Affirmative AdvocacyRace, Class, and Gender in Interest Group Politics

Affirmative AdvocacyRace, Class, and Gender in Interest Group Politics

Dara Z. Strolovitch

Print publication date: 2013

ISBN: 9780226777405

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Abstract

The United States boasts scores of organizations that offer crucial representation for groups that are marginalized in national politics, from women to racial minorities to the poor. This systematic study of these organizations explores the challenges and opportunities they face in the new millennium, as waning legal discrimination coincides with increasing political and economic inequalities within the populations they represent. Drawing on data from a survey of 286 organizations and interviews with forty officials, the author finds that groups too often prioritize the interests of their most advantaged members: male rather than female racial minorities, for example, or affluent rather than poor women. But she also finds that many organizations try to remedy this inequity, and concludes by distilling their best practices into a set of principles that she calls affirmative advocacy—a form of representation that aims to overcome the entrenched but often subtle biases against people at the intersection of more than one marginalized group.