Policy Networks and the Distinction between Insider and Outsider Groups: The Case of the Countryside Alliance

David Marsh, David Toke, Claus Belfrage, Daniela Tepe, Sean McGough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)


Unsurprisingly, a great deal has been written about the role of interest groups in contemporary societies. Here, we focus on two sets of concepts that have had influence in the UK literature: the distinction between ‘insider’ and ‘outsider’ groups originally developed by Grant (1978, 2000); and the classification of policy networks developed by Marsh and Rhodes (1992; see also Marsh and Smith 2000). We have two aims in this article. First, we use these concepts to consider the role of the Countryside Alliance (CA) in the UK, which, at least in terms of membership numbers and media exposure, is one of the most interesting phenomena on the contemporary interest group scene. Second, we use the case study of the CA to cast light on the utility of these two sets of concepts and consider how they might be integrated. As such, this article is divided into two substantive sections. First, we identify the issues raised in the literature on, first, insider and outsider groups and, then, policy networks. In the second section we examine the role of the CA.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)621-638
Number of pages18
JournalPublic Administration
Issue number3
Early online date27 Jul 2009
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2009


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