The role of pressure groups
in British politics today
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This chapter deals with the development of pressure groups in Britain, the relationship between the groups and the government, and the political methods used by the groups. Theoretical perspectives such as those of Robert Dahl and Phillipe Schmitter are also briefly explained. Pressure groups figure very highly in the politics of modern democratic states and may be seen as providing a form of 'functional' representation (of social groups or blocks of voters) that is especially important between elections; they can be divided into two kinds: economic and cause groups. While trade unions, business organisations, and professional organisations are economic groups, sectional and attitude groups, peak associations, 'fire brigade' groups and episodic groups are examples of cause groups. Pressure groups need to be on good terms with government for the sake of their own interests.

British politics today

The essentials

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