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difference between pressure groups and New Social Movements?

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    can anyone tell me what the difference is between pressure groups and new social movements? thanks :p:
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    Pressure or Interest group: Wilson (1990) defines these as: “Organizations, separate from government, that attempt to influence public policy”. The difference (if any) between a pressure and interest group is it’s sometimes argued an Interest group doesn’t necessary try to apply “pressure” to political parties / governments. Smith (1995) suggests the two terms are often used interchangeably, mainly because such groups “seek to represent the interests of particular sections of society in order to influence public policy making”. A Pressure / Interest group’s main objective is to influence the decisions made by political parties (rather than to seek representation and power through elections) and they do this in a couple of ways:

    Direct action involves trying to influence government behaviour directly, through demonstrations, political events and the like.

    Indirect action involves trying to influence the general political philosophy of a party (to persuade a party to adopt a policy that reflects the interests of the pressure group, for example).

    A recent example of how some interest groups use a combination of these two forms of action is the Countryside Alliance, a pressure group initially formed to try to stop the government banning fox-hunting with dogs (unsuccessfully as it turned out - this activity was banned in 2005). Its direct actions involved mass public demonstrations and “political events” (such as interrupting a parliamentary debate) while it also campaigned indirectly through the media and the efforts of pro-fox-hunting MP’s to prevent a ban.

    New Social Movements: Barnartt and Scotch suggest NSM’s are more concerned with “Values (postmodern and post-materialistic), lifestyles, and self-actualization, especially among marginalized groups”. In other words, this type of movement focuses, to use Anspach’s (1979) phrase, on “Identity politics”.

    Different types of NSM:

    Alternative: This type provides an alternative to prevailing social norms. The focus of political change, therefore, is on developing different ways of doing things - such as home-schooling as an alternative to State schooling.

    Redemptive movements focus on “redeeming others”; a new form of Christianity focuses on changing people’s lives by requiring they embrace a different form of religious behaviour (a literal interpretation of the Bible, for example).

    Reformist movements seek to change society in some way - either, as in the case of the American Civil Rights movement, the relative position of ethnic groups or, as with 2nd wave feminism, relative gender positions. Change may be far-reaching but this type of movement doesn’t seek the revolutionary overthrow of the existing order; change, in other words, is incremental (one step at a time).

    Revolutionary social movements, such as Communism or Fascism, have as their political objective the overthrow (violent or otherwise) of an existing political order and its replacement by a new and different type of order.
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    (Original post by Chris.Livesey)
    Pressure or Interest group: Wilson (1990) defines these as: “Organizations, separate from government, that attempt to influence public policy”. The difference (if any) between a pressure and interest group is it’s sometimes argued an Interest group doesn’t necessary try to apply “pressure” to political parties / governments. Smith (1995) suggests the two terms are often used interchangeably, mainly because such groups “seek to represent the interests of particular sections of society in order to influence public policy making”. A Pressure / Interest group’s main objective is to influence the decisions made by political parties (rather than to seek representation and power through elections) and they do this in a couple of ways:

    Direct action involves trying to influence government behaviour directly, through demonstrations, political events and the like.

    Indirect action involves trying to influence the general political philosophy of a party (to persuade a party to adopt a policy that reflects the interests of the pressure group, for example).

    A recent example of how some interest groups use a combination of these two forms of action is the Countryside Alliance, a pressure group initially formed to try to stop the government banning fox-hunting with dogs (unsuccessfully as it turned out - this activity was banned in 2005). Its direct actions involved mass public demonstrations and “political events” (such as interrupting a parliamentary debate) while it also campaigned indirectly through the media and the efforts of pro-fox-hunting MP’s to prevent a ban.

    New Social Movements: Barnartt and Scotch suggest NSM’s are more concerned with “Values (postmodern and post-materialistic), lifestyles, and self-actualization, especially among marginalized groups”. In other words, this type of movement focuses, to use Anspach’s (1979) phrase, on “Identity politics”.

    Different types of NSM:

    Alternative: This type provides an alternative to prevailing social norms. The focus of political change, therefore, is on developing different ways of doing things - such as home-schooling as an alternative to State schooling.

    Redemptive movements focus on “redeeming others”; a new form of Christianity focuses on changing people’s lives by requiring they embrace a different form of religious behaviour (a literal interpretation of the Bible, for example).

    Reformist movements seek to change society in some way - either, as in the case of the American Civil Rights movement, the relative position of ethnic groups or, as with 2nd wave feminism, relative gender positions. Change may be far-reaching but this type of movement doesn’t seek the revolutionary overthrow of the existing order; change, in other words, is incremental (one step at a time).

    Revolutionary social movements, such as Communism or Fascism, have as their political objective the overthrow (violent or otherwise) of an existing political order and its replacement by a new and different type of order.
    thanks!

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Updated: June 14, 2007
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