Corporate Engagement in Politics and Governance
Edited by Christina Garsten and Adrienne Sörbom
Chapter 4: Lobbying in practice: an ethnographic field study of public affairs consultancy
Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork from the realm of public affairs consultancy, Anna Tyllström provides insights into the practical nature of corporate lobbying, as well as a discussion of the role lobbying may have in politics and markets. The case describes how a powerful industry player, wishing to influence policy, hires a consultant who uses classical tools to gain political influence. In generalized terms, the chapter shows the lobbying of public affairs consultants to revolve around five practices; information-gathering, contact management, visibility management, role-switching and ideological proactivity. These practices are distinctly observable aspects of lobbying work, but they also feed into and amplify each other. The switching roles facilitate the establishment of contacts, which in turn enables the gathering of more valuable information. Furthermore, the constant management of boundaries, the rich contact networks and the adjustment of identities together makes it possible for consultants to launch own political ideas.
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