Study Notes

Causal pressure group

AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB

Last updated 22 Mar 2021

Causal pressure groups promote causes or values, as opposed to the interests of a section of society. They therefore tend to seek a broader membership than sectional pressure groups and are also likely to be less influential with government.

One of the major trends of recent decades has been the huge growth of environmental causal pressure groups. This was stimulated by publicity concerning acid rain, global warming, transport gridlock and nuclear accidents such as those at Chernobyl and Three-Mile Island. There are now nearly five million members of environmental pressure groups such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth.

Other examples of causal pressure groups include the Campaign for Freedom of Information, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and Liberty, which campaigns for the protection of civil liberties.

Causal pressure groups can be separated into three sub-types:

Attitude causal groups – trying to change peoples’ attitudes on an issue (e.g. Greenpeace and the environment)

Political cause groups – aim to achieve a political goal, e.g. the Electoral Reform Society is trying to change the election system by which we elect Westminster politicians.

Sectional cause groups - aim to protect a section of society- e.g. NSPCC works on behalf of children but its members and supporters are not all children.

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