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Author

Michael Roche

Date of Award

6-1994

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Political Science

Supervisor

William Coleman

Language

English

Abstract

This qualitative study was conducted to determine the validity of Streeck and Schmitter's (1991) argument that pluralism is the dominant form of interest intermediation at the European Community level. This thesis tests their hypothesis by examining the organization of agricultural interests at the Community level.

The thesis establishes that agricultural interests continue to participate in a corporatist style of policy making at the national level.

Secondly, the qualitative analysis enables us to conclude that a corporatist style framework does exist at the Community level.

Thirdly, Streeck and Schmitter's (1991) argument that the Community and its structures contribute to a pluralist organization of interest groups, must be qualified when applied to the organization of agricultural interests at the Community level.

Corporatism does exist in this particular policy sector at the Community level, but it is weaker than that found at the national level.

The analysis focused on negotiation of the Blair House Agreement in November 1992. The case study highlighted the disintegration of authority from the time the negotiations were completed, to the period following the French Parliamentary elections of 1993.

The case study highlights the fragile nature of corporatist arrangements at the Community level. While the thesis demonstrates that corporatism has been replicated to the Community level, it illustrates the real limits to the development of corporatism at the Community level due to the continued prevalence of national interests.

The thesis points to a need for further research as to the nature of policy networks, and how the type of policy network can change depending on the policy sector, and the issue at hand. It raises further questions as to the validity of Streeck and Schmitter's (1991) argument when applied to other policy sectors.

Furthermore, the existence of differing levels of corporatism both at the national level, and between individual member states should be further examined. This thesis also contributed to our knowledge of corporatism by analyzing the role national corporatism and indeed transnational corporatism played in encouraging national interests, thereby ensuring the fragility of corporatism transnationally.

McMaster University Library

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