Interest Groups and Agendas

Frank R. Baumgartner

in The Oxford Handbook of American Political Parties and Interest Groups

Published in print January 2010 | ISBN: 9780199542628
Published online May 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of American Politics

 Interest Groups and Agendas

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This article starts by paying homage to E. E. Schattschneider, crediting him with initiating the study of interest groups and agenda building. Schattschneider shows a sense that the groups of voters were clearly unfair. There is little evidence that the system's elitist character is due to harsh boundary setting or active efforts to exclude; rather, the bias comes from the fact that some segments of society mobilize powerfully and speak with amplified voices and others mobilize little or not at all. Schattschneider's dual observations about groups and agendas have been at the core of subfield for almost fifty years now and there is no reason to abandon these important questions. Assessing the roles of groups in affecting what policymakers in Washington hear about is sobering.

Keywords: interest groups; agenda; E. E. Schattschneider; bias; Washington

Article.  6516 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; US Politics ; Political Behaviour

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