Outside the issue niche: the multidimensionality of interest group identity

Heaney, M. T. (2004) Outside the issue niche: the multidimensionality of interest group identity. American Politics Research, 32(6), pp. 611-651. (doi: 10.1177/1532673X04267681)

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Interest groups care deeply about, and struggle to shape, their identities on Capitol Hill. A group’s identity is what makes it unique and separates it from other organizations in the advocacy community. Previous research has argued that interest group identities are formed by creating exclusive niches over narrow policy issues, but this research has neglected the degree to which groups depend on representation, ideology, and advocacy techniques in establishing their uniqueness. The author argues that interest group identities are formed in multiple dimensions, with issues serving as an important, but nondominant, basis for identification. Qualitative and quantitative methods are used to analyze data from interviews with representatives of 168 national interest groups working on health care. The findings provide a basis for bridging theories of group maintenance and influence by demonstrating that identity encourages groups to consider simultaneously the ways their behaviors are perceived on Capitol Hill and by their members.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Heaney, Dr Michael
Authors: Heaney, M. T.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences
Journal Name:American Politics Research
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN (Online):1552-3373

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