

Recent trends in European Union lobbying 177

The findings of a 1993 questionnaire 179

The findings of a 2004 update 180

Conclusion 182

8 The Abolition of Hunting with Dogs: an English, Welsh and Scottish Case Study 187

Introduction 188

The campaign to end hunting with dogs in England and Wales 188

The pressure groups involved on either side of the dispute and the methods employed 192

The campaign to end hunting with dogs in Scotland 198

Conclusion 202

9 Pressure Groups and Democracy 206

Assessing group activity 207

The case against pressure groups: how they undermine democracy 208

The case for pressure groups: how they sustain and enhance democracy 215

Conclusion 218

References 223

Index 230

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