Are ‘protest businesses’ contemporary phenomena?
in Groups, representation and democracy
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This chapter challenges the period-based arguments which suggest obliquely that democratically inferior ‘mass-membership’ groups are a modern phenomenon — and that they may also be the result of hollowing out processes among formerly more democratic groups. In the UK, the ‘protest business’ thesis pursued by Jordan and Maloney (1997) has served as a touchstone for this broader thesis. However, based on historical case studies of three such ‘protest businesses’, the chapter argues that these groups hardly constitute internally hollowed out groups. They have, since very early in their group careers, pursued a passive mass-supportership base to fund ‘good works’. This work has broader implications for the study of group change.

Groups, representation and democracy

Between promise and practice

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