Interest Groups & Advocacy

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 91–111 | Cite as

Informational lobbying and activist resources: comparing mobilisations against school closures in Sweden

Original Article


Information is often regarded as the main currency for interest group influence. However, studies explaining the use of informational lobbying tactics among interest groups are rare and the studies that do exist only focus on highly professionalised organisations. This article analyses the determinants of information provision among informal and loosely organised groups. It argues that we need to shift the focus from organisational resources to activist resources to explain informational lobbying by such groups. By mobilising activists who are able to donate time/money and who have civic and analytical skills, informal groups compensate for their lack of organisational resources. A study of the tactics used against school closures in Sweden is presented. The results reveal that informal groups in high-income districts and in districts with numerous white-collar parents are more likely to provide policy-relevant information to politicians. The results show smaller district differences when it comes to protest tactics.


lobbying interest groups social movements Sweden protest 


  1. Aelst, P. and Walgrave, S. (2001) Who is that (wo) man in the street? From the normalisation of protest to the normalisation of the protester. European Journal of Political Research 39(4): 461–486.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Badescu, G. and Neller, K. (2007) Explaining associational involvement. In: J.W. Van Deth, J.R. Montero, & A. Westholm (eds.) Citizenship and Involvement in European Democracies: A Comparative Analysis. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  3. Banaszak, L.A. (2010) The Women’s Movement Inside and Outside the State. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Basu, R. (2007) Negotiating acts of citizenship in an era of neoliberal reform: The game of school closures. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 31(1): 109–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Beyers, J., Eising, R. and Maloney, W. (2008) Researching interest group politics in Europe and elsewhere: Much we study, little we know? West European Politics 31(6): 1103–1128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bondi, L. (1988) Political participation and school closures: An investigation of bias in local authority decision making. Policy and Politics 16(1): 41–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brady, H.E., Verba, S. and Schlozman, K.L. (1995) Beyond SES: A resource model of political participation. American Political Science Review 89(2): 271–294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Burstein, P. (1998) Bringing the public back in: Should sociologists consider the impact of public opinion on public policy? Social Forces 77(1): 27–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Burstein, P. and Hirsh, C.E. (2007) Interest organizations, information, and policy innovation in the US congress. Sociological Forum 22(2): 174–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chalmers, A.W. (2011) Interests, influence and information: Comparing the influence of interest groups in the European Union. Journal of European Integration 33(4): 471–486.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cress, D.M. and Snow, D.A. (2000) The outcomes of homeless mobilization: The influence of organization, disruption, political mediation, and framing. American Journal of Sociology 105(4): 1063–1104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dahl, R.A. (1989) Democracy and its Critics. Yale: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Dür, A. and Mateo, G. (2013) Gaining access or going public? Interest group strategies in five European countries. European Journal of Political Research 52(5): 660–686.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Eising, R. (2007) Institutional context, organizational resources and strategic choices. European Union Politics 8(3): 329–362.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fennema, M. and Tillie, J. (1999) Political participation and political trust in Amsterdam: Civic communities and ethnic networks. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 25(4): 703–726.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hojnacki, M., Kimball, D.C., Baumgartner, F.R., Berry, J.M. and Leech, B.L. (2012) Studying organizational advocacy and influence: Reexamining interest group research. Annual Review of Political Science 15: 379–399.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Junk, W.M. (2015) Two logics of NGO advocacy: Understanding inside and outside lobbying on EU environmental policies. Journal of European Public Policy 23(2): 1–19.Google Scholar
  18. Kearns, R.A., Lewis, N., McCreanor, T. and Witten, K. (2009) The status quo is not an option: Community impacts of school closure in South Taranaki, New Zealand. Journal of Rural Studies 25(1): 131–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kitschelt, H.P. (1986) Political opportunity structures and political protest: Anti-nuclear movements in four democracies. British Journal of Political Science 16(1): 57–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Klüver, H. (2012) Informational lobbying in the European Union: The effect of organisational characteristics. West European Politics 35(3): 491–510.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Klüver, H. (2013) Lobbying in the European Union: Interest Groups, Lobbying Coalitions, and Policy Change. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kriesi, H. and Westholm, A. (2010) Small-scale democracy: The determinants of action. In: J.W. Van Deth, J.R. Montero, & A. Westholm (eds.) Citizenship and Involvement in European Democracies: A Comparative Analysis. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  23. McCarthy, J.D. and Zald, M.N. (1977) Resource mobilization and social movements: A partial theory. American Journal of Sociology 82(6): 1212–1241.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Nie, N.H., Junn, J. and Stehlik-Barry, K. (1996) Education and Democratic Citizenship in America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  25. Piven, F.F. and Cloward, R.A. (1977) Poor People’s Movements: Why they Succeed, How they Fail. New York: Pantheon Books.Google Scholar
  26. Ridgeway, C.L. (1987) Nonverbal behaviour, dominance, and the basis of status in task groups. American Sociological Review 52(5): 683–694.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Rucht, D. (1999) Linking organization and mobilization: Michels’ iron law of oligarchy reconsidered. Mobilization: An International Quarterly 4(2): 151–169.Google Scholar
  28. Santoro, W.A. and McGuire, G.M. (1997) Social movement insiders: The impact of institutional activists on affirmative action and comparable worth policies. Social Problems 44(4): 503–519.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Solevid, M. (2009) Voices from the Welfare State. Dissatisfaction and Political Action in Sweden. Gothenburg: Department of Political Science.Google Scholar
  30. Staggenborg, S. (1988) Consequences of professionalization and formalization in the pro-choice movement. American Sociological Review 53: 585–606.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Strodtbeck, F.L., James, R. and Hawkins, C. (1957) Social status in jury deliberations. American Sociological Review 22: 713–719.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Taghizadeh, J.L. (2015). Quality over quantity? Technical information, interest advocacy and school closures in Sweden. Interest Groups and Advocacy 4(2): 101–119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Taylor, V. and Van Dyke, N. (2004) Get up, stand up: Tactical repertoires of social movements. In: D.A. Snow, S.A. Soule, & H.-P. Kriesi (eds.) The Blackwell Companion to Social Movements. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  34. Uba, K. (2016) Protest against the school closures in Sweden: Accepted by politicians? In: L. Bosi, M. Giugni, & K. Uba (eds.) The Consequences of Social Movements. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GovernmentUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden

Personalised recommendations