• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Do pressure groups enhance democracy?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Do pressure groups enhance democracy? Supporters of pressure groups claim that they enhance pluralism in our democracy and make our democratic system much more effective as a result. However some political scientists claim that many organised groups can undermine the policy making process since they are dominated by people with vested interests concerned only to improve the relative position of certain groups within society. Too many groups are undemocratically organised - power can reside with people with little or no claim to democratic legitimacy Groups have non-legitimate power because they are un-elected Oligarchic power structures - internal democracy may be lacking in many groups providing only weak direct accountability Membership of groups is often drawn from a narrow middle-class elite There is an unequal distribution of resources and influence between groups. ...read more.

Middle

A pressure group is an organised group that seeks to influence government (public) policy or protect or advance a particular cause or interest. Groups may promote a specific issue and raise it up the political agenda or they may have more general political and ideological objectives in mind when they campaign. Pressure groups operate at Local Sub National (Regional) National International level (including European Union) Functions of pressure groups Pressure groups are a vital part of a healthy democracy. Indeed the sustained and rapid expansion of pressure group activity and involvement in the political process is often heralded as a sign of growing political involvement among many thousands of people. Among the role played by pressure groups, large and small, we can identify the following: Pressure groups Promote discussion and debate ...read more.

Conclusion

They act as a check and balance to the power of executive government An illustration of the policy-making process is shown in the chart above. Groups can become involved in influencing and shaping public policy at many different points. For example, groups can seek to raise issues up the political agenda. This might speed up a process of political reform that might already be in the minds of the government or the opposition. Groups can be brought into the consultative process (see the distinction between insider and outside pressure groups) and may try to have an impact when a bill reaches the stage of Parliamentary drafting, debate and amendment. Finally as mentioned above, many groups are actively involved in implementing political decisions and evaluating their relative success or failure. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Pressure Groups section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Pressure Groups essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Do pressure groups enhance or threaten democracy?

    3 star(s)

    An example of such is the landslide victory the Labour party had in the 1997 elections.

  2. Are pressure groups good or bad for democracy?

    The last issue which we will look at seems to be beneficial too. Pressure groups improve the government with increased surveillance and provide expert knowledge in certain issues. Therefore interest groups can prevent governments from making irrational and unpopular decisions.

  1. Why Have Pressure Groups Become More Popular Than Political Parties?

    They believe that if they can get the media to focus on their particular group or campaign then they will have the attention of the public, for example Greenpeace. This particular pressure group is very good at publicity stunts which bring about much media attention, and this sometimes brings about a change in Government policies.

  2. Pressure Groups in democracy

    It is debatable that pressure groups (particularly outsiders) create media attention out of weakness rather than strength, as they are unable to exert influence effectively with their existing level of support. By using the media, and encouraging public interest through membership or other methods they involve more people in political

  1. Do you consider the political activities of organised groups (pressure groups) to enhance or ...

    10' as they did policy with trade unions. The trade union's involvement with New Labour is an example of 'insider' groups and involved at all stages in the formation of government policy and the making of legislation. The criticism has been bought about after various demonstrations and actions have affected the democratic process.

  2. Sectional pressure groups are ones that aim to represent the common interests of a ...

    They can also help to create a climate of public opinion which puts pressure on decision makers. There are many ways in using the media. Firstly, the media can provide visibility, secondly, the media acts as a source of information for pressure groups.

  1. When The Arguments For and Against Have Been Taken Into Account, It Is Clear ...

    Insider groups are those are those with direct access to the decision makers they're trying to influence e.g. ministers/civil servants and outsider groups who don't. Pressure groups take numerous forms. They can be permanent or temporary, they can work together or be directly opposed etc.

  2. Pressure groups revison notes

    Relaxation of alcohol licensing 1. Strength of opposition: 1. Two or more groups often have opposing views and act as a counter balance to each other 2. The role of the gov is then to act as an negotiator between competing claims 3. Recent examples: 1. Animal rights vs. the fur trade 2. Anti-smoking vs.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work