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Are Political Parties More Responsive to Advocacy Groups Mobilising Core Voters or Swing Voters? Political Responsiveness to Citizens’ Protest Movements in Swedish Local Governments
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute for Housing and Urban Research. Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Government.
2016 (English)In: Scandinavian Political Studies, ISSN 0080-6757, E-ISSN 1467-9477, Vol. 39, no 2, 161-184 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Political scientists often assume that parties listen to some voters more than others. However, this theoretical perspective has rarely been applied to explain political responsiveness to advocacy groups. This article argues that the type of voter mobilised by protest activities plays a role in determining whether advocacy groups are able to influence political decisions. The explanatory value of this approach is demonstrated by a study of the geographic distribution of school closures among Swedish local governments during the 2002–10 period. School issues have been important drivers of contentious politics in Sweden. Two hypotheses are tested. The first hypothesis predicts that protesters in districts with numerous swing voters are more likely to achieve their goals.The second hypothesis predicts that protesters in districts with numerous core voters are more likely to achieve their goals. In line with the swing hypothesis, the main results suggest that protesters are more likely to stop school closures in volatile polling districts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 39, no 2, 161-184 p.
Keyword [en]
swing voters, core voters, protests, social movements, school closures
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-270272DOI: 10.1111/1467-9477.12061ISI: 000374861700003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-270272DiVA: diva2:889238
Available from: 2015-12-22 Created: 2015-12-22 Last updated: 2017-12-01Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Power from Below?: The Impact of Protests and Lobbying on School Closures in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Power from Below?: The Impact of Protests and Lobbying on School Closures in Sweden
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In recent decades, there has been a considerable expansion of citizen participation in protests and voluntary advocacy groups. To analyze this development, the social movement literature and the interest group literature have emerged. Yet these two bodies of literature have not communicated with each other and have rarely incorporated knowledge from other fields in political science. As a result, critical questions remain unanswered regarding the political influence of advocacy groups. How do they affect politicians? To what degree do informal groups use lobbying tactics? Are socioeconomically advantaged groups more influential? This thesis endeavors to address the above shortcomings by bridging the literature on social movements, interest groups and political parties. The purpose of the thesis is to explain if and how advocacy groups affect public policy and to analyze which resources that are required to influence political decisions. The focus is on informal and loosely organized social movement organizations (informal SMOs): parental networks, staff networks, and village networks. To test my arguments, I use a unique database on protests and lobbying against school closures in Sweden. Closures of public schools have been one of the most important drivers of political activism in Sweden. The results are presented in three essays.

Essay I tests new electoral mechanisms that could condition the political influence of advocacy groups. The results suggest that the political influence of informal SMOs on school closure decisions varies according to the type of voter they mobilize: swing voters or core voters.

Essay II demonstrates how informal SMOs use lobbying tactics, such as presenting policy-relevant information, to influence politicians. Social movement scholars often focus on protests and ignore lobbying tactics. However, the results show that SMOs that present policy-relevant information are more likely to stop school closures than SMOs that mobilize large protests.

Essay III analyzes which informal SMOs exchange policy-relevant information with politicians. Previous studies on the use of lobbying tactics have ignored activist resources. My results suggest that SMOs mobilizing high-income activists and activists with analytical and civic skills are more likely to present policy-relevant information. This is problematic given normative ideals of equal access to decision-making by all members of society.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2016. 73 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Social Sciences, ISSN 1652-9030 ; 125
Keyword
school closure, protest, lobbying, interest groups, social movements, welfare retrenchment, political parties, skolnedläggning, protest, lobbying, lokalpolitik, intressegrupper, sociala rörelser, välfärdsstat
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-277700 (URN)978-91-554-9487-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-04-15, Auditorium Minus, Museum Gustavianum, Akademigatan 3, Uppsala, 13:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-03-21 Created: 2016-02-22 Last updated: 2016-04-04

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Larsson Taghizadeh, Jonas

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