Caulfield Second semester 2008 (On-campus block of classes)
Students will investigate the practice and theory of interest representation and lobbying in the European Union and in Europe. They will explore the channels and techniques of influence open to business, labour, environmental and consumer groups at various stages of the EU decision-making process. They will study the policy of European Union institutions towards these groups. A special emphasis will be placed upon the extra-European interest groups, including major business groups from Asia, the US and Australia, and their interaction with the EU. Practitioners from EU institutions and interest groups will be invited to contribute their experience via three videoconferences with Brussels.
Students who successfully complete this unit will be expected to demonstrate:
- an informed appreciation of the various channels and techniques of influence open to business groups, public interest groups (such as environmental groups and consumer groups), professional interests, labour interests and territorial interests at various stages of the EU decision-making process;
- a knowledge of the policy of EU institutions towards interest groups, and more widely, civil society actors in Europe;
- an understanding of the decision-making processes and evolution of the EU and their impact on the organization of public and private interest groups at the regional, national, European and world levels;
- a developed understanding of the conceptual difficulties associated with the study of the theory of interest representation and lobbying in the European Union;
- an understanding of the theoretical approaches to interest intermediation and representation and the literature pertaining to collective action and mobilization, European transnational movements and European non-governmental organizations;
- strong skills in the critical reading of a variety of texts and the academic scholarship based upon those texts;
- strong skills in critical oral and written assessment of the academic scholarship, including methods, assumptions and uses of evidence, and in organising and defending a verbal and written argument based upon those assessments;
- a capacity to devise, plan and successfully complete a research essay;
- a capacity to reflect upon and make critical use of a range of resources including, where relevant, on-line materials.
Students completing the unit at fifth level will be expected to demonstrate, in addition:
- the acquisition of a higher level of analytical skills and a greater understanding of the key conceptual and methodological issues involved in analysing the world significance of the process of European integration.
A critical review of articles and books relevant to a seminar theme, given first as a seminar presentation: 20%; The seminar presentation will then be revised into a written research paper in light of seminar group comments and an assessment by the coordinator (2500 words): 40%; A reflective response to a set question, in a take-home examination (2000 words, 40%) - 2000 words 40%
22 hours per semester offered in block mode