State Autonomy & Civil Society: The Lobbyist Connection

Kersh, R.
Critical Review 2001, Volume 14, Number 2.

The much-noted decline of state autonomy theories owes partly to external challenges to state power, such as globalization, supranational regimes, and the like. But advanced democratic states have also long been seen as threatened from within, especially by powerful private interest groups.The extent of private-interest influence on policy making depends in important part on corporate lobbyists, a group whose activities are chronicled in this essay. Lobbyists exercise considerably more autonomy from the private clients who hire them than has previously been acknowledged. This portrait ultimately suggests that the national state and civil society may be mutually supportive rather than strictly separate spheres.