Darren Halpin
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Interest group aliases
Towards definitional commensurability?
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This chapter tackles the question of group definitions and labels. On the one hand, new arrivals import elastic labels, and on the other, group scholars steadfastly defend interest group conventions. In both cases, scholarly progress is the casualty. The chapter starts by reviewing the labels in use and examining the ways in which they are deployed in the literature. Looking across disciplinary literatures, the chapter argues that one can find a core definitional base. And further, it argues that interest group scholars should be more ready to engage with their new intellectual neighbours operating in allied social movement, voluntary sector, global politics, and civil society literatures. The chapter settles on a ‘group’ definition, and then addresses areas of difference with other key terms used by social scientific scholars.

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