Representation in Crisis: The Constitution, Interest Groups, and Political Parties

By David K. Ryden | Go to book overview

APPENDIX C GROUP TYPOLOGIES AND THE CHALLENGES OF IMPLEMENTATION

Doubts about the divisive tendencies of group representation are difficult to alleviate scientifically, as they do not lend themselves to easy quantitative examination. The practical problems of constructing a scheme of group representation are more amenable to empirical or behavioral analysis.

The sociological and political science literature on group categorizations pose formidable practical questions to group/interest representation. 1 First, do fixed groups or interests actually exist? Second, are they quantifiable and verifiable? Third, which ones are deserving of preservation in a system of formal representation? Attempts to catalogue interests or groups illustrate the perplexing nature of these questions. Groups of people can be catalogued for political purposes along any number of lines, each with significant ramifications for establishing representation. There are countless determinants of collectively held interests that could serve as a basis for determining claims to representative status. These include: 1) the motivations underlying group participation; 2) the benefits sought or conferred by the group; 3) the functions performed by the organization; 4) organizational structure or formality; 5) the subject area of concern to the group; 6) the political resources at the group's disposal; 7) the physical, or sociological characteristics shared by group members; 8) group size; 9) the nature and scope of group activities; and 10) the group's representative character.


POSSIBLE GROUP TYPOLOGIES 2
Motivation Benefits sought/conferred
Political Resources Substantive Interests
Member traits Organization/Formality
Representativeness Scope/Nature of Activities
Functions Size

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