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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Mark A. Smith
POL S 350
Seattle Campus

Government and Interest Groups in the United States

Agrarian, labor, professional, business, and ethnic interest in politics; impact on representative institutions and governmental processes.

Class description

Description: Americans stand in the unusual position of continually organizing themselves into a wide variety of groups seeking redress from government while simultaneously fearing that special interests have undue influence in politics. In this course, we focus upon the complicated roles that organized interests play in American politics. The scope of our efforts will include corporations, unions, and advocacy organizations such as the National Rifle Association and the Sierra Club. Questions to be considered include (1) who is and isnít represented through interest groups; (2) the ways in which interest groups attract members and survive; (3) the tactics used by groups, such as lobbying government officials or seeking media attention for their causes; (4) the effects of interest group actions on public policy; and (5) the sources and impacts of campaign money contributed by private interests.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Texts: A collection of articles and book chapters. No required textbooks.

Class assignments and grading

Assignments: Include required midterm and final exams plus a paper.

Grading: Exams: Midterm/final: 20/35 %; Papers: 35 %; Class participation: 10 %.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Suman C. Chhabra
Date: 03/06/2006