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Pressure Groups: A Politics of Collective Consumption?

‘Pressure Groups: A Politics of Collective Consumption?’, Parliamentary Affairs, 58(2), 2005, pp 366-379



The nature of a politics of collective consumption is reviewed in terms of how we can distinguish those actions that pursue a broader public interest. The argument that outsider groups may be influential in terms of setting the political agenda is explored in relation to the politics of obesity and controversies about child access for divorced fathers. Animal rights militancy has proved a difficult issue for government to handle and has wider implications for pressure group activity. Government continues to favour a close relationship with big business but is less interested in reforming trade associations. Increasing cooperation between the National Farmers Union and Farmers for Action suggests that insider groups may be more willing to cooperate with outsider groups as they become more effective. The question of whether pressure group activity is moving in the direction of an ‘uncivil society’ is considered.

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