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Title: Lobbyists as professional political communicators
Author: McGrath, Conor Patrick
ISNI:       0000 0004 2671 7675
Awarding Body: University of Ulster
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2008
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Lobbying has been the subject of sustained journalistic and public interest for at least the last 200 years. Much of that discussion has had a clear focus on the function of groups as interest mediators. Less studied are lobbyists as (powerful) individual actors in the political arena, rather than simply as people who populate interest groups. While much is known about lobbying, considerably less is known about lobbyists. This thesis discusses lobbyists as professional political communicators. It does so by considering the author's body of published work in the area. That work makes a coherent and significant contribution to scholarship in respect of three key and interrelated themes: • A focus on lobbyists as individual political actors rather than on the organisations they represent; • The professional reputation of lobbyists; and • Lobbying as a form of political communication, based on influence and persuasion. Independently these three areas constitute representative themes in the existing literature. The distinct contribution the author's published work makes lies in its unique connection made between these areas. It describes the fundamental, circular or reinforcing, interplay between identity, reputation and communication. In so doing, it reveals the lobbyist as a political actor engaged in persuasive activities and situated within the context of an industry which is struggling with its own sense of professionalisation. Among the issues addressed in this thesis, with an overarching comparative focus, are: the impact that a single lobbyist can have on the effectiveness of an organisation, the personal attributes of a successful lobbyist, the career progression of lobbyists, the ways in which lobbying and lobbyists need to develop in the direction of professionalisation, how lobbying and lobbyists are perceived by the public, how they are represented in popular culture, the impact of communication theories on lobbying, and the principal communication techniques used by lobbyists in their efforts to influence policy-makers. The published work upon which this thesis rests is always academic in nature, yet informed by the author's practical experience as a lobbyist. It is concerned with 'academising the profession' (by bringing new intellectual perspectives to lobbying); 'professionalising the academy' (insofar as it deals with a relatively novel subject in the academic sphere); and 'professionalising the profession' (by arguing for the need for lobbyists to act in order to shift public, academic and political perceptions of what they do).
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available