The orthodox case
The drift from representation towards solidarity
in Groups, representation and democracy
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This chapter examines the ‘orthodox’ case of representative groups that under-perform. It makes the point that a major source of pessimism about groups as democratic agents is not the lack of democratic practices constitutionally within representation groups, but with the lack of this constitutional promise being implemented. The hollowing out of the UK Federation of Small Businesses and the NSW Farmers' Association, in Australia, was a choice made by groups who needed to balance the active engagement of members with a desire to grow the group such that it had the resources for a research-based policy advocacy. They chose a pathway to group growth that necessitated a substantial increase in resources. Small businesses or farmers would and did join for policy related reasons, but just not in big enough numbers to build the resources desired by leaders to engage in resource-intensive research-based advocacy.

Groups, representation and democracy

Between promise and practice

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