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The European Union and Beyond

Conceptualising and Comparing Interest Groups and Interest Group Systems

Comparative Politics
Interest Groups
Workshop Number
Workshop Director
Andrea Pritoni
Scuola Normale Superiore
Workshop Co-Director
Claudius Wagemann
Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt

When starting their project on the ‘Organization of Business Interests’ in the early 1980s, Philippe Schmitter and Wolfgang Streeck conceptualized business interest associations (BIAs) as being confronted with two different sets of opposite logics: on the one hand, BIAs would face the juxtaposition between the ‘logic of influence’ and the ‘logic of membership’. On the other hand, Schmitter and Streeck also saw BIAs challenged by finding a position between the ‘logic of effective implementation’ and the ‘logic of goal formation’. When combining the extremes of the two dichotomies, Schmitter and Streeck showed that BIAs would become similar to: governments (logic of influence and logic of effective implementation); firms (logic of membership and logic of effective implementation); movements (logic of influence and logic of goal formation); clubs (logic of membership and logic of goal formation).
While this conceptual framework sounds convincing, there have never been systematic operationalizations and/or conceptualizations of the two abovementioned dichotomies.
In line with this, the workshop focuses on the conceptualization and the operationalization of Schmitter’s and Streeck’s dichotomies. We think that their conceptual framework could be applicable to all kinds of interest groups. Thus, if we are able to locate every interest group with regard to every dichotomy, we will also be able to say in how far a single group comes close to the ideal types of governments, firms, movements, and clubs. This takes up ideas of (fuzzy) property spaces as developed in some more recent approaches in social science methodology.
Such an analysis of ideal types can then also lead to an analysis of national interest group systems in comparative perspective. More in detail, we hypothesize a linkage between the relative predominance, in a particular interest group system, of a particular ideal type, and the characteristics of that interest group system as a whole.

Paper List

Title Details
‘It’s What’s Inside That Counts’ − How Intra-Group Factors Shape Interest Group Lobbying in the European Union View Paper Details
Comparing Greek and German Interest Groups in the Eurozone Crisis Through Discursive Actor Attribution Analysis View Paper Details
Conceptualising Interest Groups and Interest Group Systems: A Framework for Analysis View Paper Details
Congruence Analysis and Scaling Qualitative Content Analysis as Toolset for Institutionalized Policy Coordination in Interest Group Influence Research View Paper Details
Explaining Patterns of Party Birth and Death in Western European Parliaments View Paper Details
Explaining the Diversity of Forms of Interest Organisation by Interest Domain in the United Kingdom, France, The Netherlands and Germany View Paper Details
How does the Request for Greater Transparency Affect Interest Inter-Mediation? View Paper Details
Interest Group Influence in European Union Agencies: Conceptualisation and Measurement of Influence  View Paper Details
Interest Groups and the Great Recession: The Strategical Framing of the Crisis View Paper Details
Media Strategies of Public Interest Groups: A Threat to Corporatist Bargaining? Evidence from the Swiss Case View Paper Details
Re-Thinking the Logics of Collective Action by Interest Associations View Paper Details
Systemic Effects of Organisational Change in German Business Associations View Paper Details
The Four Logics within Organisational Ecologies: The Example of Organised Labour View Paper Details
The Transformations of Neo-Corporatism: Comparing Denmark and Switzerland over Time View Paper Details
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