Pressure Group Typologies

Classifying pressure groups by aims - Sectional & Cause Groups.

Classifying pressure groups by status - Insider & Outsider Groups.

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Sectional Groups


- Particular section of society.

- Generally motivated by personal gain.

- Used to be called 'protectionist' and 'private-interest'

- Exclusive (e.g. You can only join the British Medical Association if you are a Doctor/Health care Professional)


- British Medical Association

- NASUWT (Teachers Union)

- National Farmers Union

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Cause Groups


- Represent a wider cause.

- Join for a general gain, no direct benefit.

- Used to be called 'promotional' and 'public interest'.

- Inclusive (e.g. I know it's silly but it may help to remember - you don't have to be a dog to join Dog's Trust)


- RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) - has 1.2 million members.

- GreenPeace

Attitude cause group - A group that seeks to change the people's attitude on a particular issue e.g. GreenPeace

Political cause group - Issuea to deal with politics and power, campaign for change, e.g. Unlock Democracy

Sectional cause group - A group that represents a specific section of society that is distinct from it's membership e.g. Dog's Trust

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Insider Groups


- They are in contact with the government


Core insiders - Have a strong two way relationship witht he policy makers e.g. the BMA

Peripheral insiders - Have access to but are rarely needed by the government due to specialist interests e.g. Dog's Trust

Specialist insiders - Granted such status within a narrow area of expertise e.g. the WWF

'Prisoner' Groups - These are pressure groups that are automatically given insider status as they are created by the government e.g. the Equality and Human Right's Commission.

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Outsider Groups


- Having only limited contact with the government


Potential insiders - Might one day gain insider status but do not currently match the govenment's ideology.

Outsiders by necessity - Forced to operate as outsiders - unlikely that they will achieve insider status either due to their cause or methods e.g Fathers4Justice

Ideological outsiders -  Prefer to distance themselves from government for ideological reasons e.g. Amnesty International

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