Interest groups are voluntary associations bound together by shared political concerns. They serve an important function in helping to link citizens to government and helping government remain responsive. Many different types of groups are active in the American political system, including economic, citizen’s, and governmental groups. Of these, economic groups are the most numerous, the best funded, and the most influential. Interest groups engage in both inside and outside lobbying activities. The former involves the cultivation of contacts with key officials in government, while the latter involves mobilizing public pressure on government officials.
- Define interest groups and distinguish among types of economic, citizen’s, and governmental groups.
- Explain the role and activities of interest groups in lobbying, with an understanding of the differences between inside and outside lobbying techniques.
- Understand the operation of and differences between iron triangles and issue networks.
- Describe the role of PACs in interest group election activities.
- Explain the process of Rauch’s "demosclerosis".
- Discuss "Madison’s Dilemma" as it relates to interest group politics.
This title is part of the series: FRAMEWORK FOR DEMOCRACY
10 and up
Color and black-and-white