PLSC 083 Lobbying the Federal Government


August 27, 2001


Reminders about next week:

            No class on Monday. Happy Labor Day.

            Wednesday: Discussion of the lobby web site.

                        Read:             any 5 case overviews

                                    Organizational statements and other items for:

                                    Clinical Social workers

                                    United-USAirways merger

                                    Ergonometric standards

                                    Low Sulfur Gas

                                    Risk Adjustment for Medicare+Choice

                        Browse through the web site in general. Spend 2 hours.

Read internal links, not external ones.


Schattschneider, chapter 1-4


p. 2: “[T]he outcome of all conflict is determined by the scope of its contagion.”


p. 3: “The most important strategy of politics is concerned with the scope of conflict.”


Low probability that the original disputants are a random sample of the rest of society. Why does this matter?


Examples to discuss


Israeli-Palestinian debates about outside observers

Child abuse laws

Civil rights in the 1950s and 1960s and the role of the federal government

Pesticides: Farmers only, or should others help decide what is allowed?


The role of the federal system in localizing or nationalizing conflicts.


Ch. 2, Scope and Bias of the Pressure System:


p. 34. “Special-interest organizations are most easily formed when they deal with small numbers of individuals who are acutely aware of their exclusive interests.”


            Why no National Association of Students?


Pp 34-5. “The flaw in the pluralist heaven is that the heavenly chorus sings with a strong upper-class accent. Probably about 90 percent of the people cannot get into the pressure system.”


            This theme, the bias of the “pressure system” can carry us through the entire term.


The Displacement of Conflicts, ch. 4


Issue-definition and the scope of conflict


Note his figures about how majorities and minorities are created by how the lines of cleavage are drawn.


p. 64. “There are billions of potential conflicts in any modern society but only a few of them become significant.”


p. 66. “Political conflict is not like an intercollegiate debate in which the opponents agree in advance about the definition of the issues. As a matter of fact, the definition of the alternatives is the supreme instrument of power.”