The Summer School on Interest Group Politics is a new initiative of the ECPR Standing Group on Interest Groups. Three schools, to be organized in 2010-2011-2012, aim to provide students of political science and public administration sound knowledge about these organized interests and their impact on public policy making.
The 2nd Annual Summer School on Interest Group Politics will be hosted at the Batten School of Leadership & Public Policy at the University of Virginia (US) July 4-11, 2011. This is the first time an ECPR summer school has ever been held outside Europe – it is fitting that the ECPR Standing Group on Interest Groups would organize this summer school just outside of Washington DC - the other major global power center - since this year’s theme is “Global Advocacy.”
Policies emanating from the EU and the US have global impacts – these two power centers set global standards, shape global institutions, influence global markets, and determine global politics. It is critical students of advocacy have a better understanding of the important new developments and strategies of lobbying on global issues and in international arenas.
Drawing on the expertise of some of the most influential scholars working on the topic, the 2011 Summer School will explore the strategies and influence of interest groups engaged on “global issues” whether those groups are targeting policymakers in the US, the EU; the WTO, the UN, the IMF, the World Bank, multinational corporations (MNCs) or third country governments, especially those countries with less than democratic governance structures.
We will focus on three key aspects of Global Advocacy: venue selection, advocacy strategies and influence.
I. With globalization comes a remarkable growth in the number of venues or institutions before which interest groups can argue their positions. We will discuss how and why interest groups obtain access to various political institutions.
II. This explosion in possible venues, coupled with the growth of international and transnational NGOs, and the expansion of transnational advocacy networks, leads to a much more complex operating environment – with more opportunities but also more constraints. We will consider the political strategies groups employ including: issue prioritization, framing and argumentation, inside and outside tactic selection, media outreach and networking and coalition formation.
III. Concerted efforts by networks of like-minded activists have brought about significant policy change, be it the end of human rights abuses by the Argentine government; forcing global financial institutions like the World Bank to consider indigenous rights and environmental impacts; compelling multinational companies to stop dangerous marketing practices like the Nestle boycott campaign or getting gender-based violence on the global agenda. We will explore when global campaigns have been successful, when they have not and why.