Political parties, interest groups, and social movements

Week 10

Class coordinators

Connor McAlinden, Belanna McLean


Political parties exist in the overlap between governance and civil society, seeking to organize to seize power, providing governance and allocating resources. The mobilize interests and social movements through aggregation and articulation of interests to achieve this. As we look at political parties we will consider the political spectrum (left centre right), the evolution of the Canadian party system, and forms of party organization. Moving on to interest groups and social movements, we will look at group structures, targets, methods, resources, and their record of success. Lobbyists are significant, and we should try to speak to some.

This week you are asked to submit the participation mark for your writing partner. You should discuss each other’s mark and agree on what is fair to each of you. Remember that everyone has the opportunity to augment marks with additional submissions, and doing so can be a useful way of studying for the final exam.

Learning objectives

Describe the political spectrum. Explain political parties’ organization and operations. Explain the forms that interest and advocacy groups take in Canadian politics, and how they interact with other political actors.

Key terms:Political parties (Functions; Organization), Interest groups, Social movements, Advocacy groups, Brokerage, Ideology, One-Party Dominance, Types of groups (Institutionalized; Issue-oriented), Policy communities or networks, Lobbying

Required reading

  • Dyck, Critical Approaches, Chapter 14
  • Dyck, Critical Approaches, Chapter 16


Weekly activities can be adjusted by class coordinators in consultation with the professor
Week 10 checklist of material

[1] Introduction from class coordinator – time allocation
[2] Current events of political significance (domestic, international) [60s]
[3] Review/amend focus of learning objectives [5D]
[4] Key terms [5D, GLI]
[5] Critical Approaches and Studying Politics [5D, GLI]
[6] External resources [class coordinator]
[7] Exam questions [5D, GLI]
[8] Looking ahead: next week’s class coordinator introduces (last 15 minutes)

Suggested resources

Presentation – interest groups and policy pressures
Presentation – political parties

Mark Gerretson, riding office
Riding Association chairs
FSNA – National Association of Federal Retirees
Fraser Institute

CCPA – Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
NYT, Think tanks amplify corporate America’s influence
CBC The House, environmental opposition to pipelines
Green Party convention, BDS
Mark Blyth explains global trumpism

Next up

Elections  and political participation. We’ll look at national and local campaigns, and forms of political participation beyond voting.  Electoral reform is a central question for Canadians now.  What are the options? How do we choose?  How will it be enacted (legitimized)?