Other Related Objections to Recognition.
Pluralism Pluralism is the theory that a multitude of groups, not the people Pluralism in aus a whole, govern the United States. These organizations, which include among others unions, trade and professional associations, environmentalists, civil rights activists, business and financial lobbies, and formal and informal coalitions of like-minded citizens, influence the making and administration of laws and policy.
Since the participants in this process constitute only a tiny fraction of the populace, the public acts mainly as bystanders. Indeed, some pluralists believe that direct democracy is not only unworkable; it is not even necessarily desirable.
Besides the logistical problems of having every citizen meet at one time to decide policies, political issues require continuous and expert attention, which the average citizen does not have. Robert Dahl, a noted pluralist, suggested in one of his early writings that in societies like ours "politics is a sideshow in the great circus of life.
Other pluralists go further. They worry that the common person lacks the virtues--reason, intelligence, patience--for self-government and that direct democracy leads to anarchy and the loss of freedom.
Nor do pluralists think that representative democracy works as well in practice as in theory. Voting is important, to be sure. But Americans vote for representatives, not for specific policy alternatives.
A candidate's election cannot always be interpreted as an endorsement of a particular course of action. Politicians frequently win office with only a "plurality" of the votes--that is, they receive more votes than their opponents--but not with a majority of the total eligible electorate.
President Reagan, for example, received approximately 51 percent of the ballots cast inbut his total constituted only about a quarter of the votes of all potential voters, since only 55 percent of those eligible to participate actually went to the polls.
Furthermore, a first choice among candidates is not necessarily the same as a first choice among policies. The people who elected President Clinton, for example, did not all agree with his positions on health care, taxes, national defense, Bosnia, and the environment. Many of them, in fact, were probably voting against his opponent, George Bush, rather than for Clinton himself.
If Americans do not decide major controversies themselves or indirectly through elections, how are such matters resolved?
Pluralists are convinced that public policy emerges from competition among groups. Since relatively few people participate actively in this process, power, it might seem, would be concentrated in few hands. Before drawing any dire conclusions about the possible undemocratic nature of this form of government, however, it is necessary to look at political power as pluralists see it.
The Pluralist View of Power Everyone recognizes political power when they see it: Congress raises taxes; the president sends troops to Bosnia; the Supreme Court declares the death penalty constitutional; a police officer tells a motorist to pull off the road.
In each instance a group or person makes others do something they would not otherwise do. Seen from this perspective, the definition of power seems simple enough. Yet the term is loaded with implications that must be fully grasped if one is to understand pluralism.
In the first place, power is not an identifiable property that humans possess in fixed amounts. Rather, people are powerful because they control various resources. Resources are assets that can be used to force others to do what one wants. Politicians become powerful because they command resources that people want or fear or respect.
The list of possibilities is virtually endless: Civil rights activists in the s relied mainly on their numbers and the legitimacy of their cause to get their way whereas corporations frequently depend on their access to officeholders, control of information, and campaign contributions.
Whatever the case, pluralists emphasize that power is not a physical entity that individuals either have or do not have, but flows from a variety of different sources.
Potential versus Actual Power. Pluralists also stress the differences between potential and actual power. Actual power means the ability to compel someone to do something; potential power refers to the possibility of turning resources into actual power.
Cash, one of many resources, is only a stack of bills until it is put to work. A millionaire may or may not be politically influential; it all depends on what the wealth is spent for--trips to the Bahamas or trips to Washington. Martin Luther King Jr. But by using resources such as his forceful personality, organizational skills, and especially the legitimacy of his cause, he had a greater impact on American politics than most wealthy people.
A particular resource like money cannot automatically be equated with power because the resource can be used skillfully or clumsily, fully or partially, or not at all. Three of the major tenets of the pluralist school are 1 resources and hence potential power are widely scattered throughout society; 2 at least some resources are available to nearly everyone; and 3 at any time the amount of potential power exceeds the amount of actual power.
Finally, and perhaps most important, no one is all-powerful. An individual or group that is influential in one realm may be weak in another.
Large military contractors certainly throw their weight around on defense matters, but how much sway do they have on agricultural or health policies?Legal pluralism can exist in fact without formal recognition by the ‘dominant’ legal system.
this was the case, for example, with Aboriginal customary laws in the period after British settlement of Australia. The danger is that political parties, whether mainstream or minor, can modulate extremist views, cultivate ethno-nationalism, and move to silence dissent.
Pluralism in Australia David R. Cox Journal of Sociology.
Vol 12, Issue 2, pp. - If you have the appropriate software installed, you can download article citation data to the citation manager of your choice. Simply select your manager software from the list below and click on download. Australia does not use the media pluralism monitor, developed by the EU MPM Study (KU Leuven — ICRI et al.
), nor does it have anything similar. There is a high level of media ownership and control concentration, and vertical integration, but this tends to be accepted as a matter of fact, without much appetite for tackling these.
Legal pluralism also exists to an extent in societies where the legal systems of the indigenous population have been given some recognition.
In Australia, for example, the Mabo decision gave recognition to native title and thus elements of traditional Aboriginal law. Pluralism as a political philosophy is the recognition and affirmation of diversity within a political body, which permits the peaceful coexistence of different interests, convictions and lifestyles.
While not all political pluralists advocate for a pluralist democracy, this is most common as democracy is often viewed as the most fair and effective way to moderate between the discrete values.