Politics is mostly done in detail and with intensity by a small group of semiprofessionalized and specialist actors. As Paul Whiteley and Patrick Seyd argue, politics would be impossible without that input. This world of highintensity activism and its wider hinterland is examined below. The trend has been for many citizens to allow these professionalized activists to take a bigger role, reserving for themselves less time-consuming functions as funders or supporters. Attention is focused, initially, on party activists and concentration is then directed towards the rise of lobby organizations that represent the interests of a vast array of citizens and seek influence on their behalf. Interest is also focused on protest activism: the movements, radical NGOs and protest politics groups that give spark and challenge to the political world. These various forms of activism overlap to some degree, and sometimes provide recruits from one to the other; in some cases, individual citizens may be engaged in all these forms of activism.
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