pressure groups

Groups of persons, employers, or other organizations joining together to represent the interests of a particular sectional groupvis-à-vis governments, the public at large, or other interest groups . Pressure groups, lobby groups, and interest groups are distinct from other clubs or social groups, in that their explicit purpose is to mobilize public opinion in support of their aims and to put pressure on decision-making bodies to agree to and support their demands, be they for the continuation of the existing state of affairs or for some change or innovation. Pressure groups coexist with other forms of interest aggregation, such as political parties, seeking to influence rather than to govern. Interest groups may develop into political parties by adopting a more open, less restricted platform; and some pressure groups have a special relationship with a political party, as illustrated by trade unions and the Labour Party in Britain.
A distinction is sometimes drawn between protective and promotional groups, the former defending a section of society, the latter promoting a cause. The first category includes trade unions, professional associations, employer and trade associations, and motoring associations defending the interests of car owners. The second category would include societies seeking to prevent cruelty to animals or to children, groups arguing for or against censorship, and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. The distinction between the two types of interest group is obviously not watertight. For example, trade unions frequently campaign for national minimum wage laws as a means of defending the interests of their members, although the case is always offered as being in the public interest.

Dictionary of sociology. 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • List of pressure groups in the United Kingdom — This is a list of pressure groups in the United Kingdom. These pressure groups, based on their relationship with United Kingdom policy makers, can be divided into insider groups, who have high degree of involvement and influence and outsider… …   Wikipedia

  • pressure group — pressure groups …   Dictionary of sociology

  • pressure group —    Pressure groups are private and voluntary organisations that seek to influence particular government policies but do not wish to become the government or control all government policies. They operate in the space between government and society …   Glossary of UK Government and Politics

  • pressure group — pressure groups N COUNT A pressure group is an organized group of people who are trying to persuade a government or other authority to do something, for example to change a law. ...the environmental pressure group Greenpeace …   English dictionary

  • pressure group — n a group or organization that tries to influence the opinions of ordinary people and persuade the government to do something →↑interest group ▪ environmental pressure groups …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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