The Converging Dynamics of Interest Representation in Resources Management
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The role of the public in resource management has undergone a profound transformation over the past two decades. Public input has evolved from the enthusiasm for the widespread emergence public participation in the early 1970s, through the realization of the relative effectiveness and costs of lobbying activities in the 1980s, to the emergence of environmental dispute resolution (EDR) as a promising new alternative for the 1990s. Throughout this changing dynamic, there has been little attention to fundamental conception. This paper addresses this lack of conceptualization. A model of convergence is proposed to explain this transformation and as the basis for an improved understanding of effective interest representation strategies. The defining characteristics of lobbying, public participation, and environmental dispute resolution in resources management are outlined relative to the publics they involve, interest activity, organization, influence on policy, participatory features, and empowerment. Knowledge of these aspects will further aid in the identification and implementation of effective strategies to interest representation on a context-specific basis.