The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Interest Groups, Lobbying and Public Affairs

Living Edition
| Editors: Phil Harris, Alberto Bitonti, Craig S. Fleisher, Anne Skorkjær Binderkrantz

Interest Groups

Living reference work entry

Later version available View entry history



What is an interest group? Importantly, interest groups scholarship provides multiple and sometimes competing answers to this question. Our aim in this chapter is to bring some clarity to the interest group concept. We do so first by discussing the two main definitional approaches to interest groups: the behavioral approach and the organizational approach. Second, we discuss the plethora of interest group concepts (labels) in use in the extant literature, ranging from pressure groups to civil society groups to organized interests. Third, we discuss the types of groups that tend to be included when we talk about interest groups. In particular, we compare classification schemes used in four seminal research projects. While there is certainly still some confusion when it comes to the interest group concept, we find that scholars have made considerable advances in bringing clarity to definitional approaches and classification schemes. This is facilitated by increased scholarly...


Interest group definition Interest group concepts Interest group classification schemes 
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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Kings College LondonLondonUK

Section editors and affiliations

  • Anne Binderkrantz Skorkjær
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceAarhus UniversityAarhusDenmark