Difference Between Pressure Group and Civil Society

Society is a group of people who work for the mutual benefit of the people.  Such as religious, cultural, scientific, political, patriotic, or other purposes.

There are some group of people who works for the betterment of society, development, bring change in among people and fighting against many causes and freedom. It can be a political party, NGOs and other organizations.

It is a general norm, that businesses offer goods and services in the exchange of money and law and order is taken care of by the government. Civil society includes labour unions, non-profit organizations, churches, and other service agencies that provide an important service to society.

Pressure Group vs Civil Society

The main difference between a Pressure group and civil society is Pressure group is a group of people, who tries to influence or pressurize the government to fulfill the interest of its members. Whereas Civil society is a group or organization that works for citizens’ interest without involving the government.

Pressure Group VS Civil Society

Pressure group and Civil society are also part of the community. Pressure Group is a set of people, considered to be organized to some extent, help reformation by influencing the government. Their activities are confined to influencing the policies and programs of the government to fulfil their specific interests.

Civil society is a group of people working in the interest of the citizens at the same time they operate outside the government sectors.       


Comparison Table Between Pressure Group and Civil Society (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of ComparisonPressure GroupCivil Society
StructureMembership organizationMostly non-membership organization
ProcedureConflict oriented and instrumental reasoningMutual Consent Oriented and Constitutive Reasoning
SubstantiationShares common interestIdeational, Public Claims
ObjectiveTo influence people who have the power to make a decisionTo fight for the betterment of society
FunctionTo make government or decision-maker more attentive to needs of the peopleTo work for Protection, Social cause, Advocation on the favor of Public


What is Pressure Group?

The term Pressure Group originated from the USA. A pressure group can be defined as a group of people that does not put up candidates for election, but seek to influence government policy or legislation.

These groups promote and protect a particular interest or a set of interest or some ideals cause (protection of environmental defending human rights for example) by pressuring the government. They also called as Interest group or Protest group.

A pressure group is to influence the people in power to make decisions by the government through legal and legitimate methods. They operate as a bridge between the people and the government.

Pressure Groups always establish the positives and negatives in front of the members as well as the general public to seek attention from the government.

They organize meetings, campaigns and also file petitions for gaining public support and sympathy. At times, even the media inclines to feature their campaigns for mass attraction.

They are different from the political parties as they neither contest in elections nor not try to capture political power, but their activism influences the Government decision.

Pressure groups provide a means of popular participation in national politics during elections. They have the power to gather support to create or cancel any legislation.

The Pressure groups use methods like strike, bandh, demonstration, funding political parties, parties to get their interests fulfilled.


What is Civil Society?

Civil Society is a group that operates outside the government who share mutual interests and purposes. The Civil Society plays an important role in the development of the human community.

Public and Private sectors are different from the Civil Society. Civil society has no requirements from the outside like from public or private sector.

Civil society is also called the “third sector” along with government and Business. Civil Society, on the whole, can be a labour union, non-governmental organization and charitable institutions.

Filling gaps in services, providing services not provided adequately by government or business, especially to marginalized and underserved groups. Advocating on behalf of citizens and minority, marginalized and underserved groups

Fighting against corruption and human rights violation. Civil society differs from civil society organizations. It also focuses on social justice and economic justice decision

Its main function is keeping an eye on government and business, ever alert for corruption, waste, violations of rights, and inequalities.

UN Women to promote gender equality, women’s rights, and empowerment, World Health Organization (WHO) for health-related efforts and UNICEF on child-related issues are some of the Civil Society organizations.

Main Differences Between Pressure Group and Civil Society

  1. The main difference between a Pressure group and Civil Society is, the Pressure group is a group of people, who tries to influence or pressurize the government to fulfil the interest of its members. Whereas Civil society is a group or organization who work for Public interest without being part of the government.
  2. Pressure Group is a group of people who has common interest and no relationship with any kind of organizations. Whereas Civil society has a close relationship with Intergovernmental organization.
  3. The pressure group is to influence the people in power to make decisions by the government through legal and legitimate methods. Whereas Civil Society works against Corruptions, Human rights violation and Advocating on behalf of Public.
  4. Pressure groups provide popular participation in national politics during elections and do not try to capture political power. Whereas Civil Society is called as the third sector along with Government and Business sector.
  5. Pressure group determined by leadership, mass media, strike, bandh and funding from a political party so on. Whereas Civil society does not encourage these kinds of activities and becomes the support system to the underserved group.



Civil society fulfils a valuable role in modern society, helping to fill gaps in services provided by the government and business sector, as well as advocating for change. Sometimes, government and business are taking on roles that carried by civil society, and sometimes civil society is taking on roles as government and business are failed to deliver on past promises. There is no clear specific role for civil society. Its characteristic is that it adapts to fit the totality of social needs as they exist. The objective of civil society is always the same, the betterment of society.

The society has become overly complex and individuals cannot pursue their interests on their own. They need the support of other fellow beings to gain greater power; this gives rise to the pressure groups.


  1. https://www.jstor.org/stable/1149558
  2. https://journals.lww.com/academicmedicine/Citation/1960/11000/Pressure_Group_Politics.35.aspx
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