A Transnational Community of Purpose? the Professionalization of Lobbyists at the European Union

Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Anatomy - Large LT (University of Glasgow)
Christian Lahusen , Sociology, University of Siegen
Frank Borchers , Dept. of Social Sciences, University of Siegen
Research in the social sciences has invested considerable effort into describing and analysing EU-lobbying as an organizational field that spans across the EU Member States and beyond. The focus has been placed on organizations (federations, individual representations, NGOs etc.), revealing a high degree of fragmentation and competition within the field. However, little evidence is available on the lobbying personnel. Preliminary studies have shown that EU-lobbyists are part of an occupational field that cuts across the cleavages and fragmentations of the organizational field of EU public affairs. For instance, lobbyists maintain close professional relations to many other colleagues, and their career patterns transgress segmentations between the organizations they have worked for. Brussels is thus a supranational arena that facilitates the emergence of a transnational community of professionals.  This paper will deal with the gradual professionalization of EU-lobbyism and its implications for the field of public affairs. Based on a standardized survey among public affairs professionals registered in the European Transparency Register, the paper will present new data about this professional field, its internal structures and cleavages. On the one hand, the paper will show how this occupational field develops cross-national structures of cooperation, and how it gradually integrates a highly contentious field of competing organizations. On the other hand, the paper will investigate the professional cleavages between contending occupational groups and interests (such as lawyers, social scientists, activists, self-made men etc.) in their aim to define the terms of what the rules of the game are about.
  • lahusen_EU lobbying.pdf (123.4 kB)