IGPA Research Seminar Series

Advocacy Groups, Agenda Setting and Public Policy

Mon 12 December 2016Dr Bert Fraussen and Professor Darren R. Halpin / 12:00pm-1:00pmSeminar Room 2, Building 24, University of Canberra


Interest groups are important intermediaries in western democracies, with the potential to offer political linkage and form a bridge between the concerns of citizens and the agenda of political elites. While we know an increasing amount about the issue-based activity of groups, we do not as yet know much at all about how they selected these issues to work on, or why they decide not to focus their activities on particular matters.

In this seminar, we will address two central questions of our ongoing research project on public policy and advocacy. The first question involves how groups decide what issue they will prioritise in their political activities. To what extent can groups balance different factors when they establish their policy agenda, such as the preferences of their members, their internal capacities and the current political environment? A second theme focuses on the (possible) contribution of groups to public policy. Which particular organizational features and practices make groups valuable partners in governance? Both questions will be addressed theoretically and empirically, relying on some first findings from a survey of national groups in Australia, as well as more qualitative evidence from ongoing interviews.


Bert Fraussen is Post-Doctoral Fellow and Lecturer in the Research School of Social Sciences, the Australian National University. He was awarded his PhD in Political Science from the University of Antwerp. His work, which focuses on the organizational development of interest groups and their interaction with policymakers, has appeared in Public Administration, Policy Sciences, Political Studies and the Journal of European Public Policy.

Darren R. Halpin is Professor in the Research School of Social Sciences, at the Australian National University. He has published widely on the topics of interest groups and organized interests, including recent articles in Governance, British Journal of Political Science, Journal of European Public Policy and Public Administration. He has recently authored the book Groups, Representation and Democracy: Between Promise and Practice (MUP 2010) and The Organization of Political Interest Groups: Designing Advocacy (Routledge 2014). Darren is Founding Editor of the book series Interest Groups, Advocacy and Democracy (Palgrave, UK) and Co-Editor for the Journal Interest Groups and Advocacy (Palgrave, UK).

This event is free to attend and no registration is required. You are welcome to forward this invitation to any interested guests.

The IGPA Research Seminar Series is convened by Dr Paul Fawcett

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