Pluralism (20TH CENTURY)

Descriptive and prescriptive theory of power in modern societies.

Either: since people gain their identity from the groups of which they are members, political power should wherever possible be distributed to functional groups; or: in modern democracies, bargaining between groups contributes as much to policy as does formal democracy.

Also see: impacted pluralism

David Miller et al., eds, The Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Political Thought (Oxford, 1987)

Politics and law

  • Pluralism (political philosophy), the acknowledgement of a diversity of political systems
  • Pluralism (political theory), belief that there should be diverse and competing centres of power in society
  • Legal pluralism, the existence of differing legal systems in a population or area
  • Pluralist democracy, a political system with more than one center of power


  • Pluralism (philosophy), a doctrine according to which many basic substances make up reality
  • Pluralist school, a Greek school of pre-Socratic philosophers
  • Epistemological pluralism or methodological pluralism, the view that some phenomena require multiple methods to account for their nature
  • Value pluralism, the idea that several values may be equally correct and yet in conflict with each other


  • Religious pluralism, the acceptance of all religious paths as equally valid, promoting coexistence
  • Holding multiple ecclesiastical offices; see “Pluralism” at Benefice#Pluralism
  • Pluralism Project, a Harvard-affiliated project on religious diversity in the United States

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