Pressure Group definitions and examples and pressure group democracy

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Citizenship in Action Research Task
Definitions and Examples
Pressure Group
Definition: A group that tries to influence public policy in the interest of a particular
Examples: Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), Amnesty
International, Oxfam, Greenpeace. Some less well-known groups; Surfers
against Sewage, British Toilet Association, Muslim Council of Britain, as well
as local pressure groups that are set up within a community to campaign
against an issue that affects just the small area, for example a new road or
train line, a new supermarket or a big shopping centre.
Types of Pressure Groups
Insider Groups:
Definition: Insider pressure groups are the groups that the government - local or
national - considers to be legitimate and are, therefore, given access to the
decision making process.
Examples: National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), Police
Federation, British Medical Association.
Outsider Groups:
Definition: They have to work outside the governmental decision making process and,
therefore, have fewer opportunities to determine the direction of policy.
They are often featured more in the Media which can be considered a sign of
their weakness.
Examples: Irish Republican Army (IRA) ­ Considered anti-constitutional as its violent
method, terrorism, is unacceptable in a democratic country. Animal
Liberation Front (ALF) ­ They engage in illegal direct action including
kidnapping animals from testing centres. And some less extreme examples
include Friends of the Earth, Occupy London and Fathers for Justice.
Sectional/Interest Groups:
Definition: A sectional/interest group represents a particular section of society, e.g.
teachers, lawyers, patients, students etc. Membership is often restricted in
this type of pressure group.
Examples: National Union of Teachers, National Union of Students. Both are limited
membership groups.

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Citizenship in Action Research Task
Promotional/Cause Groups:
Definition: Tend to have altruistic policies, meaning that members may not directly
benefit personally from the success of their cause but wider society will.
They tend to have an open membership. There are two types of cause
1. Those with single, limited objectives: E.g. to stop a motorway
going through a particular site.
2. Those with broader, long-term objectives: E.g. the Child Poverty
Action Group who campaigns to end child poverty.…read more

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Citizenship in Action Research Task
Protest Movements
Definition: Protest movements developed during the nineteenth century as the middle
classes, and the working classes, became more educated. A protest is an
expression of objection, by words or by actions, to particular events, policies
or situations. Protests can take many different forms, from individual
statements to mass demonstrations.
Types of Action
Direct Action:
Definition: The use of strikes, demonstrations, or other public forms of protest rather
than negotiation to achieve one's demands.…read more

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Citizenship in Action Research Task
Pressure Group Democracy
Many people argue both for and against the idea of pressure groups benefiting British democracy. It
is difficult to come to an overall conclusion as we are dealing with many different groups with many
different aims, compositions and methods. Some groups may serve the public good for much of the
time, whereas others may only have a marginal benefit to society.
I'll start by arguing for the argument.…read more

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Citizenship in Action Research Task
The idea of lobbying could be an argument against pressure groups. Many people believe too much
surrounding pressure groups goes on in secret. People worry about the circumstances under which
bargains between interest groups and Whitehall departments are made. It could also be considered
a problem that insider groups obviously hold the position they do as the Government agrees with
their policies and ideas.…read more


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