Interest Groups

Authored by: Patrick J. Haney

Routledge Handbook of American Foreign Policy

Print publication date:  August  2011
Online publication date:  April  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415800884
eBook ISBN: 9780203878637
Adobe ISBN: 9781135967352


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The role of interest groups in American foreign policy is an issue both of longstanding concern and renewed interest. 1 Work in this area runs the range of empirical studies through normative inquiries, and includes a variety of sometimes-insightful polemics as well. It is also a curiously frustrating field of study for a variety of reasons. Interest groups research by scholars of American politics tends to not turn attention on foreign policy cases; a review of the interest group literature in a previous “state of the discipline” volume, for example, made no meaningful reference to foreign policy issues (Cigler 1992). Conversely, research on U.S. foreign policy interest groups often is not as infused with an understanding of the dynamics of American politics as it should be. The discipline’s division between American politics and international relations, the subfield from which much of the analysis of foreign policy emerges, divides work that ought to be more closely linked.

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