From the award-winning team behind the International Encyclopaedia of Political Science... Moving beyond mainstream “traditional” approaches to bring you a new advanced-level introduction to political science. A perfect introduction for postgraduates who are new to political science, as well as upper-level undergraduates looking to broaden and deepen their understanding of core topics, this progressive account: • Guides you through all key areas of political science: origins, methodological foundations, key topics, and current issues • Takes an international and pluralist perspective with all issues explored in a comparative way related to different cultural and historical contexts • Includes pulled-out descriptions of major concepts, further reading and self-assessment questions at the end of each chapter.

Interest Groups

Interest Groups

Key terms

  • Advocacy
  • Collective action
  • Corporatism/neo-corporatism
  • Lobbying
  • Pluralism
  • Political machine
  • Policy networks


In addition to social movements (Chapter 10), political parties (Chapter 13) or even individual action, another form of expressing demands towards the political system is represented by interest groups. These articulate and aggregate interests at the meso-level of politics (see also Chapter 1). Interest groups can be defined as ‘formal organizations, usually based on individual voluntary membership, which seek to influence public policies without assuming government responsibility’ (Mattina, 2011: 1219). This definition emphasizes three elements: (1) interest groups are formal organizations which means they are relatively permanent and have a clearly identifiable membership and leadership (as distinct, for example, from social movements); (2) membership is usually voluntary, you can join or leave freely; (3) they try to ...

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