Pluralist Theory of Democracy
Pluralism is an inclusive concept. It addresses the interests and rights and the representation of the minorities thus forming the core content of liberal democracy. It affirms the separation of power from state and civil society and also economy from the political power. It offers the scope of institutions for the democratic process in the case of Legislature known as Bicameralism and a form of governance namely Federalism to govern the state through various set of representation. Pluralism paves way for participatory democracy that enables diverse group participation, to protect their rights. In this scheme, political power is distributed and shared to many groups in the society representing diverse interests.
Pluralism leads to defend their particular interests through government by creating ‘competitive equilibrium’ that intends to benefit large sections of the society for the long run.
Pluralism suggests that democracy in the system necessitates the conduct of regular elections that encourages political competition among parties, groups and individuals. The thinkers of Utilitarian school were the great advocates of pluralist democracy James Madison, John Stuart Mill and Tocqueville predicted that elections expresses the preferences of divergent competitive groups rather than the wishes of many in the majority group. This also provides the bargaining power to the minority groups to assert their rights and share in power.
Pluralist democracy is also termed as Polyarchy, which is a rule by series of minorities within the political framework.
Robert Dahl pointed out that the very essence of democracy is realized by Polyarchy that accommodates the presence of divergent groups, association, organizations in large number to enjoy relative autonomy in governmental power and jurisdiction. The preconditions for a functioning of polyarchy are consensus on the rule of procedure, range of policy options and legitimate scope of political activity.
Later there was a revision in Robert Dahl’s Theory, he forwarded the theory of “Deformed Polyarchy” to better describe the working of American democracy.