Pressure Group

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Description of Pressure Group. Explanation.


Pressure Group

Definition Pressure Group. Description.

A Pressure Group is a group of individuals sharing specific and explicit interests, aimed at influencing social and economical policies.

Pressure groups are also known as Advocacy Groups, Protest Groups, Lobby Groups (Lobbies), interest groups or special interests groups. All these terms can be used as referring to the same meaning, although they may differ according to the culture, context and the desired interpretative emphasis.

The definition of pressure groups can be wide and may comprehend groups of a few hundred people and groups of hundreds of thousands people.

Pressure groups, under the traditional connotation of political science, are groups of individuals organized to participate in the political debate from an external standpoint. In common language, pressure groups are not linked to a political party, although in practice they may be represented by a political candidate, sponsor an elected individual or may be informally linked to certain governmental units.

The independence from a political party is mainly dictated from the convergence process of political parties in many western countries: only a few parties (often two) are able to aspire to the power due to needed dimension, weight and strength. For this reason smaller parties, excluded from the government, take the shape of a pressure group.

Aim of Pressure Groups

The aim of pressure groups is to defend certain interests and promote certain behavior that sustain democracy and minorities representation. Their scope can be practical when they want to discuss, modify or ratify a defined policy, or more theoretical and ideological as when a pressure group defends certain rights and ideas.

Type of Pressure Groups

Pressure groups can act at local, regional, national and international level.

In addition, they can be divided in two categories:

  1. Pressure groups that merely act to protect their members’ interests.
  2. Pressure groups that promote a cause of general interest of society.

Influence of Pressure Groups

Pressure groups may vary in terms of focus of interest and influence range. The most influential pressure groups may be contacted from the government to take part in decisions on some specific issues. The success of a pressure groups is mainly based on its communication strategies and marketing campaigns.

Media Use by Pressure Groups

Traditional media are among the most common methods used for the external communication of pressure groups, but also distribution of texts and direct mail are getting more popular. Recently, the Internet demonstrated to be a very powerful and interactive means to distribute information to and from pressure groups as well. The web enables to overcome national and international borders, to bypass traditional mass communication channels, and is often more efficient.

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