Interest Groups and Pluralism

David Knoke, Xi Zhu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Interest groups in pluralist democracies aggregate and represent their members' political preferences. First, we define an interest group as a collective political actor seeking to influence governmental policy decisions. Next, we review recent research on US and European interest groups, highlighting their contexts and structures, strategies and actions, and influence on public policy outcomes. Then we assess policy network research as a distinct subfield that applies social network analytic methods to reveal how interestgroup coalitions form and how their influence-activities affect policy decisions. Finally, we offer three suggestions for future directions in research on interest groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Political Sociology
PublisherJohn Wiley and Sons
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9781444330939
StatePublished - Jul 20 2012


  • Interest group, a collective political actor
  • Interest groups and pluralism
  • Interest groups, in pluralist democracies
  • Interest-group pluralism, contexts and structures
  • Lobbying coalitions
  • Policy network analysts, and social network methods
  • Policy network research
  • Strategies, lobbyists employ in policy outcomes
  • Systematic research on intra-group dynamics


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