POS 328-01
Interest Groups and Social Movements
Fall 2003 TR 11:30 am - 12:45 pm
Albertus 112

Professor A. Ledford

Office: Moran Hall #5
Phone: (o) 458-5326 (h) 437-0199
Office Hours: T & Th, 2:00 - 4:00, and by appointment
Email: ledforda@strose.edu

Course Objective

This course is intended to provide an overview of the current political science literature in the area of American political behavior, with an emphasis on interest groups and social movements. Following introductions as to what constitutes an interest group and what counts as a social movement, some of the themes of the course will include why people choose to participate (or fail to do so), the tactics and procedures employed by interest groups as opposed to social movements, the types of goals/issues each tends to pursue, and the attendant successes and failures. There will be an emphasis on both theoretical as well as empirical analyses. Students should come away with a clear understanding of why these groups exist, the ways in which they are fostered/inhibited by cultural and institutional factors, and what types of organizations are best suited to specific types of issues/agendas in the American context.

Course Requirements

Participation 20%

Evaluation of participation is based not simply on the frequency of participation but on the quality of your contribution to the class. That contribution should reflect careful consideration of the course materials (and any additional outside readings and experiences that are relevant).

2 Brief Critical Essays (approximately 6 pages each) 30%

2 Exams (mid-term & final; short and long essay) 50%


You are expected to attend all classes and are responsible for all class work, lecture notes, announcements, etc., whether or not you are present. You are allowed four unexcused absences, after which your final grade will be dropped half a letter grade for each unexcused absence thereafter. You are also expected to have read the assigned readings carefully before each class meeting and participate thoughtfully in class discussions of the material.


Grades will be based on the following scale:

A = 95-100
A- = 90-94
B+ = 87-89
B = 84-86
B- = 80-83
C+ = 77-79
C = 70-76
D = 60-69
F = 60 and below

***** Please read and familiarize yourself with the College’s policy on plagiarism and academic honesty. It is your responsibility to clearly understand and abide by this policy.

Required Texts

Jeffrey M. Berry, The Interest Group Society, 3rd Edition
Sidney Tarrow, Power in Movement
Charles Tilly, The Politics of Collective Violence

*** There are also required articles and book chapters posted on Blackboard (or handed out in class). These readings are denoted in the syllabus by an asterisk.

Week One

September 2: Introduction to the course

Interest Groups and the Practice of Interest Group Politics

Interest Group Functions, Pluralism, and Party Politics

September 4: Berry, The Interest Group Society, Ch. 1

Week Two

September 9: * Bachrach and Baratz, “Two Faces of Power,” pp. 947-52

September 11: Berry, Ch.’s 2-3, pp. 17-63

Week Three

Collective Action and Organization

September 16: Berry Ch. 4, pp. 64-93

September 18: * Lindblom, “The Market as Prison,” pp. 324-36 [Essay #1 distributed]

Week Four

September 23: Berry, Ch. 6

September 25: [Essay #1 DUE]

Week Five

Public Opinion & Political Engagement

September 30: * Verba, et.al., “Citizen Activity…”; * Putnam, “Tuning In, Tuning Out: The Strange Disappearance of Social Capital in America”

October 2: Berry, Ch. 7-8

Week Six

Political Action Committees, Lobbying, Issue Networks, Corporate Wealth, Class, and Representation

October 7: Berry, Ch. 9-10

October 9: EXAM 1

Social Movements

Week Seven

Politics of Social Movements and Collective Action

October 14: Tarrow, Power in Movement, Introduction and Ch.’s 1-2

October 16: Tarrow, Ch.’s 3-4

Week Eight

October 21: Tarrow, Ch.’s 5-6

October 23: Tarrow, Ch’s 7-8

Week Nine

October 28: Tarrow, Ch’s 9-10

October 30: Tarrow, Ch. 11

Week Ten

Social and Political Violence

November 4: Tilly, Ch 1 [Essay #2 Distributed]

November 6: Tilly, Ch’s 2-3

Week Eleven

November 11: NO CLASS - ADVISEMENT DAY [Essay #2 DUE]

November 13: Tilly, Ch’s 4-5

Week Twelve

November18: Discussion

November 20: Tilly, Ch’s 6-7

Week Thirteen

November 25: Tilly, Ch. 8


Week Fourteen

December 2: Tilly, Ch. 9

December 4: Tilly, Ch. 10

Week Fifteen

December 9: Discussion

December 11: Discussion

Week Sixteen