Speak to me only with thine ayes? The representativeness of professional EU advocacy groups

Buth, Vanessa (2012) Speak to me only with thine ayes? The representativeness of professional EU advocacy groups. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia .

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Abstract

The European Commission, in an attempt to enhance its democratic decision-making, engages in an institutionalised dialogue with representative EU advocacy groups. However, one important strand of interest group scholars argues that as a result of recognition, groups
professionalise and lose their representativeness. They argue that as a result the positions put forward by EU groups no longer represent the interests of their members and supporters, because these have no or little say in the formation of EU positions. It follows that the European
Commission’s strategy is doomed.
This thesis challenges the argument that EU advocacy groups necessarily lose their representativeness as they become professional. Such a position relies on overly narrow conceptions of representativeness and
professionalisation, ignoring organisational differences. First, representation does not rely only on member participation. Second, the representative claims of advocacy groups also have to be accepted by
members and supporters as representing their interests. Third, professionalisation is more than bureaucratisation and has to include the application of new media technology for the dimensions of representativeness.
These insights suggest the claim that groups necessarily lose their representativeness as they become professional has to be qualified. Drawing on the analysis of documents and websites of five EU environmental groups and their member groups, as well as interviews conducted by the author, this thesis demonstrates the limitations of the
existing literature. The findings show that the implications of
professionalisation for representativeness vary according to organisational structures and strategies. The thesis also exemplifies how the new media can increase representativeness. Finally, it affords new insights into how
advocacy groups contribute to democracy in the EU and beyond.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Political, Social and International Studies
Depositing User: Zoe White
Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2013 11:53
Last Modified: 13 Nov 2013 11:53
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/44446
DOI:

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