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The SISP Standing Group (SG) on interest groups aims to support a field of study that, despite having played a crucial role in setting the foundations of political science, was successively mostly overlooked. The gradually declining scientific appeal of the two major approaches to group analysis (pluralism and neo-corporatism) has relaunched the empirical study on interest groups, drawing nourishment from the refinement of research methods and a fruitful cross-fertilization with other strands of research (comparative politics, policy studies, political communication, etc.).
Over the last decades, research on interest groups and lobbying processes has thus produced a burgeoning literature, typically concerning the action of different groups along the various phases of the influence-production process – groups mobilization, direct and indirect lobbying campaigns, the relationship between interest groups and other players of the political system, groups’ access to different arenas, influence dynamics in policymaking processes at various levels (local, national, supranational) – as well as other topics (lobbying regulation, the impact of technological changes on advocacy campaigns and the management of organizations, the relationship between lobbying and corporate social responsibility, interest representation and democratic innovation, etc.).
Being open to different methodological approaches, the scientific goal of the SG is to foster research on these topics within a national, European, and comparative perspective, building a network of scholars – but also of practitioners – promoting flows of information, exchanges, and collaboration on research projects, publications, teaching practices and initiatives of common interest.