Interest groups are political agents that represent preferences expressed in the worlds of labour, industry, public administration, social institutions, and people committed to expanding citizens' individual rights. The influence they exert on decision-making processes can be very important, in that interest groups often possess skills and resources that make them useful partners for governments aiming to implement good public policies. On the other hand, their actions also pose challenges for liberal democracies that try to avoid the consolidation of special interests that could hinder the pursuit of the common good. This book offers a comprehensive overview, in both descriptive and interpretative terms, of this complex and varied topic.
Contents: Preface. - 1. Interest Groups: What They Are, How They Emerge, What They Do. - 2. Approaches. - Part One: Mobilisation. - 3. Collective Action. - Part Two: Representation. - 4. Parties, Groups, and Social Movements. - 5. Alliances between Parties and Groups. - Part Three: Influence. - 6. Access. - 7. Interest Groups and the European Union. - 8. Lobbying. - 9. Strategies. - 10. The Most Influential Groups. - Part Four: Conclusions. - 11. Groups and Democracy. - Bibliographical References. - Index.
Liborio Mattina teaches Political Science and Comparative Politics at the University of Trieste.