This article is a critique of contemporary pluralist theory as found largely in the work of Robert A. Dahl and Charles E. Lindblom. Two different forms of pluralism are distinguished and compared critically with Marxist class analysis. Pluralism, it is argued, fails to account for the reality of political and economic inequality in the United States. As a theory, pluralism is also marked by increasing tension between the underlying values and the performance of American polyarchy. The overall result is that pluralism's utility as a description and explanation of the American political economy is called into serious doubt, and a case is made for the explanatory superiority of class analysis.
Aims to provide a definition of Pluralism, going back to Dahl's seminal work Who Governs and examining subsequent works by other theorists. Finds that no well-elaborated pluralist theory can in fact be rediscovered. (SJK)
Arguing that the move from 'diversity' to 'pluralism' in American discourse better matched some of the historical circumstances and social outcomes in American life, this article is designed to provide a framework for more detailed and close-up elaborations on the pluralist theme. As the field of study develops, it becomes ever more clear that no single definition will do justice to 'diversity,' 'multiculturalism,' and so on, so it is time to think of the 'plural in the plural' and speak of 'pluralisms.'. [Reprinted by permission of Sage Publications Inc., copyright 2007 The American Academy of Political and Social Science.]
"The problem of value pluralism permeates modern political philosophy. Its presence can be felt even when it is not explicitly the central topic under investigation. Political thinkers such as Max Weber, Isaiah Berlin and Stuart Hampshire derive pessimistic, sometimes tragic, conclusions from their reflections upon pluralism."--Page 4 of cover.
Introduction / Rainer Eisfeld -- The plural forms of pluralism / Theodore J. Lowi -- Pluralism and democratci governance : a century of changing research frameworks / Rainer Eisfeld -- Pluralism and the politics of diversity / Avigail Eisenberg -- Plurality, pluralism and power : elements of pluralist analysis in an age of globalization / Philip G. Cerny