Abstract and Keywords
This article explores the debates about organizations that represent and activate populations that were mobilized by social movements during the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. It also investigates the representation of chronically marginalized constituencies, especially women, racial minorities, gays and lesbians, and the poor. Research demonstrating the limitations of business power suggests that there are circumstances under which public interest groups can prevail against powerful lobbies in spite of vastly unequal material resources. The influences of institutionalization are described. Scholarship investigating advocacy on behalf of marginalized groups should continue its preliminary but productive conversation with the work of political theorists who challenge the idea that groups based on identities such as race, class, gender, and sexuality exist prior to politics.
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