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What Are Pressure Groups?

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A Pressure group is an organisation which engages in political campaigning and attempts to influence government on particular issues or interests. There are two types of pressure groups; promotional and sectional groups. Promotional groups, which are also known as cause groups, are beyond self-interest and campaign on particular issues or for particular interests. An example would be the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, who campaign against the practice of legalised abortion. Others pursue ideological or moral goals. Liberty is concerned with civil rights whilst CND campaigns for nuclear disarmament. Broadly speaking, membership is open to any concerned individual.

Sectional groups are sometimes also called economic groups and membership is generally restricted. Trade unions, such as the Trades Union Congress (TUC), are a notable sub-category. Professional associations, such as the Law Society and the British Medical Association, comprise another category. Groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, concerned largely with the interests of members and some sectional groups, overlap in the promotional/sectional distinctions.

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