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Encyclopedia > Special interest

A special interest is a person or political organization established to influence governmental policy or legislators in a specific area of policy. In the UK, a group which specifically aims to influence public policy is known as a pressure group. Examples of special interests might include a corporation lobbying to win a specific government contract; a trade association representing the interests of an entire industry seeking favorable tax policies or government regulations; groups representing various sectors of society, such as trade unions, senior citizens or persons with disabilities; or groups within the legislature or bureaucracy themselves. In general, however, special interests seek to influence government without becoming part of government. A corporation is a legal entity (distinct from a natural person) that often has similar rights in law to those of a Civil law systems may refer to corporations as moral persons; they may also go by the name AS (anonymous society) or something similar, depending on language (see below). ... Lobbying is the practice of private advocacy with the goal of influencing a governing body, in order to ensure that an individuals or organizations point of view is represented in the government. ... An industry trade group is generally a public relations organization funded, founded and formed by corporations that operate in a specific industry. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... Old age consists of ages nearing the average lifespan of human beings, and thus the end of the human life cycle. ... The term disability, as it is applied to humans, refers to any condition that impedes the completion of daily tasks using traditional methods. ... Bureaucracy is a concept in sociology and political science. ...

Many scholars dislike the term special interest, since it carries a loaded, negative connotation. Among other things, it presumes that we know exactly what the general interest (or public interest) is. Some return to an old term, "vested interests" or refer to "particularistic groups." In the academic literature, it has largely been replaced by the term interest group. There is a lively debate amongst political scientists as to what exactly constitutes an interest group. Some hold that only groups with members (for instance, Common Cause or the National Rifle Association) are interest groups. Others feel that interest groups are any non-government groups that try to affect policy. Some people define it even more broadly, to include individual corporations, or even government agencies. Sometimes "interest groups" are used to refer to groups within society (e.g. seniors, the poor, etc.) who are not necessarily part of an organized group. Public interest is a term used to denote political movements and organizations that are in the public interest—supporting general public and civic causes, in opposition of private and corporate ones (particularistic goals). ... See also: Political Science Notable political scientists Kenneth Arrow - Nobel Memorial Prize winning economist who published influential paper on his widely cited Arrows Impossibility Theorem Robert Axelrod Duncan Black - Responsible for unearthing the work of many early political scientists, including Charles Dodgson Jean-Charles de Borda - 18th century mathematician... Common Cause was founded in 1970 by John William Gardner, who was a United States Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. ... The National Rifle Association, or NRA, is a highly organized 501(c)(4) group for gun promotion in the United States. ...

Special interests can be divided into two broad classes: protective and promotional.

Protective groups represent only one segment of society, such as professional bodies, veterans' organizations and trade unions. Membership in such groups is restricted to members of the represented social segment. These groups are usually "insiders". A profession is a specialized work function within society, generally performed by a professional. ... This is a list of veterans organizations. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ...

Promotional groups promote some greater cause. They claim to represent the common interests of mankind. These groups include Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and Worldwide Fund for Nature. These ecological groups believe that their cause is for the mutual benefit of all the people on the planet. Their membership is open for people of all ages, so that they are much larger than protective groups. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds is the largest special interest in Europe with nearly one million members—more than the number of members in all three UK national political parties together. These groups are most often "outsiders". Greenpeace protest in Brasília, Brazil. ... Friends of the Earth is an international network of environmental organizations in 70 countries. ... Note: After losing a court case in 2002 on the use of the initials WWF, the organization previously known as the World Wrestling Federation has rebranded itself as World Wrestling Entertainment, or WWE. WWF - The Conservation Organization was formerly known as World Wildlife Fund and Worldwide Fund for Nature. ... The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is Europes largest wildlife conservation charity. ...

Sometimes it is hard to distinguish these two classes, because the actions of a group of one class may be characteristic of the other class. For example, the British Medical Association (BMA) supports the action against smoking, which is of general benefit to the wider population, not just medics. Similarly, the British Dental Association (BDA) supports fluoridation of water, which is again, a mutual benefit, not just for dentists. The British Medical Association (BMA) is the professional body to which the vast majority of British doctors belong. ... The British Dental Association is a trade union representing dental surgeons in the UK with over 18,000 members. ...

Sometimes, special interests become political parties. In some European nations a national ecological society became a Green Party. Similarly, small political parties can resemble special interests more closely than larger parties. Ultimately, however, the distinction between special interests and political parties lies in the means by which they seek to achieve their objectives: political parties seek to become part of government; special interests seek to influence government. This article is about the green parties around the world. ...

In practice

A study by Jon Agnone, a sociologist at the University of Washington, in 2004 compared the number of bills passed between 1960 and 1994 by the U.S. Congress with tactics used by green groups within the same year. The study showed that each protest raised the number of pro-environment bills passed by 2.2%, but that neither efforts at conventional lobbying on Capitol Hill nor the state of public opinion made any difference. The study concluded that direct action, like chaining oneself to a bulldozer or throwing paint over company executives, is more likely to influence environmental policy than talking to politicians. Agnone presented his results to the American Sociological Association on August 17, 2004 at their meeting in San Francisco. The University of Washington, founded in 1861, is a major public research university in the Seattle metropolitan area. ... 2004(MMIV) is a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... 1960 was a leap year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar). ... 1994 was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International year of the Family. ... The Congress of the United States is the legislative branch of the federal government of the United States of America. ... Demonstrators march through the intersection of 18th and M Streets NW in Washington DC at the A16 demonstration against the World Bank and International Monetary Fund on April 16, 2005. ... Capitol Hill is the name of a district in the following cities: Capitol Hill, Denver, Colorado Capitol Hill, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Capitol Hill, Seattle, Washington Capitol Hill, Washington, DC It is also a common nickname for the United States Congress and the politicians who serve it (e. ... Direct Action, one of the central tenets of Anarchism, can broadly be described as autonomous activities to enact social change. ... The American Sociological Association (ASA), founded in 1905, is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the discipline and profession of sociology by serving sociologists in their work and promoting their contributions. ... August 17 is the 229th day of the year (230th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. ... This page is a candidate for speedy deletion. ...

See also

  Results from FactBites:
Special interest meetings (894 words)
Of the regions that reported how long special interest meetings had been in existence within their boundaries, a number indicated that meetings had been occurring for over five years, and one region reported a group soon to celebrate its tenth anniversary.
Although the committee was informed that some areas have a policy of excluding special interest meetings from their meeting schedules, no region reported written area or regional polices on this subject.
Special interest meetings tend to survive and flourish in local NA communities where there is a need and desire for such meetings and do not exist in NA communities where there is no need nor desire.
  More results at FactBites »



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