Civil associations and interest groups in the policy-making process: pluralisation and generalisation of interests

  • Andreas Nordang UhreEmail author
  • Hilmar Rommetvedt
Original Article


Modern societies have become more fragmented, complex and dynamic, making broad coalitions and public support imperative to achieving lobbying success. Thus, civil associations (CAs) and interest groups increasingly need to frame their arguments in more generalised ways, appealing to the public interest and downplaying their constituencies’ immediate self-interest. Previous scholars have argued that framing is primarily a reflection of an interest group’s type and constituency, thus indicating that framing is a rather static phenomenon. This article argues to the contrary that CAs are dynamic and agile, at least in the long term, when facing structural changes in their political environment. The study is based on content analyses of Norwegian CAs’ written submissions to ministerial consultations in alcohol and drug policy-making processes at three points in time over the last four decades.


Corporatism Pluralism Framing Arguing Civil society Policy-making Welfare policy 



Previous versions of this article were presented at the 2017 ECPR Joint Sessions of Workshops and the 2018 Norwegian Political Science Conference. The authors would like to thank the discussants at these events, Theresa Gessler and Per Selle, for excellent and constructive comments. We would also like to thank the members of the Pluralisation, the Welfare State and Civil Associations research group, particularly Anne Skorkjær Binderkrantz, PerOla Öberg and Gunnar Thesen, for comments and support. Finally, we would like to thank the staff at the National Archives of Norway for their help with our data collection, as well as three anonymous reviewers for the truly extraordinary set of comments and suggestions they provided.


This study has been funded by the Research Council of Norway’s Welfare, Working Life, and Migration programme (VAM) under Grant number 236690.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NORCE Norwegian Research Centre ASStavangerNorway

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