Dizionario di Politica

Authors: Bobbio, Matteucci, Pasquino
Summary: The entry first describes the features of consensus in democratic regimes, and then considers the factors that contribute to consensus. The term signifies the presence of agreement among the members of a social unity concerning principles, values, norms, and the aims of the community. The entry distinguishes between two kinds of consensus-consensus about the basic workings of the political system, and consensus about specific aims and means. In democratic regimes, the first kind of consensus is represented by acceptance of the rules regulating relations between the executive and legislative powers; the second kind is represented by agreement about specific political trends.
A society's capacity for consensus is influenced by several factors: its degree of socio-cultural homogeneity, the stability of regimes, the existing mechanisms of political socialization, the presence of strongly opposed ideologies, and relations among different political forces.