New Directions in Interest Group Politics
Edited by Matt Grossmann
Routledge – 2014 – 287 pages
Reflecting cutting edge scholarship but written for undergraduates, New Directions in Interest Group Politics will help students think critically about influence in the American political system. There is no shortage of fear about "the special interests" in American political debate, but reliable information about what interest groups do, who they represent, and how they influence government is often lacking. This volume, comprised of original essays by leading scholars, is designed to summarize and explain contemporary research that helps address popular questions and concerns, making studies accessible to undergraduate students and providing facts to butress informed debate.
The book covers the mobilization of interest groups, their activities, and their influence. Each chapter briefly reviews research on a central question of scholarship before focusing on a particular empirical project designed to shed light on the topic. Rather than simply providing a descriptive overview, the chapters are designed to foster critical thinking by getting students to assess the role of interest groups in the American political system and supplying evidence of their effects.
Importantly, a set of web resources associated with the book offer instructions for research and writing assignments. Students will be able to collect and analyze data on campaign finance, lobbying, and interest group involvement in governance. The eResource website includes materials for several classroom simulations, such as an interest group legislative battle, a Netroots convention, and a rule-making process. As they read about key questions in democratic government and current research trends, students can practice serving as interest group activists and conduct original research on topics that most interest them.
"The strong and consistent focus of the essays in New Directions in Interest Group Politics on core theoretical questions—and their willingness to bring data to bear on those questions—will almost certainly enliven and deepen classroom discussions about the politics of interest representation."
—David Lowery, Pennsylvania State University
"This book provides wide ranging perspectives on interest groups that are grounded in the contributors’ own research. I wish more textbooks did this so well."
—Beth Leech, Rutgers University
"This book enlarges our understanding of the American policymaking process by illuminating how organized interests advance their agendas in an age of hyper-partisanship, rising economic inequality, and instant communication. Together the chapters represent an important contribution to the study of American pluralism."
—Kristin A. Goss, Duke University
"New Directions in Interest Group Politics provides readers with an impressive range of cutting-edge research from top scholars on the most relevant topics on interest group politics. Each chapter covers foundational literature and exciting new work in a way that is, at once, both accessible and thought-provoking."
—Daniel C. Lewis, University of New Orleans
"Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. -- J. Heyrman, Berea College, CHOICE 2014
Preface.1: Group Mobilization from the Economy, Society, and Government; Matt Grossmann 2. How Membership Associations Change the Balance of Representation in Washington (And How They Don’t); Kay Lehman Schlozman and Philip Edward Jones 3. Grassroots Mobilization and Outside Lobbying; Edward Walker 4. The Paradoxes of Inequality and Interest Group Representation; Dara Z. Strolovitch 5. Political Parties and Ideology: Interest Groups in Context; Hans Noel 6. Why Lobbyists for Competing Interests Often Cooperate; Thomas T. Holyoke 7. How Will the Internet Change American Interest Groups?; David Karpf 8. Attack of the Super PACs? Interest Groups in the 2012 Elections; Michael Franz 9. When Does Money Buy Votes? Campaign Contributions and Policymaking; Christopher Witko 10. Understanding the Influence of Lobbying in the U.S. Congress: Preferences, Networks, Money, and Bills; Holly Brasher and Jason Britt 11. Interest Groups, the White House, and the Administration; Heath Brown 12. Interest Groups in the Judicial Arena; Paul M. Collins, Jr. 13. Evaluating Reforms of Lobbying and Money in Politics; Lee Drutman 14. Conclusion; Matt Grossmann
Matt Grossmann is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Michigan State University and Director of the Michigan Policy Network. He is the author of The Not-So-Special Interests: Interest Groups, Public Representation, and American Governance (Stanford University Press, 2012) and co-author of Campaigns & Elections: Rules, Reality, Strategy, Choice (W. W. Norton, 2011). His research appears in the Journal of Politics, American Politics Research, and twelve other journals. His next book, Artists of the Possible: Governing Networks and American Policy Change Since 1945 will be published by Oxford University Press. More information is available at www.mattg.org.