Title

The Politics of Belonging: Interest Group Identity and Agenda Setting on Immigration

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2011

Publication Title

American Politics Research

Department

Politics and Government

Abstract

This article explores how interest groups decide policy positions through case studies of three organizations’ shifting stances on the issue of immigration. In all three cases, the AFL-CIO, the Sierra Club, and the Christian Coalition, issue positions are signaling mechanisms central to the construction of an organizational identity. Leadership considers the message the stance on a policy issue sends to potential constituents and allies. Organizational agendas are one tool used by leaders to craft new narratives about what the group stands for, who the group represents, and who belongs. Key determinants of leaderships’ calculation over redrawing the boundaries of inclusion and representation and what signal an issue stance will convey includes organizational strength and a reading of a shifting political terrain. An evolutionary metaphor, instead of a rational actor model, is better suited to understand this critical component of interest group behavior, agenda setting.

Volume

39

Issue

6

pp.

993-1018

ISSN

1532-673X