Keyword

Axes

Upper Left Quadrant Details Upper Right Quadrant Details Lower Left Quadrant Details Lower Right Quadrant Details Details

Quadrants

Outline

Pluralism, in its contemporary usage, is a theory of a political process in which individuals use their freedom to organize into voluntary associations, groups or factions to pursue their goals collectively, through the State and indipendent of the State.
This is why we begin our analysis with the definition of - various types of - groups in their relationship to the state. The vertical axis represents an attempt to provide locations or status to associations close to or distant from the State. The horizontal axis locates associations as types of collectivities -- that is, how individuals relate to each other in pursuing their needs and goals. Group is the concept most appropriate for associations constituted by the highest degree of "rational choice," corporation refers to associations constituted by the highest degree of "determined choice."
We begin with the lower-left quadrant of community or communal life, estates, castes and consociations in a pre-sovereignty, pre-monist social pluralism, and, perhaps more accurately, a pre-state pluralism as small states-within-society or nation. The Lower right Quadrant is in an important sense a discontinuous move, from community to society, Gemeinshaft to Gesellschaft, but with emphasis also on the movement from communalism to individualism - in effect, liberalization and secularization. The Lower right quadrant is classic social pluralism - a civil society that is diverse in the way Tocqueville saw American communities and in the way any civil society is likely to develop if Ā«freedom of associationĀ» is permitted. The upper right quadrant is precisely the Madisonian type of pluralism, where all groups of this type are consciensciously goal oriented, having turned to the State for favourable polices or for defense against the success of competing groups. It is at this point, logically and developmentally, that we get the pluralism that modern political science embraces. This is the pluralism of "interest groups." In a genuine pluralist democracy, interest groups continue to penetrate parties as a strategy of access to government. The ULQ is truly the polyarchal quadrant because the emphasis here is most strongly on "contestation" between "hegemonic interests" and other interest groups and corporations, through their more autonomous and relatively permanent corporate existence to act directly upon the state and all the layers of government.