Interest group citizenship: LGBT politics from the closet to K Street

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Interest group citizenship: LGBT politics from the closet to K Street

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How has the "interest group explosion"--i.e. the meteoric rise in number and influence of national advocacy organizations since the 1960s--transformed the meaning of democratic citizenship for historically marginalized groups? While a long tradition of "post-pluralist" research has broadened our understanding, and perhaps deepened our skepticism, of interest group activity, these accounts typically highlight how today's professionalized advocacy organizations tend to suppress participation and benefit their relatively advantaged constituents. However, the formative effects of interest group representation have largely remained underexplored. Using the LGBT movement as an exemplar of broader trends in political advocacy, I chart the role that national advocacy organizations played in transforming how their constituents understand their role as democratic citizens. Through this process, individuals who historically viewed themselves, for example, as "deviant," "immoral," or "neurotic" began to view themselves in politicized terms--more specifically, as liberal subjects of the pressure system striving to present themselves as upright and worthy citizens. My data, which come primarily from LGBT advocacy organizations' communications and correspondences with constituents, reveal that the advocacy system's expansion has generated a "politics of affirmation" among marginalized constituencies, characterized by interest groups' support for neoliberal governing procedures.


University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. Major:Political Science. Advisors:Dara Z. Strolovitch, Lisa J. Disch. 1 computer file (PDF); v, 248 pages.

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Hindman, Matthew Dean. (2013). Interest group citizenship: LGBT politics from the closet to K Street. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

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