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The Not-So-Special Interests: Interest Groups, Public Representation, and American Governance Paperback – April 11, 2012


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Matt Grossman's excellent new book accomplishes a lot in under 200 pages: he challenges conventions, builds new theories (two, not just one!), and presents new data for scholars to puzzle over... Grossmann's work is a must read for a variety of political science subfields and for scholars in other disciplines who are seeking a robust new set of theories matched with cleverly analyzed original data."- Heath Brown, Journal of Politics


"Matt Grossmann is ambitious in his goal of revitalizing group theories of democratic politics..., meticulous in his collection and analysis of original data; unabashed in challenging the validity and utility of popular... approaches to the study of interest groups; and skeptical of much conventional wisdom about the role and power of lobbyists and "special interests" in American governance." - Thomas Mann, Perspectives on Politics


"The Not-So-Special Interests is an elegant and well-grounded study that will, I suspect, be widely cited by other accounts."- Edward Ashbee, Journal of American Studies


"The Not-So-Special Interests serves as an excellent reminder to social scientists not to take 'common knowledge' for granted. This research offers valuable insight on the dynamics of ''special interests'' and underscores the complex role they play in democratic processes. The book provides an examination of interest groups and public representation that would be useful for anyone interested in democracy in America." - Contemporary Sociology


"Tea Partyers and Occupiers alike think of "special interests" as shadowy cabals that subvert the people's will, but this stimulating academic study finds them a faithful mirror of the body politic... Grossman's clear-eyed analysis of who gets a seat at the table suggests that democracy's faults lie not in our lobbyists but in ourselves." - Publishers Weekly
"From its rigorous theoretical frameworks to its comprehensive and diverse data analysis, this book represents the gold standard to which interest group studies should aspire."
- Anne Baker, Journal of Politics


"The Not-So-Special Interests is an elegant and well-grounded study."—Edward Ashbee, Journal of American Studies


"This book is one of the more-impressive theoretically constructed and empirically executed studies of the aggregation and mobilization of interests available. It is conscientiously grounded in the available research, and the database, most of it self-generated, provides comprehensiveness in relation to the universe studied, public advocacy groups in Washington, DC. This allows for an intensity of analysis that results in an original, well-executed, and significant contribution to our understanding."—William Crotty, Political Science Quarterly


"The Not-So-Special Interests provides a refreshingly clear-eyed assessment of the landscape of interest group politics in Washington. . .Cutting through the folklore about interest groups is no small task, but blazes and impressive trail. It dispassionately devises sensible theories. It mingles real-world insights with heaps of illuminating quantitative data, most of which the author created from scratch using techniques that combin methodological rigor and common sense. The end result is a book that has important implications for the study of interest groups and for other questions in the field."—Nicholas Carnes, American Review of Politics


"In The Not-So-Special Interests, Matt Grossmann's focus is resolutely on the bigger picture of organized interests in Washington, D.C., and is rigorously empirical . . . This is an extremely useful book, one that will spur debate, discussion, and certainly subsequent research."—David S. Meyer, American Journal of Sociology


"Grossmann's contributions of behavioral pluralism and individual pluralism should become staples for those seeking to understand organized interest behavior and influence . . . Recommended."—R. M. Alexander, CHOICE

From the Back Cover

"With new ideas, new perspectives, and new data, Matt Grossmann revisits an old idea - the import of interests, broadly defined in our politics of representation and policy-making.  With nods to a range of important 20th Century scholars, from Arthur Bentley to David Truman to Robert Salisbury, The Not-So-Special Interests offers a fresh view of how major societal interests, through a wide range of advocacy groups, promote their ideas, seek policy advantage, and fit within the overall mosaic of American political life.  Drawing upon an impressive new data set of 1600 advocacy organizations, Grossmann lays out how pluralism can and does become institutionalized across many venues.  With its careful scholarship and emphasis on how interests are aggregated, The Not-So-Special Interests presents an important addition to how we understand the politics of faction in the United States." 
- Burdett A. Loomis, Professor of Political Science, University of Kansas
"Offering an insightful explanation of why some interests are better represented than others, Matt Grossmann's The Not-So-Special Interests is destined to become one of the most important books on interest groups in this decade.  His impressive collection and analysis of original data supports a conceptual framework rooted in the tradition of Truman but thoroughly modernized to engage contemporary questions.  Not only does the book make a powerful argument, it's a pleasure to read as well." 
- McGee Young, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Marquette University
"Grossmann's work is a major contribution - breathtaking in its scope and innovative in its theories of American pluralism at the dawn of the 21st century. The book should be read by everyone concerned about whose voices really count in Washington."
- Kristin A. Goss, Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Political Science, Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press (April 11, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804781168
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804781169
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #974,408 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Matt Grossmann is Associate Professor of Political Science at Michigan State University. He holds a Ph.D. from U.C. Berkeley. His research concerns interest group representation and influence, campaigns and elections, political networks, and federal policy change in the United States. His research appears in the Journal of Pollitcs, American Politics Research, and fourteen other journals. He is author of The Not-So-Special Interests: Interest Groups, Public Representation, and American Governance (from Stanford University Press) and Artists of the Possible: Governing Networks and American Policy Change Since 1945 (Oxford University Press). He is also co-author of a Campaigns & Elections textbook (from W. W. Norton) and author of an edited volume, New Directions in Interest Group Politics (from Routledge). He has published journal articles on policy change, issue area differences, political party networks, policy cues, interest groups, the legislative process, negative campaigning, the consulting industry, group theory, ethnic representation, environmental organizations, technology policy debates, policy cues, ideological polarization, campaign professionalization, and public opinion about campaigns.

His current research argues that the Republican Party as an agent of an ideological movement whereas the Democratic Party is a coalition of social groups and uses this asymmetry to explain differences in the parties' behavior in government.

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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Keoyona on February 17, 2013
Format: Paperback
The book looked so new and the price was fairly reasonable for it's condition; great purchase!!! It had no writing in it or any kind of discrepancies!
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